Friday, October 5, 2007

Inner Fire, Outer Focus

"Okay... so what are you doing?"

Ravyn looked up from the workbench, a soldering iron in one hand and a spool of iridium wire in the other. "I told you, I'm crossing a set of terminals to facilitate the quantum flow from this particle containment cylinder."

Lethane blinked, tilting his head to stare at the gauntlet laying in front of Ravyn, its plates open and waiting for whatever the Hells it was Ravyn was building.

"Okay... so what are you doing?"

Bloodravyn sighed and shook his head. "I am trying to make sure the quark exchanges in this magnetic battery don't overload and ruin these circuits. Iridium is a nigh-perfect conductor and won't degrade like the tungsten alloy we're replacing."

Leth just looked at him, a deep breath showing his growing frustration.

"Okay... so what are you doing?"


The elf grinned and leaned back. "Oh. What didn't you just say so?"

"I am going to hurt you when I'm done here." Ravyn growled. "You know that, right?"

Lethane chuckled to himself, putting his feet up on Ravyn's computer core. The room was full of scientific equipment, most of which they had just stolen from several Arachnos outposts and unused bases. They were in a small warehouse, one of many in Cap au Diable. It had taken a long time but Leth had been able to convince Ravyn that going back to Fort Darwin was a bad idea right now. If Bulwark was really after him, the wealthy cripple would easily be able to pay off Wolf Spider guards to take him out in his sleep.

"You can try, boy scout, but I doubt it. You need me right now... or do you really want to have another family reunion without me for backup?" The question was accompanied by another grin, one Ravyn desperately wanted to smack off the elf's smug face. Unfortunately, the psychotic freak was right.

Not dignifying Lethane with a response, Ravyn turned back to his project. Once, long ago, he was a scientist, studying under Bulwark's expert tutelage. Everything the older man knew about technology, he'd taught his young student. Now, all those lessons had come full circle. Ravyn and Lethane had brought the ruined Fortress-One decoy robot to this abandoned building for study and dismantling.

The advancements in the decoy were impressive. There were devices integrated into its armor systems that Ravyn could only barely understand. Some of the pieces of the robot were also extremely complex and, if Ravyn hadn't known better, he would have assumed them to be of non-terrestrial origin.

"Are you going to be done sometime soon or should I find something to do while you poke at it? You know... like paint a house. Or build one?"

"Shut up. I'm almost... there!" Ravyn locked down the terminal casing and installed the power cell into his own armor's gauntlet. Attaching the leads, he put the armored glove on and felt its cerebral control mesh link to his nervous system. He understood this technology just enough to work with it. Right now, he was just hoping the power cell wasn't about to explode.



"Why are you looking at that thing like it's about to explode?"

"No reason."

"Okay... sure." Lethane was backing away, looking between the now-glowing gauntlet and a nearby window. "So what is that supposed to do?"

"I have been working to control these new powers. The Fortress-One suit is built much like my old armor but the internal network is far more advanced. Accordingly, it creates a quantum field that..."

Leth held up one hand. "The glove, Duck. I just want to know what the glove does."

Ravyn took a moment to consider how to answer and finally decided on just showing him. "Watch this, okay?"

With that said, Ravyn reached out and started to focus. The network now built into his armor and linked to the control elements in his new gauntlet channeled the fire rushing through his body. Unable to manifest it directly before, Bloodravyn could now feel the flames taking shape in his grasp. A ball of roiling heat ignited into bright, violent life in his metal palm, flaring like a sudden star.

"Okay. I admit it," Leth said quietly, still standing at a distance. "That is pretty cool."

Concentrating too hard to answer, Ravyn started to vary his visualizations. The ball became a field of fire covering his hand, then a shaft of flame in his grasp. Choosing the first shape that came to mind, the shaft widened until it transformed into a massive, blazing sword.

"And that's even cooler."

Releasing his focus, Ravyn opened his eyes and looked at the sword as it faded away. "That... was a lot more effort than it should have been." He frowned, opening the back of the gauntlet's containment panel. "I need to alter the neuron web. Perhaps if I raise the synaptic sensitivity to 10 picojoules?"

Leth fixed him with another tired look. "Please. You were actually approaching impressive a few seconds ago. Don't talk and ruin it."

"You're just upset because you don't understand anything I've said."

Leth jumped to the window ten feet above him, hooking one arm over the sill and swinging up onto its ledge. "True... but that's only half the problem."

Ravyn looked up from his work. "Oh? And the other half?"

Leth grinned wide and ducked out of the building to go find something... or someone... more interesting to do.

"I also don't give a damn, Duck."

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