Telekinesis: superior (rank 2)
- Ranged Attack
- Target Seeker
Minerva stood up, seemingly ignorant of her severely bleeding shoulder, or lack thereof. She said nothing. She simply raised her remaining arm and aimed the palm of her hand at her mother. Maxine slowly floated into the air. She screamed, she struggled, she tried to free herself from whatever was holding her, but she could do nothing. She flew against the wall. When she landed, she was unconscious.
Micajah was silent. He did not know what to do, not that there was much he could do. The glow in Minerva’s eyes faded. She saw her father running to her as she fainted.
She awoke in her bedroom. It had been two weeks since the incident. She had nearly bled to death. This was the first morning since she had been able to come home fromt the hospital. Every morning she had woken up and asked herself if it had all been a dream. Every morning the universe answered for her in the form of her missing arm.
This morning noticed a sheet of paper on the table beside her bed. She picked it up. The handwriting was awful, obviously her father’s, but she was able to read it.
“Minerva: Please come see me in my laboratory as soon as you feel well enough to do so.”
“Short, but anything longer would probably have been totally illegible,” she thought with a grin. For a moment she felt as if she shouldn’t feel the way she felt. A normal person would be sad, afraid, miserable, and anything but happy. Yet somehow, that was how she felt… that and tired. She glanced out the window. The sun was high in the sky. It was later in the day than it felt.
She looked in the mirror. She looked horrible. Her hair was undone and she had slept in her dress from the night before, corset and everything, a feat which could only have been accomplished by the most fatigued of people. Removing the dress as she walked, she went to her vanity and sat down. She intended to reach for her hairbrush, but was once again reminded that she no longer had a left arm. She sighed. “I wish the brush would simply come to me,” she thought.
The brush slowly floated up off the table. Minerva gasped and nearly fell of her seat. Slowly, hesitantly, she focused on the brush and willed it to rise. Slowly it did. She experimented with the newfound power, moving the brush to and fro and lifting other objects.
An idea invaded her brain. She turned towards her bed and concentrated. Slowly the bed rose. She laughed, she giggled like a child. “Either I’m the strongest woman in England or I’m mad as a dog!” she said to herself. She tried to set the bed down as gently as possible, but it still managed to produce a loud “thud” as it hit the floor.
She quickly brushed her hair, dressed herself and left the room, trying not to laugh all the while.
Piercing Weapon: standard (rank 1)
- Ranged Attack
- Long Ranged Attack
Minerva had rarely seen the inside of her father’s laboratory, although it was fairly consistent with what she would have imagined. It was terribly cluttered, with every sort of paper, metal, and wood imaginable lying about in one place or another. Her father was hunched over a table working ecstatically on something. “Father?” she said, feeling not a little bit awkward about having to intrude, but he simply had not heard her knocking. He didn’t seem to hear her. She walked briskly to him and tapped him on the shoulder. He flinched and quickly turned around.
“Ah, Minerva, I was beginning to think that perhaps you were going to sleep the whole day!”
She felt obligated to smile out of politeness, if nothing else. “What happened to mother?” she said, deciding to simply ask the question and be done with it. Mr. Butterfield’s cheery expression drained into a much more solemn one. He turned back to his workbench.
“Your mother is very sick, you know. They’ve taken her away...” he seemed as if he wanted to continue that thought, but he trailed off. A pained expression covered his face. He sighed and seemed to force himself to change his disposition. “I’ve got something for you.”
He picked up what he was working on. Minerva stared at the strange contraption. “It looks like… an arm, perhaps?” Her father grinned. “I call it ‘spam’”
Minerva laughed in spite of herself. “You call it what, now?”
“Steam-Powered Arm Mechanism,” Mr. Butterfield said with a slight dejected feel to his voice, “I call it S.P.A.M. for short.”
“I see. And what does this have to do with me?”
