BACKPOST: Aiden Visits Shady Side
Location: Shady Side
On the screen, the message read [Maeveen has asked you to join a group]
Melissa looked at the message curiously, dropping her schoolbag and sitting down at her computer. She had no idea how Aiden’s school worked - assuming the winged metahuman even went to school - but the timestamp on the message had been far too early in the afternoon for her to have caught it when it came in. It was finally Friday of the first week back at school, and with Tim in better health, having him at school as well meant that he wouldn’t have caught the message, either.
The mouse cursor moved toward the message as Melissa used a hotkey to pull up her friends’ list. Still online. She felt a slight twinge of envy that he’d been able to play while she was stuck in Chemistry, but she pushed that aside and moved her hands to the keyboard.
[Neferu: Still want me to join your group? What quest is it?]
[Maeveen: Not a quest. This is Sean. Aiden said to contact you. And someone with a longer name that looked like half the vowels were used for it.]
Melissa couldn’t help but smirk.
[Neferu: Ankhramesses?] There weren’t really all that many vowels in that.
[Neferu: You’re Aiden’s younger brother, right? The genius from the news?]
[Maeveen: Yes, I am.] came the reply
[Maeveen: Got my doctorate in computer engineering and most of the way though my doctorate in applied physics. Not an easy course. Plus I also work as a contractor making aides for people with disabilities for Stark Industries.]
[Maeveen: Wish I could be like Aiden and play games half the day.]
Melissa gave a small smile.
[Neferu: Me too.]
[Neferu: So, Aiden said to contact me? For a quest in Worlds of Myth, or something else?]
[Maeveen: He is in Shady Side, or about to be. He wanted to drop in and say hi to both of you. He’s been on the road for over a bit now. Called this morning to have me catch you two.]
[Neferu: He’s in Shady Side? Why?]
[Neferu: I haven’t seen him around for a few weeks. Not since the news story about that mall. We saw Aiden on the live feed that went viral. He was fighting. I tried to reach out, but he hasn’t been online. Is he okay?]
[Maeveen: Not sure how much I should tell. After all, it is his story. But yeah, things are tense here for him so he is traveling while some groups wish him to be arrested for what they claim was an attack on the president]
“What?” Melissa gasped.
[Neferu: The PRESIDENT? What happened??]
She quickly sent a message to Tim. Surely he had to be logging on soon.
[Maeveen: How do you not know this. His being at ATL made bigger news than the attack on the Mall. He flew there to get a bomb away from the Pres. Got shot at by both the anti mutant watchdogs and the secret service. Got blown up, almost caused a crater the size of Downtown Atlanta.]
[Neferu: I heard about the bomb, but I didn’t know that was Aiden. The news made it sound like he was trying to kill the president, so I figured that couldn’t be him.]
“Unless he’s actually a bad guy...” Melissa whispered to herself. “Oh god... what if he did try to attack the president? Why is he coming HERE?”
[Ankhramesses has logged on]
[Ankhramesses: Didn’t see enough of me at school today? :)]
That made Melissa smile, despite everything.
[Neferu: Nope :) But Aiden’s brother Sean is online.]
[Ankhramesses: The genius?]
[Neferu: Yeah. He says Aiden was involved in the attack against the president, and he’s on his way to Shady Side.]
There was a pause in that chat window.
Melissa tapped a few keys and added Ankhramesses to the chat with Maeveen.
[Neferu: Sean, Ankhramesses is here now, too. When is Aiden supposed to get here?]
[Maeveen: Soon. He stopped along the way to speak to a friend of mine with SHIELD, who helped him save the President. Making sure his legal backside was covered with the media mudslinging going on. I still can’t believe that this country is so filled with idiots that they can’t see that he was saving the big man’s life.]
[Ankhramesses: To be fair, the footage made it tough to see what, exactly, was going on.]
[Maeveen: true i guess. But he was between the president and Nexus when they shot missiles at the president. If Aiden hadn’t been there....Heck that bomb he had could have leveled the airport and been felt up to Downtown.]
[Ankhramesses: Jesus... is that why he’s been offline?]
[Maeveen: He can tell you more, but he was in a medically induced coma for a couple of days. He got hurt bad when the bomb blew up in his face. Thanks to dad, he’s healed up pretty well. After he woke, he slipped out in the night and ran to a place my family has in the South.]
