Character Name: Marina
Alternate Identities: Marina Greaves
Player Name: Yae
|Eye Color:||Brown||Height:||5' 5"|
The girl huddled in the corner of the basement, her face buried in her hands, her eyes tightly closed. Every child had gone through a phase when they actually believed if they closed their eyes and couldn’t see someone, then no one could see them. That wasn’t the case with this girl. She knew she was visible, highly visible, even hiding in a basement.
Around her the city cursed as every electrical device in a ten mile radius had suddenly ceased to function. Many would only find out about this blackout in the morning when their alarms didn’t go off. They would scramble to get ready for work or call in but the entire city would be in the same straights.
Those awake found themselves in a black world denied even the light of stars by the thick overcast and torrential rain that had been washing the grime from the city for several hours. Why even car lights didn’t work was open to speculation and when many found even a flashlight would not function they quickly figured this was something far more than a simple blackout.
Darkness is a scary place even for those that make their living in the night, the thieves and muggers and burglars, when the darkness is near absolute. Many wandered around blindly hoping to find who knows what but just as many hunkered down to wait out the night in the hope of passing undiscovered during a time of maximum vulnerability.
The young girl was one of the latter but of all the millions of people in the area call New York, she was the most likely to be found.
“Ghost Archer,” computer said in my ear.
San Francisco in the late evening of a Friday was still a very lively place. I had taken a position atop the Trans Am Pyramid to wait for the night’s first police call. It was cool, with winds from the east bringing the stench of the distant Oakland marine terminal across the bay. I had been running a list supplies I would need to check on for the morning’s first trip to the world Ea when Spock’s voice reached me.
“What do you have, Spock?” I asked the computer.
“The governor of New York has called up the National Guard and sent them in to New York City,” the computer reported. “The city has experienced a complete blackout including all electrical power and emergency power. According to reports, even the headlights of cars and flashlights have been rendered inoperable. Three passenger airliners have crashed already when all power failed as they passed into the area of the city. ”
“Damn,” I muttered. Without electricity people in the city’s many hospitals would be dying as well. “I gather this is a localized effect?”
“Affirmative, the area affected it a ten mile radius centered on the Twin Towers site.”
“Okay, send me to Philly; I’ll fly in from there.”
Seconds later I was hurdling across the sky toward the Big Apple.
A black hole seemed to have swallowed up the world’s greatest city. No hint of light or emission on any frequency breached that outer perimeter. I dropped to earth a few meters short of the line of demarcation and approached on foot. Not wanting to become involved with local authorities or the National Guard, I had chosen a vacant lot in New Jersey to attempt penetration. Without hesitation, I stepped across the dividing line and stopped.
“Spock? Can you hear me now?” My earpiece was silent. “Okay . . . “
Tentatively I lifted into the air and found my own powers unaffected. Drawing one of my arrows from the quiver slung across my back I tried to activate it to no avail.
“Guess it’s just me tonight,” I said to myself and sent my quiver and bow back into their storage state. The katana I kept strapped across my back.
Others may have been hampered by the darkness but not many others had been genetically altered before birth. Though thick cloud obscured the moon and stars, the minimal ambient UV allowed me to see as though it were clear with a bright full moon.
Staying high enough not to run into a ship’s mast, I crossed the Verrazano Narrows to lower Manhattan and found the place an eerie ghost town where a few brave, or stupid, souls wandered through the night. I dropped to earth at Battery Park and reached a man just was he was about to step off into the river. He clung to me like a leech.
“You can see!” he cried.
People close by turned at the sound of his voice and began murmuring.
“Yes, I can,” I told them in a loud voice. “It is just a power outage, you are not blind. If everyone will just sit where they are you will be safe.”
“When . . .”
“I need . . .”
“... car was over there ...”
“SIT DOWN,” I commanded. Even though they could not see me and had no idea who I was, they obeyed and sank down on curbs and benches and in the middle of the street.
A woman, a bag lady by her dress, was pointing north and heads swiveled. Somewhere uptown was the soft glow of some light source. Immediately people rose and began to move toward it. I cursed in five different languages. People all over the city would see that light and be drawn to it. Sighing, I rose into the air and headed for the light.
Thunder rumbled above her head, making her hunch her shoulders. It wasn’t thunder, she knew. Thunder was not a continuous roar. Something smashed into the building and dust sifted down on her. She tried to make herself smaller, all the while cursing the thing that was bring THEM down on her.
Two fifty foot tall metal men stood on either side of a half ruined brownstone ripping away huge handfuls of the building’s walls and discarding it without concern for the people in the street around them.
“Damn you Joshua,” I muttered and draw the katana from my back.
The magic of the blade held as I increased my speed and rocketed by the first robot leaving a thin line across the sensors mounted where a human’s eyes would be. Sparks erupted as I soar up into the night and turned to drop low amongst the buildings. Without my arrows it was all going to be hand to hand.