Mr. Butterfield had a look on his face that seemed to be one part impish glee and one part disdain. “Before you were born, I was inducted into a very exclusive group of inventors from all over Europe. We were a subsidiary of some other group, though I was never told exactly what that was. Our goals were primarily weapon-oriented at the beginning. But as we progressed our focus shifted towards the improvement and even extension of human life through mechanical means.” He glanced lovingly at his mechanical appendage.
“At first we had little success. Our efforts were directed towards mechanical limbs such as the S.P.A.M., though we weren’t able to do much more than create devices with which people could enhance the performance of their bodies. We were unable to create appendages that functioned in place of missing pieces. We were about to give up, but one of the men who had started our group suggested we take a slightly less scientific approach.”
Minerva looked at her father awkwardly. “What are you saying? Were they suggesting magic?” she joked.
“Alchemy, to be precise.”
“Oh, come now, be serious.”
“Minerva, I am serious. The S.P.A.M. is entirely a product of science combined with Dark Ages alchemy.” He looked grave for a moment, but smiled, “just because I can’t explain it, doesn’t make it untrue.”
“How does this relate to me, then?”
“Early this morning I contacted one of my former associates. He agreed that it was in my best interest to give you the S.P.A.M.”
“Who is this former associate of yours?”
“Interesting you should ask. He asked for you to come see him later today.”
“I see.” Minerva was not sure how she felt about seeing this man whom her father had apparently worked with, though she had never heard of.
“In the meantime allow me to explain how the S.P.A.M. works…”
Her father went on some ecstatic tirade of the inner workings of the S.P.A.M. It was all Greek to Minerva, who stood, pretending to pay attention. He went on for several minutes.
“Would you like me to demonstrate?”
Minerva snapped out of her daydreaming. “Demonstrate what?”
“Why, the S.P.A.M.’s projectile defense of course! It works just like a firearm.” He raised the arm up and aimed it at something. A puff of steam shot from the wrist along with some object that flew across the room and smashed a lamp.
“What was that?” Minerva said, startled.
“The projectile defense! My goodness, Minerva, how many times must I say it?”
Minerva sighed. “This is all well and good, but what, exactly, am I meant to do with the, ah, ‘S.P.A.M.’”
“Our root problem with the mechanical appendages was that few people were able to use them. Even after we perfected them, few people possessed the ability to operate them.” He caressed his daughter’s face. “What I’ve seen you do… I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it. You should be able to use it.”
Equipping the S.P.A.M. was a simple enough task, or at least that’s the way it seemed to Minerva who was under the influence of ether. She awoke to see the S.P.A.M. attached to her body. “Now what do I do?” she muttered groggily.
“Concentrate. Concentrate on moving the S.P.A.M…. like it’s your own arm.”
Minerva focused on the appendage. She remembered the arm she lost; remembered what it felt like to move it. She tried to apply that principle to the device. It moved. It lifted. Soon, she found she had full control over it. Both she and her father were set into a fit of laughter. She embraced him and all the problems of the world seemed to cease to exist.
Mr. Butterfield didn’t want to break the embrace, but he felt that time was of the essence. “Come on now. You must go meet my friend.”
“Father, you aren’t coming?” she asked surprised.
“I’m afraid not, love. He asked that you come alone.” He handed her a scrap of paper with an address written on it. “Now, go. And remember that I love you.”
They embraced once more and she went.
Her Last Defense
Mind Blast: standard (rank 1)
- Ranged Attack
- Target Seeker
Covering the S.P.A.M. was easier in theory than it was in practice. She had tried to avoid being seen in general, though this involved traversing through some of the city’s slightly less likeable areas. It was nearly nightfall by the time she reached her destination. She hesitantly knocked on the door, half expecting some dark and threatening man to grab her and pull her in.
Instead there was a short, unassuming man, who was slightly on the portly side.
He spoke with a stammer. “M-miss Butterfield, I p-presume?”
“Ah, yes, that’s me,” she responded, not sure what to make of the man.
“Do come in, and, ah, p-please forgive my, ah, s-speech impediment.”
She obliged. The man’s house reminded her very much of her father’s workshop, albeit it was slightly more organized. “Wait here,” he said and walked briskly to another side of the room.
