Tales of the First – Training Session Part One

August 9th, 2019  |  Published in Tales of the First  |  2 Comments

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A few days passed and the killings had died down though the police still seemed unable to track those responsible. The centre of Castleham had been reopened to the public and most of the shops were open again – albeit with scaffolding and boarded up windows in many cases and unnervingly armed police were on patrol – something Sienna had never thought to see in Castleham even if it had been the norm in major cities for several years now. Sienna went with Wendy and Lucy to choose fabrics for her dress and her costume. She was still wondering why she had let Wendy talk her into this, but if she was honest with herself it felt like a perfectly natural thing to do with her new powers. Perhaps she had watched too many superhero movies and they’d gone to her head.

She had been practising with her new powers as well. She could still only lift light things and push slightly heavier things – nothing like that guy she had somehow thrown – but she no longer had to make herself feel stressed to do it and the weight she could move was steadily improving. Hopefully she would be able to move a useful amount of weight by the time her costume was made. More importantly her practice with her other power had got to the point where she could project a thought into a person’s mind without also forcing them to do it which made her feel better about it. And it would come in very useful. Martin was sure she should be able to hear thoughts as well but so far she had not been able to.

“I spoke to Charlotte,” Wendy said quietly as Lucy held up a bright blue silk that was obviously her suggestion for the dress.

“How is she?” Sienna asked as she examined the fabric. Lucy was holding it over her arm to show her the drape.

“She’s doing okay.” Wendy looked around to check no one was in earshot. “She’s worried about the possibility that those men might attack you but she’s still scared as well. She’s not ready to see you yet though.”

“I can’t blame her,” Sienna said. “Not after I pushed her that way.” She turned her attention back to the cloth, feeling the soft weave between her fingers. It wasn’t quite the same blue as the dress she’d been admiring what seemed like an age ago now but beautifully vivid and had the right softness. Sienna nodded to herself. It was close enough. “I like that.”

“Good,” Lucy said. “And don’t mind Charlotte, she’s always been extremely nervous of anything different. Just give her time to get her head around what happened and she’ll be fine. Wendy and I will keep working on her.”

“Thanks,” Sienna said.

“No problem.” Lucy walked over and looked at some harder wearing fabrics. “Natural fibres I think to allow your skin to breathe so you don’t get too hot.” She selected a heavy, undyed cotton. “This looks good.

“It’s the wrong colour,” Wendy said.

“Oh, I’m going to dye it myself,” Lucy said. “Even if they had something the right colour – which they don’t – someone might remember us buying fabric that matched Indigo Shadow’s costume.”

“That’s a good point,” Wendy said.

“I know.” Lucy gave a smirk. “You’re not the only one who can think of operational security. And on that note I want to buy a bunch of other fabric as well to conceal this more.”

“Yes,” Wendy said. “That’s a good idea as well.”

“And you two will have to help me carry it,” she said. “I’m still getting breathless at the drop of a hat.”

“It is getting better though?” Sienna asked anxiously.

“Oh yes,” Lucy inspected a deep red satin. “For one thing I can laugh without coughing now. Well mostly.”

“What did your coach say?” Wendy asked.

“That I’m to follow the specialist’s instructions to the letter and that he is consulting with her to come up with an exercise regime to help my rehabilitation. He says to treat it like any injury and take it carefully.”

“Sounds like wise advice,” Wendy said. “But it sounds like you’re getting better.”

“I’m just worried I won’t get all the way better,” Lucy said. “I really like hurdling and I was going to the UK trials next year. Coach says that a lung condition won’t necessarily stop me competing if it comes to it but I don’t know.”

Wendy patted her arm, “Trust your coach and your specialist, Luce,” she said. “They know what they are doing. And if you can’t become a world famous athlete you can become a world famous fashion designer.”

“Yeah,” Lucy said. “But I want to do both.”

“Heh,” Wendy said. “You’re ambitious, Luce. Most people would be happy to have the skills to excel in one field.”

“Yeah, well it’s not like an athletics career lasts too long,” Lucy said. “I want something for after and if I’m going to do something I want to be the best and not just a name attached to a fashion line for publicity purposes. Plus I enjoy both so why wouldn’t I want to excel at both?”

“Ah, when you put it that way it seems more reasonable,” Wendy said.

They left the shop laden with fabric and accessories and headed back to Lucy’s house and her attic studio. Lucy was definitely getting better because while she was still slow climbing the stairs she was only slightly out of breath when they reached the attic rather than gasping like a few days ago.

“We’ll do the dress pattern fitting here,” she said. “And then after lunch we can go out to do the other. Too much risk of Mum walking in here.”

The pattern fitting for the dress didn’t take long. Lucy had made dresses for Sienna before and had a good idea of her proportions and after that they raided the kitchen and made cheese and Branston sandwiches for lunch before heading out to visit Wendy and Martin’s secret workshop.

“Wow! What a fantastic space,” Lucy said when they entered the factory. “So large.”