[Ankhramesses: I’m glad he’s doing better. If you don’t mind my asking, why’s he stopping here?]
[Maeveen: Something about wanting to see America. He wanted to see friends. He’s seen family, now it’s time for friends and he said he wanted to make sure you two are doing good.]
[Neferu: But, he doesn’t really know us very well... we just played a campaign and well, he stopped here once...]
[Ankhramesses: It was quite a campaign...]
[Neferu: Yeah, I guess it was. :)]
[Neferu: When should we expect him? Is he going to come to my house, or are we supposed to meet him somewhere?]
[Maeveen.: I can call him and say where to go. That’s the thing, he didn’t want to intrude or take from your nights of gaming.]
[Ankhramesses: Really? Heh. Yeah, that’s fine.]
[Neferu: We were going out later, anyway. We should have him meet us somewhere a bit remote so that no one sees Aiden and gets scared.]
[Ankhramesses: Good point. The beach behind my house?]
[Neferu: That could work. What time, Sean?]
[Maeveen: How about in an hour or two? It’s getting dark earlier, so he has that for cover.]
[Ankhramesses: It’s 4 now... should we split that and say 5:30? Tell him it’s the beach where, uh, he found us last time. He’ll know the one.]
Melissa paled a little. It hadn’t been long ago that she’d last been there and Aiden had saved both of them from being attacked by some boys from the high school. She hadn’t been there since. Still, it made sense to meet there.
[Maeveen: I’ll call him and let him know. Until then, have a good night.]
Aiden stood by the edge of the water, his eyes closed. He stood there, listening to the small waves lapping against the shore. Along the beach he could hear different sorts of animals and out in the waters, there were boats headed back to shore. He loved it here. The noises reminded him of the Bayou, just with a lot less in the killer wildlife.
“Aiden?” Melissa’s voice was soft and quiet, little louder than the waves themselves. The timid teenager’s dark hair blended in to the evening sky, already dark given the winter’s influence. Behind her, Tim LaFontaine stood, tall and smiling at looking much stronger than he had when they’d last met. The two held hands behind Melissa’s back, as though their relationship was better kept secret.
“Hello you two. Glad you came.” Aiden said.He opened up his eyes. “I’m actually thankful you showed up. I figured the news would have scared you away from me.”
Melissa looked a little awkward as her eyes turned down toward the sand. “We figured the media spun it somehow and didn’t tell the full story.” Tim answered. “Are you alright?”
Aiden chuckled. “Define alright.” he said. He turned around and showed off his short hair. But as he turned he slipped his left hand behind his back. “ Many of my wounds were healed. At least what could be. Hair will regrow. Skin already has. Just leaves one issue.”
“What’s that?” Tim asked.
Aiden pulled his hand from behind his back. While not the brightest it could be, he also pulled out a small flashlight. The hand now was in the glove if Sean's making. Something that could help him use it again. Wire and small parts were along the top of his hand, and smaller parts were on the sides of each finger, to help it close and open as a normal hand should. “My hand seen better days.”
Melissa gasped, her eyes wide.
“Damn...” Tim breathed. “Was that... when the... y’know... bomb...”
“Boom. Yeah. The Air Force one bomb, that is. I was pretty whole when I left the Tower.”
“Jesus...” Tim shook his head with wide, shocked eyes.
Aiden nodded. “Look, it happened, but thanks to Sean, I can move my fingers. Before he did anything, my hand had no muscle mass to it. But for now, I’m doing my best to forget about it. I mean I’ve got a lot to be amazed and proud about from that day. I mean in twenty minutes, I managed to fly past the speed of sound, twice, and I went higher than eight miles, straight up.”
“That’s.... That’s fast.” Melissa observed.
“Nearly nine hundred miles an hour.” Aiden said with a big smile. “And trust me, it’s a rush.”
“So, what brings you to Shady Side?” Tim asked, slipping his arm around Melissa.
“I wanted to check up on both of you. I've been out traveling and needed to make sure those morons never tried anything.”
“Not after you were done with them.” Melissa shook her head.
“They avoid us at school.” Tim chuckled.
“Proves they can learn, at least. That's good.” Aiden said. “I was kind of worried that after I made national news, they’d realize I lived elsewhere and come after you again. And right now I can’t tap my speed like I could, so it could take hours to reach you, not just an hour or so.”
