FICTION

Kaos Krewe: Explosion Potential Included

Dallraigh looked up from her pile of books and scrolls on a side table of the lab they had managed to rent, as the rest of the krewe walked in with an assortment of boxes and parts. She sat back to watch Inneall efficiently pull everything out and organize it, despite Adhuil trying to examine a piece and Cliste playing with one.

“Don’t do that.” Inneall snatched the item from Cliste. “There are delicate parts in these rings. I need to make this work with what we have.”

“Describe it right and I can find anything for you and borrow it.” Cliste grinned at Inneall.

Inneall frowned before turning from Cliste.

“We might want to find somewhere else to go before she asks for a duel.” Adhuil laughed.

“No, you can move that table over there to here. Then the beacon unit we have needs to go over here.” Inneall pointed as she spoke.

Adhuil saluted and started dragging a table, causing a loud screeching sound.

Dallraigh cringed. “I’m going to have to ask for my own space. This noise will never help me study portal magic.”

“Shouldn’t be that hard for a portal user.” Adhuil continued to drag the table until Cliste finally picked up the other end to help. “What’s the difference?”

“What I know only goes a short ways for a set number of things. I know the shadow realm creatures use portals, but that, I think, is from another plane of existence.” Dallraigh clasped her hands before her. “The problem I’m having is such a distance on our plane of existence only.”

“Oh….kay….”

Dallraigh frowned. Did Adhuil just shrug at her while carrying a table?

“I’m sorry I did not have more adequate space for you, but ….”

Dallraigh turned her attention to the stuffy looking Asura that walked in with their krewe chief.

Tinte raised a hand stopping the apology. “We will make it work. Thank you.”

“I am sure your krewe will grow to do well.”

The male Asura’s smile made Dallraigh think of stuffing a tart in his mouth to soak up the syrup. She grabbed a scroll as he turned his gaze her way and rolled it open, blocking the view of him.

“Good day. Let me make sure my krewe is settling.”

The male asura grunted, making Dallraigh peak at him as he waddled out of their one roomed lab. A place with a couple of offices and study areas would have made her day, besides a main lab area. If something went wrong, it could all be ruined. Maybe they wanted that to happen. No one seemed to like any of them. Maybe they didn’t like their krewe chief either, due to her acquiring all four of them. She smirked and buried her head in the scroll again when Tinte gave her a questioning look.

They had to find a way for the beacon to light when the sensor detected portal magic. The hard part would be analyzing it with different kinds of portals. Anything could happen around an active portal, like what the awakened came through.

*        *        *

Inneall tapped the screen as if that would make something happen. She turned around to look at the beacon behind her. The sensor array didn’t appear to be powered up. A shriek from behind the beacon made her jump, but before she could move the sensor array lit up.

Cliste stumbled from behind the beacon with her pigtails looking like they wanted to stand on end.

“So what did you do back there?”

“Found a short circuit.” Cliste shook herself and wound up sitting on the floor. “All good now.”

“You didn’t try fixing it with one of your daggers, did you?”

“It worked.”

Inneall face palmed, but had to smirk. The little thief might live long enough to tell tales of her exploits to aspiring prodigies.

She moved behind the machine and immediately saw how Cliste had changed up a wire to ground it. Silly thief had done it with power on to the beacon. At least, she didn’t appear to be messed up by it and nothing had fried in the unit.

She walked back around to Cliste and sat beside her. “You sure you’re okay?” She tugged a pigtail lightly to see if it would go back to the usual crazy curl up it had rather than straight. It did, making her laugh.

“Stop pulling my pigtails.” Cliste tugged on the other one. “Think I got more static than juice.”

“You deserved the static.” Inneall winked.

Cliste managed a pouty face. “How rude!” She lost the expression and started laughing.

Inneall joined in. “Unfortunately, I think you will live.” She stood up and offered a hand.

“Great!” Cliste stood on the second try, before skipping across the lab to the door. “I need to tell Adhuil about this.”

“Tell me what?” Adhuil stood in the open doorway with Dallraigh.

Cliste launched into her tale waving her hands to emphasize her points.

“Good timing. I have an idea of how to do the first test.” Dallraigh walked over to check out the powered up beacon. “I want to see if it properly senses a mesmer portal and how it records the detection.”

“It should tell us the power used in the magic. Of course, we have no references yet, but if it detects your portals correctly, we can get a benchmark.” Inneall pushed a couple of buttons on the control panel. “Everything looks ready now.”

Dallraigh nodded. “First, I wanted to just portal across the lab to see what it noticed. Then try coming in from outside somewhere. We have a problem with that.”

“Not allowed to portal in public places and most places close enough that we can access are public.” Adhuil scratched her head. “There was that one spot we could climb up to. I can stay as guard to make sure no one gets in it.”

“Why can’t I guard it?” Cliste crossed her arms.

“I need you to use the portal.” Dallraigh smiled. “I have to run from there back in here to place it, so can’t use it coming in, but can go back out as part of the test.”

“Oh!” Cliste grinned. “I can do that, might be better due to my recent shocking revelation.”