Staying only ten feet above the concrete I banked around the final corner and extended my blade, catching the second robot in the calf. As I soared away the leg buckled and the robot went down on one knee.
Coming around for the third pass I dropped to the street and ducked into a building a block short of the robots. From the service station’s garage I grabbed the waste oil drum, a 55 gallon model of steel, half filled, and flew up toward my first target. Straight for its head I rocketed, pulling up at the last instant and releasing my improv bomb.
Dirty motor oil and transmission fluid hit is squarely in the face and it began to leak down into the opening my blade had caused. I turned just in time to dodge a blast of fire from the second robot. The first’s head ignited like a torch, ruining its visual sensors more complete than my efforts. On the streets below, by the light of the flaming robot, people began to scream and run from the scene.
“God what I wouldn’t give for a surfer right now,” I muttered, thinking of the young Nat Ryan back in the Valley. The powerful sixteen year-old could have thrown either robot into the East River even from midtown.
I sighed. Time for the last resort.
Flying straight at the cripple robot I desolidified and passed through its shield and armor. Once inside I scrunched myself up into the smallest ball I could and solidified. From there it was a simple matter of unplugging this and shorting out that. The robot ground to a halt and I flew out again, glad to be in the fresh air.
The flaming robot fired its boot jets and began to climb into the night sky like an old Saturn V rocket. I could catch it, I knew but the light inside the damaged building was more important. I dropped into the structure and sank through the floor into the brilliantly lighted basement.
Under normal circumstance the basement would have been a gloomy and secretive place filled with the detritus of generations but now it was at revealed at if it had been laid open to the sun.
A young girl huddled in a corner, curled up into a ball and sobbing. She was the source of the light. I moved toward her, my hands out and open.
“I am here to help,” I said softly. “My name is Ghost Archer.”
When I squatted beside her and put a hand on her shoulder I expected a reaction but she hardly flinched. She lifted her head and looked at me through a tangle of yellow hair, her eyes red and filled with tears. It was the face of an angel.
Without warning she threw herself at me and clung, face buried in my tunic. I put my arms around her and whispered soft words in Elvish.
“Let’s get you out of here and safe,” I said, standing and scooping her up in my arms in one motion.
She was light, as light as Raven, maybe a hundred pounds, but seemed well fed. Though she was filthy from her crawling about the basement it was not a ground-in dirt and I surmised it was not her normal state. Not bothering with the stairs I passed through the floor of the Brownstone and out into the night just as the lights and power of the city bloomed like a flashbulb.
“Spock,” I said.
“Got a lock on me?”
“I do now,” the computer said.
“Two for home then.”
“Do you require medical facilities?”
“Just to be on the safe side, and report to the Champions I fought two Mk VII Minutemen at midtown. One was headed south toward New Jersey, damaged sensors. The second has been disabled at 6th Avenue and West 56th.”
Raven was waiting in the med-lab when we arrived and had to cover her eyes to save them from the glare. I toed open the autodoc and sat the girl on the edge. She let me pull away from her.
“Are you hurt?” I asked, already getting readings from the autodoc.
She shook her head, glowing yellow hair hanging dankly about her face.
Raven stepped up and took the girl’s hands.
“I am Raven,” she said softly. “Here you are totally safe from anything or anyone that might hurt you.” She had to squint to see through the glare. “What is your name, child?”
The girl looked at her for a moment, thinking.
“Marina,” she whispered.
Raven took over at that point and I retreated to my library. The girl hadn’t expounded on her name and seemed dazed. I wasn’t sure what information I would get from her and had asked Raven not to pry. Sitting before my computer, I hooked into the FBI data base and began my search.
“Ghost Archer,” the computer said. “You asked to be alerted at 0600.”
I looked at the computer’s clock. Three hours had passed and I had exhausted every database I knew. Not one mention of the girl. I yawned and stretched.
“Thanks, Spock,” I said and left the desk.
Downstairs, in the kitchen, Marie had already made the coffee and set out fresh pastries. I knew she’d be in the main kitchen whipping up a hardy breakfast for our young builders and the mob of kids Raven and I called ours. Filling a cup and grabbing two bear claws, I ate as I crossed the lawn to the main part of the manor.
I could hear the chaos before I’d reached the door and I had to stop and watch in surprise as Marie danced around and between kids from 18 months to 16 years. Zach, just brought in the night before by War Eagle, was beside Jessy and unusually, she was smiling. That all came to a crashing halt though, when Nat came in from outside.
Raven talked to the girl while she was inspected by Spock and the autodoc but discovered very little. Later, when we were alone, she scowled at me.
“I could have read everything we needed to know in an instant,” she said.
“We had an agreement,” I said.
She nodded lowering her eyes. “Yes, beloved.”
“So, we know nothing at all about her,” I summarized. “Just her name, Marina.”
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