The Weather Station
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Danielle DuBious 9/30/2020 10:14pm
One of my fondest memories of summer session was my bike ride up to Storm Mountain, where I discovered that old weather control station. Turned out I didn't need any extra credit in Forensic Techno-archaeology (aced it!) so I never ended up heading back up there to check it out.
But now with this Indian Summer in full swing, I think it's time to get another frisky bike out of the stables and give it another look. Before things start getting nasty.
Danielle DuBious 10/4/2020 11:43pm
"This is.... [crick!!] Station Zebra. Are you receiving us?"
There's dust all over the controls, but the radio works? I shake the cobwebs off the headset and start pushing the buttons that blink.
"Uh... test? Can you hear me?"
"Oh my god, yes. This is Zebra Station. Identify."
"Danielle Station? One moment." There's a bit of dead air. Then: "We don't have an entry for that, but we've been out of touch for some time. Danielle Station, can you lock on? Transmitting now."
A new button starts to light up. It's a big one. With sort of calculator numbers flipping around above it. The numbers settle and the button turns green.
"Uh... locking on?"
I give the big green button a press.
The weather control command center explodes with wind and snow and ice.
Danielle DuBious 10/10/2020 9:18pm
The dog catcher in my home town once told me "Magic's just science that we don't understand yet."
That was just a week before the he was abducted by dog-headed demons from Anubis IV. They opened up a portal and rode their Sun Ships through, blasting down walls with their eldritch rays and freeing all the dogs.
But the dog catcher was right. Though everybody in town began to wear ankhs and started changing their religion from Baptist and Presbyterian to Ancient Egyptian, I studied the scene of the crime and took readings and real scientific measurements. I was able to determine exactly what resonant energies were used to open the portal. It was only a matter of time till I was able to sneak through and steal more examples of their technology and begin to reverse engineer it.
That's how I got my Scientia scholarship to Psyhigh. I'm not easily fooled by robes and staves. I like power sources and transmitters and tubes and wires.
Which is why I LOVE this weather station.
"Hi, I'm Karl. Deputy Director, Zebra Station."
Karl is still shaking off the snow, hitting at his arms with his big mittens. There's a team of six or eight of them, in parkas and snowpants and boots, and a few stacks of heavy totes. They're standing in ankle deep snow, here, inside the weather station. Standing on some kind of platform.
"Looks like Danielle Station needs a little upkeep?"
Karl stops looking around the inside of the old dusty station and looks at me.
"Hi, well, yes. I'm Danielle. And about that..."
Rouge 10/15/2020 12:09pm
Danielle. This is Soninica. Do you remember me? The last time we talked, it was children's circle and I may have accidentally....cursed you? it was only a bad luck charm that lasted for 2 weeks, but you were saying nothing interesting ever happened to you. I resented you for your ability to control your power more than I could... Can you forgive an old friend?
Danielle DuBious 10/18/2020 10:00pm
It didn't take long for Karl and his team to get things sorted out, and soon the station was in ship shape. The cobwebs were gone and the fluorescent lights had everything lit up; the consoles were humming and the resonators were resonating.
"This was your science project?" I ask.
"Well, me and the Scientia Club from 2002. There wasn't single leader. We had a very progressive Scienta-based organizational hierarchy. Helga, how about we bring up Tiger Station next?"
"Aye aye, captain!" Helga says with a wink.
"After eighteen years together in an inhospitable arctic environment, we kind of ended up assuming roles."
The Scientia Club had created a trans-dimensional climatic-based zonal transference network. They separated into teams to set up habitats in each zone, which they would then use to explore each one's local potential reality "spin off" network. Focusing on extreme weather environments gave them something to triangulate off of.
But someone left the station unattended. There was no one left to bring them back. And their experiment was just... forgotten? Why didn't someone from the school come looking for them? I'd never heard stories of a "lost Scientia club."
"Karl, looks like there's a problem with the hyperbolic flattener," Helga called.
It wasn't THAT long ago, but some of the ways they had stuff set up was already so dated.
"Here," I offered. "Let me take a look."
Part of the reason I was able to get on a Scientia scholarship was that I cheated. Well, I have a power. Just like @Rouge
Soninica noticed way back in Children's Circle. I have the power to understand any technology. In Children's Circle, that meant I was the first to master the safety scissors (both right and left handed), and the watercolor brush, lacing boards.... That made some of the other kids jealous.
Luckily I don't believe in curses.
Danielle DuBious 10/25/2020 11:27pm
Soon, Karl and Helga had all the other lost teams back in the lab, methodically making contact with each one, then zapping them over onto the reception pad.
There was Teresa and her team from Camel Station, which had been marooned on a sweltering desert world. Ryan and his team were from Frog station, which had been stuck on a planet where it never stopped raining. And Erin's team from Eagle Station, where the wind never stopped blowing; and Tara and her people from Tiger Station, a jungle planet where the vines grew so fast they'd rip a building apart in weeks; and Cody from Rhino Station, where the weather was so absolutely perfect every day it had almost driven his team mad.
My little abandoned weather station was becoming quite crowded.
"So, this station was never built to control weather, but to seek out parallel worlds with the most extreme weather, as... a kind of way to map the multiverse?"
"Exactly," said Karl, enjoying an energy bar from a locker in the mess.
"Aren't those a bit stale?"
"Not when you've had nothing to eat but snow cones and snow ice cream for 18 years."
"Well, you can eat a lot better than that back on campus. The cafeteria isn't THAT bad, especially since they've started bringing in cooks from--"
"We're not going back," said Karl.
"Not going? But you've been lost for so long! Marooned! Exiled."
"Exiled. Exactly. It wasn't an accident we were abandoned. You said it yourself--no mention of a lost Scientia club. No record of our experiment, or our disappearance."
"Yes, well, now that you mention it, I was wondering..."
"Who was supposed to bring you back? Who was holding down the fort here at the base station? What happened to them?"
Helga gives Karl a glance.
"Mr. Sterne," Helga says.
"The Scientia club sponsor. He was a science teacher."
"Uh..." I say, looking Karl and Helge in the eyes. "He still is."
Danielle DuBious 11/5/2020 11:02pm
"You know him?" Helga asks.
"Mr. Sterne is my advisor. He helped me get my Scientia scholarship. It's in my very first post. Don't you read my journal?"
"We've been out of touch," Karl says. "But he was old when we had him. He must be ancient now."
"No," I reply. "I mean, he's 'old' but he's not like, a grandpa. Great hair, actually. We can probably find him on the security cameras. I can access them from here."
Access to the school network is primitive, but the underlying technology is compatible. It takes me less than a minute to bring up the cameras on multiple screens and start scrolling through them.
"There," I say. "That's him."
The hallway in the Scientia building near his office. He's heading to the bathroom maybe.
"You can tell his walk. Like he owns the place."
"Like this guy?" Helga asks. She's pointing at another screen, near the dumpsters behind the admin building.
"Well... yes," I have to admit. "That looks like him too. They have the same tweed jacket. He wears that every day."
"And here?" Karl asks, pointing at a feed from the parking lot. Walking to his car, same proud stride, same tweed jacket. Flowing mane.
"That's him too," I say.
Helga chews her thumbnail.
"Looks like Mr. Sterne has been busy," Karl says.
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