“It is,” Wendy agreed as she put down another carrier full of food. “We just use the cellars but it’s got a lot of potential.”

They headed down the stairs and found Martin already working on something.

“Hey, Girls,” he said. “I think I have something.” He grinned as Wendy put a cheese sandwich and can of coke on the desk. “Thanks. I think I should warn you Dad called around at the house again after you left,” he added. “Helen threw him out again but I think she’s wavering.”

“I’ll call gran,” Wendy said. “Give me a few minutes then you can tell us what you’ve found.” She pulled out her phone and slipped into the next room. When she returned she was frowning. “Gran’s going to talk to her but she’s worried as well.” She flopped onto one of the seats. “I don’t know what to do.”

“Let your gran deal with it,” Martin said. “Now let me tell you what I found.”

“Yeah, that’s important,” Wendy agreed. “What?”

“You were right, it wasn’t the first incident of Magenta fog. It’s been going on for a couple of years at least. So far I’ve found nine incidents including Castleham and the one in America. All over the world, always in obscure places and always in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Castleham breaks the pattern because while we’re on the small side Britain is just too crowded for anywhere to be isolated. Which makes me think whoever is doing this either didn’t intend it or picked here for some specific reason. The fact that the two incidents are so close together indicates that as well. Also descriptions of paranormal events and brain damaged people surround all the areas.”

“What about these paramilitary killers?” Lucy asked.

“Oh, I found them as well,” he said. “They pop up for the first time about nine months ago, initially it was taking them two or three days to appear at fog sites and they were much less organised but they seem to have gotten better as time went on.” He paused then added. “I found a website for them hidden on the darknet. They think we’re being invaded by aliens and the people they kill are alien interlopers.” He grinned at Sienna. “So are you an alien, Sienna?” His tone made it obvious he was joking.

“Not to the best of my knowledge,” she said.

“Glad to hear it,” he said. “Now what I think is this gas is being created by someone human and I’m not sure what they want. The powers maybe but given that no one except you has shown conscious powers yet that’s a hell of a lot of collateral damage. Even if there’s one or two a town and they are just keeping their heads down like you that’s still a hell of a lot of collateral damage. I do not like either of these groups.”

“Me neither,” Sienna said.

“Are the lung conditions reported as well,” Lucy asked.

He nodded. “They are.”

“Do the victims who survive make a full recovery?” she asked urgently.

“They seem to, at least the ones from the first incident have,” he said. “It does take a long time I’m afraid.” He looked down sadly. “Of course there’s not many survivors among those it effects that way. You were really lucky.”

“I know I was,” Lucy replied. “If Sienna hadn’t got that wheelchair, if I hadn’t got that oxygen for a few minutes at the Primary Care centre…” she trailed off. “I’m so glad I’m alive.”

There was a brief silence after that but then Wendy cleared her throat.

“So Luce wants to see my armour,” she said. “And then she’s doing the pattern fitting for Sienna’s costume.”

“Oh, I’ll stay in here then,” Martin said. “Give you some privacy. There’s a few more things I want to check anyway.”

“Okay,” Wendy said as she led them into the other room. She paused then leaned back into the first room. “And eat your sandwich.”

“I will,” he replied.

“Good!” she shut the door and turned back to Lucy and Sienna. “Right, first the armour.” She pulled aside the curtain to reveal it in its alcove. It had changed somewhat since Sienna had seen it – especially the helmet which now had extra pieces added to it to conceal what little of her skin and hair would have been showing previously. Well except for one glaring exception.

“What about your face?” Sienna asked. “That’s still exposed.”

“Oh right, I haven’t shown you that yet,” Wendy said. She reached into a draw and brought out what appeared to be a respirator of some kind and a pair of mirrored ski goggles with some odd technical add ons. “These should do the job.”

“Are you going to keep the mismatched scrapyard look?” Lucy asked. “And would you like me to work with you on a jumpsuit to wear under it.”

“I was planning to spray paint it a single colour but I haven’t decided what yet and it needs some final testing first.” Wendy hummed thoughtfully to herself. “And the jumpsuit idea is great. Could you work some systems into it if I designed them?”

“I think so, yes,” Lucy said. “Though I can’t swear to it. That’s why I asked if you’d work on it with me. I’ve never made wearable technology before but the idea of it intrigues me.”

“You’ll make it great I’m sure,” Wendy said.

“I think you should go with a silvery blue for the paint,” Lucy said. “A metallic one.”

“Metallic is good,” Wendy said. “But I was thinking red or green.”

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2 Responses to “Tales of the First – Training Session Part One”

  1. White w says:

    Love it!!! They’ve got the secret base and Martin is brilliant!! So exciting 😁

  2. torvawk says:

    So much background information. This is great. You hinted at most of this already but 9 months for one and a couple years for the other. They have a lot of catching up to do.

    I do like seeing her powers evolve. It is nice she can send thoughts and not include the compulsion. She will become the team coordinator very soon. Hmm… Will she be able to “network” the team so that she does not have to always relay the communication? Can’t wait to see where this goes.

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