“You’re assuming they even watch the news, or could tell one mutant from another.” Tim scoffed.
Aiden shrugged. “I have to assume so, until I’m proven otherwise. But at least you two have some breathing room. That’s good.”
Melissa nodded. “I, um... we haven’t seen you online. Your... your brother said you were pretty badly hurt. My aunt is a doctor, if... if you are still feeling injured. Y-you said you weren’t able to go fast right now...”
“Honestly, I think my problem will take some time to heal.” Aiden replied. “See, I’m sonic, for the most part, but the blast hit my throat and kind of put a kink in my powers. Haven’t had a good blast of power in a few days. So my speed is greatly decreased.”
“So... you just have to wait for your throat to heal?” Melissa asked.
“Well, others at the tower healed me, but my throat just isn’t working like it used to. Who knows when it will return to normal. I have a relative that thinks it is in my head.”
“Psychosomatic?” Tim offered. “Yeah. I’ve gotten that one from time to time. Hopefully, whatever it is, you get back to normal soon.”
“Me too. Kinda wish the hand was the same thing, but no such luck.”
“But, hey, you saved the President... maybe even the world.” Tim offered. “You’re a damn hero.”
“Tell that to the government. And those NEXUS goons. Damn fools tried to shoot him. They now claim I used mental powers to control them.”
“Do you have mental powers?” Melissa asked quietly, a hint of fear tinging her voice.
“Nah. That’s my sister. But her powers suck, at least she thinks so.” Aiden said. He knew telling secrets was bad and his mother would skin him alive, but he was sure these two were on his side.
Melissa gave a small shiver, as much from the thought of having mental powers that sucked as from the cold winter air. Tim pulled her closer, and she gave a small smile as she enjoyed his warmth. “I can’t imagine having powers like that. Or, any at all, I guess. Must be hard.”
“Hers revolve around dreams. She gets memories from people and must relive them as she sleeps. Mostly it is like nightly nightmares.” Aiden clarified. “At least mine lets me fly.”
Melissa shuddered again. Aiden’s sisters powers sounded horrible.
“I didn’t come here to give you bad dreams or any issues like that. I wanted to drop something off. Something that seems very important after the events of the first.”
“What’s that?” Tim asked, holding Melissa tightly.
“Since that watch group has made it’s presence known, Mutants are going to be hated even more. Tim, I know you can contact the proper support groups. But in case you should see something - or if someone awakens to powers - I want you to call this number and ask for Ouroboros. That’s me. They can connect you to my headset. Tell me if you’re in danger and I’ll come running. Well, flying.” He pulled out a pair of buisness cards. “Keep them safe.”
Tim gave a small frown as he took the slip of paper Aiden offered with the phone number. “Sure... but there aren’t a lot of mutants in Shady Side. Those that were here... well, they get chased off pretty quickly as it is.”
“Remember that girl?” Melissa said quietly. “The ghost girl that the police talked about?”
Tim nodded, looking back up at Aiden. “Turned, well, non-corporeal after a car accident and ran off into the woods, the way I heard it. We’ll be fine, we’re not exactly mutants ourselves, but, I’ll let you know if we hear about anything.”
“People were afraid you might be, after you got better.” Melissa pointed out quietly.
“Good point.” Tim frowned. “I’ve got the tests to prove I’m clear, though.”
“People are nervous. I hear a lot of mutants want to join the Watch, thinking it’s the right choice. But violence isn’t the best thing right now.”
“Why would they want to join an organization that just killed a whole lot of mutants, on an attack on one of the only businesses to openly hire mutants?” Melissa frowned. “That doesn’t make sense.”
“The whole only the strong will survive. The thought that it’s better to be a lackey then dead at the hands of NEXUS”
“I guess.” Tim shrugged. “Not sure I agree, but, I guess I can see how some people would.”
“Some people think that it’s better to force their views on the world, rather than to hold out for a peace offering. This watch group is just a bunch of puffed up bullies.” Aiden said with a shrug. “I talked to one after I destroyed his kneecap. Thinks he is a kind of saviour.”
“That sounds like they’ll be fun to deal with...” Tim grumbled. “No offence, Aiden, but I’m glad you’re the ones dealing with him and not us... though I hope you don’t have to face them much more, either.”
“That makes two of us.”