“Right.” Dallraigh chuckled. “As long as you don’t fall off from where we plan to put the portal.”

“Better do this before Tinte or Marfach show up. They might not like our attempt at breaking the law to test our portal sensors.” Inneall double checked the panel before her. “Maybe try from that far corner and over to there. Maybe we can see if it senses you placing it as well as the destination.”

Dallraigh moved over to the indicated location, cast her portal spell, and then ran to the other side of the room to place it. Cliste counted to three and then used the portal.

“Go back through both of you before it ends.”

The two did so at Inneall’s urgent request.

“Hmm.” Inneall drummed her fingers on the console frame while looking at the screen and glancing at the sensor array.

The others crowded around. Measurements of magical energy and the distance showed on the screen.

“Even better, it picked up use of the Asura portals. I should have thought about that tech in this mix, but was only thinking of pure magical portals.” Inneall grinned. “This is looking good. Where is your starting point?”

“On top of a cooking station.”

“Seriously?”

“You can get up there easy enough, though the last jump can trip you up. They put in just enough access to allow for maintenance. It’s more of a cover.”

“I can sneak us up there, if that helps.” Cliste looked hopeful.

Inneall shook her head. “Might not matter since you will be noticed as soon as Dallraigh places the entrance portal.”

“True.” Cliste fiddled with one of her daggers.

“We do know it is scheduled for maintenance on the next shift and not in use now. That was why we wanted to do it there and only have ourselves port.” Dallraigh smiled. “Ready?”

“I’m ready when you are. Still getting readings on our Asura portal usage too. This is proving quite fascinating.”

“Lead on to the fun.” Cliste bounced in place.

*        *        *

The three young Asura made their way from the lab into a busy facility. Dallraigh led them to the station they could climb on top of. Adhuil pretended to be checking things below as the other two scrambled to the top.

Dallraigh placed her entrance portal and jumped off to run back to the lab. No one appeared to notice.

Cliste held her breath as she watched the area easily from her vantage point. It seemed too long before the portal flared to life. She appeared in the center of the lab and a couple seconds later Dallraigh disappeared to go back through the portal just before it dissipated.

“Did that work?”

“I believe it did. I’m going to have to spend some time analyzing the data to make sense of it. We may have to do more mesmer portal tests to be sure.”

“Sounds promising.”

The door opening made Cliste turn to see Dallraigh and Adhuil escorted in by the Arcane Eye.

“You better have a good explanation for using a portal in a restricted area.” The smaller of the two crossed his arms as he took in the lab.

Adhuil and Dallraigh inched away from the glowering hulk of an Asura doing a good job of impersonating a roadblock.

Cliste smiled. “We needed to do so for part of our base check of our design. We did our best to find a place to put the portal that would not disrupt anything and where people could not step into it unintentionally.” She glanced at Inneall who arched a brow back at her.

“It was not sanctioned.”

Cliste tried not to gulp. “It had to be done that way for proper readings from a more spontaneous portal usage, in case the restrictions put in place interfered.” She thought that sounded like something Inneall would say.

“I will write you up with a warning this time. Don’t do it again.”

“Yes, sir.”

Cliste clasped her hands behind her back as the Arcane Eye took time to assess the lab before turning to leave. She let a gush of air out of her lungs as the door closed.

“We will hear about this from Tinte.” Dallraigh sighed.

“I think it was worth it. Come help me start analyzing what we captured.” Inneall’s matter of fact voice made the tension deflate.

Cliste sat on the floor. Hopefully the data proved to outweigh the consequences. She needed a nap. Maybe some omnomberry bars first.

*        *        *

Marfach bounced into the lab to find it empty. Her nose crinkled, due to a bad smell. What in the world?

Nothing looked obvious, but once closer to the beacon it became much stronger. A weird zapping noise came from within. Having done many things with Tinte, she debated on how bad opening the thing could be. Asura tech had the knack of blowing up more often than not. But it shouldn’t sound like that kind of zapping.

She popped the main panel open. A loud whoosh of air into the beacon warned her of what would come next.

Before she could turn away a loud bang made her ears ring and she felt herself flying across the lab. She did not hear the door blast open, but finally tumbled to a stop, after taking down three Asura walking by. She gracefully rolled out of the entanglement of limbs and stood facing the lab door swaying as she wiggled a finger in an ear.

Black smoke poured from the lab, the doors hung ajar, and crazy blue fire engulfed the beacon.

“AH! The Sylvari is on fire!”

Marfach smirked as she looked down at her skirt and quickly ripped it off to stamp on it.

“You are under arrest for destruction of property.”

Marfach arched a brow at the crusty Asura. She still had not figured out how to make an Arcane Eye crack a smile. Now might not be the time to try.

“And indecent exposure.”

“What? My leaves are all in place.”

She couldn’t stop a laugh as he scowled further. “I can explain.”

“If you are claiming someone sabotaged it and you found it too late, I’m not buying it.”

“Hmm. That is not what happened. If I remember the plans correctly, there would be a chance for a power shift, based on portal activity.”

“Shut up, Twig. You don’t have a clue about Asura tech and don’t belong in a lab. Period.”

