2034-03-11 1535EST Uh, Boss, We Have Incoming
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At the same time the gravitational distortion is enveloping the western US, Dan and Droo were in Atlanta, perched on a rooftop. They were observing the security measures that were protecting and imprisoning Dr. Taylor VanDerGreft - aka the Valar Lady Nienna of the Post Darwinist ruling council.
"What about her family?" Dan asked.
"What about them?" The Vögel personality was running the meat at the moment.
Dan sighed. His voice took on a slightly condescending tone, as if explaining to a child. "If they lose track of her they get rounded up in minutes, and if she does a runner they die in an hour."
Vögel picked up on the tone, but shrugged it off. "Collateral damage." He said.
"You might want to talk about that with Droo and Vernon," Dan said. "They might think differently about the value of fam--" Dan stopped abruptly. "Full stealth," he said over their AR link. "Four Tetras incoming." Dan moved quickly and quietly toward a sharp shadow beside the elevator machinery and lowered his visor. The Vantablack armour was much darker than the shadow he hid in, but it offered the least contrast. "Computer, paint possible hostiles scaling the building where I'm pointing." The suit's computer worked for a moment, then put four amber blobs on the AR.
"Shit," Dan said. "I can feel them finding me here." Dan's bizarre 'touch at a distance' ability bothered all of Droo's personalities. Anything that could slice through his primary skill so effortlessly nad to be studied - and overcome.
Vögel considered for a moment. "They use sonar and electrical fields to sense, not eyes." He extended his less conventional senses for a moment. "There is a transformer housing ten metres South of you. Pop the door, get inside, and close it behind you. I'll knock when it's time to come out."
"I might feel you coming anyways," Dan said. "Good call, Dro... Vögel." Dan casually crushed the padlock on the heavy metal door, and pulled it open. "This place is noisy but it doesn't feel like them." He closed the door. The noise and RF interference from the transformer were contained by thick walls of soundproofed reinforced concrete, along with two Faraday cages.
With Dan safely stowed away Vögel considered his next move. Droo had been wanting to meet some Tetras for a while, but this was the first time he had been close to them. °You know it's a rough week when an alien invasion comes a distant second,° Droo thought. Vögel agreed. Vernon didn't understand, but sort of wagged his pleasure at feeling both personalities agreeing about something.
The first Tetra topped the building, and crawled toward the radio tower in the middle. It was strange to sense them directly for the first time. The fern-like swirling patterns on this one's quills were predominantly a neon yellow in all eight body segments, but each segment was quite different. The creature stood 'up' on two of it's arms and one trunk, extending the other trunk straight up. It stayed that way, rotating slowly, as the other three Tetras gracefully ascended to she rooftop. The colours and patterns on these were all eyewateringly bright and fractal, but didn't have any obvious relationship to each other.
The third Tetra had mostly larger patterns, with darker forest greens on one side and autumnal yellow, orange, and red on the other. Droo labelled it "Seasons" in their phone.
°I'm driving,° Vögel said.
°Yeah? That makes me navigator. Shut it and let me work.°
Vögel felt a momentary wash of frustration at how uppity Droo was being, but he couldn't fault the approach.
Feeling the urge to examine the Tetras more closely, Vernon eased down toward Seasons. It was wearing some utility belts with various Tetra tools attached. There were no obvious interfaces to the strangely melted forms, but they could feel distinct magnetic patterns from each of them. They watched in fascination as the four creatures worked together with perfect coordination, placing a ring of metallic forms around Tetra labelled Yellow. Bands of magnetic fields snapped on, linking the 20 devices together. They pushed off from each other, quickly forming a rotating dodecahedron around Yellow. Seasons and the other two - Camo and Tiedye - moved away. Each pulled a brown brick from a pouch on one side of their strange bodies. They turned on their sides - with both trunks parallel to the rooftop and two arms in the air. They removed the pouches, setting them on the roof with a trunk. A cavity opened up on the top surface where the pouches had been. The three pushed the bricks down into their bodies. At the same time, a smaller grey lump fell from a cavity on the other side, landing on the roof with a dull thud.
They were only three meters away from Seasons when gheir stomach rumbled and they felt strange combination of hunger, satiation, and the relief after a good pee.
Vögel halted their drift in a miming of panic, quickly suppressed. °Why are we this close?!° Droo and Vernon echoed his confusion and fear. They all felt a compelling desire - a yearning - to be closer to the Tetras.
°Not closer.° Droo implied 'physical proximity' with the thought. °More intimate.°
Vernon echoed this emotion, feeling drawn to them almost as strongly as he had felt drawn to Droo when he first woke.
"Well shit," they said. They said it quietly and while moving to 50m in the blink of an eye, but they did say it out loud.