Minerva observed the room with much interest. There were devices of every shape and size. Her eyes drifted over to a large cylindrical device, like a barrel made of metal, with several straps on it. She read what was written on it.
“Sir, if you don’t mind me asking, what does C.E.I.F.M. mean?”
“Ah, that s-stand for, ah complete Engulfment in flames M-machine. It allows the wearer to c-completely engulf himself with f-flames.”
“And why would anyone want to do that?”
“Ah, well, I shall have to, d-demonstrate that for you someday.” He paused. “I don’t suppose your father m-mentioned my name.”
“No, actually he didn’t,” Minerva said, “Sorry.”
“Oh, d-don’t be. M-micajah always was forgetting things like that. My name is Footer. Harland Footer.
“Charmed, I’m sure.”
He fumbled around with several papers, shoving them into a bag along with a myriad of other odds and ends. “As I was saying, I can d-demonstrate the, m-machine later, we are, after all, taking it w-with us.”
“And just where do you think you’re taking me?”
Harland stared at her. “He didn’t mention th-that either, d-did he?” He sighed. “Lord, have m-mercy,” he muttered. “Did he happen to mention what he was d-doing all the t-time in that laboratory of his? Our little c-club, as it were?”
“Ah, yes, he did bring that up,” Minerva said, growing rather weary of learning how much information her father had neglected to tell her.
“We are going to meet with the m-men who started that whole g-group. The p-power behind the throne.”
“And why are we going to do that?”
Harland sighed again. “You have p-powers you d-don’t understand, yes?”
Minerva had to concede to that. “Yes.”
“These men c-can help you understand them.”
Minerva just gazed at him skeptically.
“Your other option is to n-never leave your house because of the S-SPAM. G-god knows what they’ll think if you leave. It would b-be like the d-damned witch trials.”
That was all the convincing she needed. There was no way she would be able to stand a life like that.
“Fine. You’ve convinced me.”
Harland shuffled through some papers. He picked out a few and shoved them into his bag. He continued sorting through the various things on his desk (at this point, Minerva noticed that a large pile of papers and various other items was accumulating around his feet). “Excellent. We’ll l-leave as soon as I find m-my-“ he cut himself off and pulled some sort of pamphlet out from under a stack of papers. “Ah-hah! Here we g-go!” he turned to Minerva. “N-now if you would just wait outside while I p-prepare the CEIFM. C-can’t have anybody knowing what I p-put into it, you understand?”
“Er, yes.” Minerva was perfectly glad to have a moment away from Harland’s horrendous speech.
The skies were starting to darken by the time Minerva stepped outside. The air was cool and refreshing, and the streets were silent, yet she couldn’t help thinking that there was something not right.
Someone grabbed her and pulled her into a group of hedges. She found herself on the ground staring up at a man with a knife. His words horrified her.
“Scream an’ yer’ dead.”
She felt herself at a crossroads. She felt she needed to scream, but not at the cost of her life. She struggled under the man’s weight. Her horror began giving way to rage. She kept fighting him. Something was building inside her. She felt as if she was going to explode.
“You little bi-“
He was dumbstruck by what he saw. She was staring at him, eyes glowing blue. He tried to speak, to do something, but he had no time to react. His head felt as if it were split open. He screamed and fell on his back. Minerva stood up, still gazing at her attacker with unblinking, emotionless eyes. Suddenly his screaming stopped. He lay there unconscious. The glow in her eyes faded.
She panicked. She ran from the hedges and straight into Harland, carrying the CEIFM on his back.
“Is, ah, is s-something w-wrong? I thought I heard someone sc-screaming.”
Minerva glanced back at the hedges where the man had passed out. “No,” she said, “there’s nothing wrong. You must have imagined it.”
“I, suppose so. Let’s g-get going then, shall we?”
He began walking off, away from his house. Minerva took one last hesitant look at the hedges and followed. She did not know what she had gotten herself into, but there was no getting out now.