“Well, how rude of you.”

“Take her away before I ….” The Asura spluttered something derogatory about Sylvari brain size or something of the sort. “I’ll be telling the krewe chief.”

“Great! She is a long time friend and knows better what is really going on here.”

Marfach started singing an Asura child’s song about connecting golem parts as they took her away. At least some laughed, but none of the Arcane Eye did. How sad!

*        *        *

Tinte ignored the exasperated owner of the lab she had rented. Something did not look right. Inneall walked up to her with a frown.

“Several things are not in spec to allow renting of this area as a lab as our contract implied. Only one wall had proper blast proofing all labs require and the doors were highly insecure. Cheap metal used in the hinges.” She held one out to Tinte.

The owner stopped his spluttering to look around again. Then started slinking toward the door, until the rest of the krewe blocked him in.

Tinte turned to face him. “You did a good job of making it look right, but now that a malfunction occurred we know otherwise. What were you thinking? Did you want my krewe to fail because I wound up with four highly intellectual members, who without a mission can run wild? A krewe no one else would even dare touch? If I find out it was sabotaged, I will blame you, since only my trusted krewe and one friend had access, besides you as the landlord.”

“About the twig….”

Tinte stepped closer. “The twig’s name is Marfach and she is no dummy around tech. From what I can tell, a small chance possibility of a power surge occurred, heated things up, and when she opened the panel the air sucked in made it combust. This is why I made sure, even if I got only a measly one roomed lab, it was fully able to contain issues like this. We are not being stupid with our tech, but we knew of this possibility. We even told you about this possibility.”

“If it is not in writing, it didn’t happen.”

Dallraigh cleared her throat. “Page five, subsection B. It is agreed that said lab is compliant with all standards of blast requirements in containing any said explosion, due to said experiments, dealing with both tech and magic power may cross in uncertainty during experiments. The probability of it not happening cannot be ruled out and might prove more probable than current statistics can prove, due to lack of information until after the experiments have started.” She looked up from the document in her hand. “You should be fined for lying and all of your properties thoroughly inspected for compliance.”

The landlord’s ears drooped.

“Well, now that we can stop arguing, I would like Marfach released immediately, because it appears she was trying to stop the impending explosion, rather than cause it.” Tinte stared down an Arcane Eye member until they scuttled off to their boss.

An inspector associated with the Council stepped up with a report. “Indeed, I will have to fine you. The court will determine the appropriate amount, based upon my report. It may want to confiscate this property as part of the fee, unless you have a better solution. Hmmm?”

“Umm….”

“What he means to say is he is willing to sell it to me to help cover his fee for at least this property. I will then build this area into a proper lab, seeing that we have a lot of wasted space in here. We will have every little detail inspected by you to ensure my krewe’s endeavors to help keep Tyria safe from improper portal usage of our enemies.”

Tinte watched the inspector eye her before replying, “I could live with that.” He added the information to his notes. “Proper pricing will be determined based on the quality of the premise and to make it acceptable for the feasibility of becoming an appropriate lab.” He nodded with a slight smile to Tinte before leaving the decimated lab space.

“Does this mean we can actually build it with more than one room, maybe two floors even?”

Tinte laughed. “I think we can pull that off now, Dallraigh. Once done we will have a room for archives and study.”

Dallraigh grinned.

“Some labs have living quarters so they can be on site all the time for big projects and I think that would help with security. Not that we had a security issue here.” Adhuil looked at Inneall.

The engineer shook her head. “No not sabotage. We actually managed to store enough data in the control panel, which thankfully resisted enough of the shock to only take minor repairs to use again. It appears there is a power loop that occurred and continued to slowly build, if the sensor is left on and recording all the Asura portal usage. I can analyze it thoroughly around the work required to build our very own lab.” She bounced on her toes.

Tinte clapped her hands. “First, I need to go fetch Marfach and then secure our actual ownership of this space. You all can work on plans for a proper lab environment.”

She looked about the decimated lab with a grin. Her krewe had gained a breakthrough, despite the explosion. At least, Marfach had not been killed with how the ceiling had come down. She grimaced at that thought. Despite how annoying the Sylvari could be, she proved many times her worth as a krewe member and a friend.

Published: December 12th, 2018   |  341 Reads

About the Author

Briseadh
Senior Editor

Althea joined Gaiscioch back in October of 2009 and has been here ever since with only a few month hiatus between Warhammer and Rift. As soon as she knew they were in Rift, she jumped ship to Faeblight and has followed them onward through every chapter since with a few side games thrown in for spice.

She has been an avid player of RPG style games since 1980 when she first played Dungeons and Dragons. Since then she has created her own tabletop gaming world used with various rule sets as D&D progressed. Once she could get online she played MUDs. Her MMO days started with Everquest and have moved through over a dozen games with some lasting only a month's time in her life and others going for years. She has tested several games from the perspective of a disabled gamer with hand issues due to her multiple sclerosis.

When not writing about or playing games, she can be found writing novels, reading and doing various art projects. She also writes items based on her faith and is working on publishing a novel. She also does editing for a gaming developer.

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