In our efforts to find the missing Ian, a fellow student of mine at the Sagan Academy, who we discovered to have been kidnapped by a rogue alien, we ended up losing one of our most trusted and beloved allies. Futurina, retired hero and Astra's adopted mother, was stolen away from us after what must have been a deliberate plan to capture her.
The abandoned lot where we believed Ian was being held turned out to be just as abandoned as we thought. There were very few clues to where the alien rogue took Ian or Futurina to. Even the spaceship that had been destroyed showed indications of having been booby-trapped for maximum destruction, leaving us little information to use to start our search for either of them.
What we did know was that the alien rogue did use what was some form of extra-dimensional transport to move from place to place. Catalyst did manage to detect some readings as Futurina's body was removed from the scene of our battle against a fighting group of mindless Ians. Also, the aliens that previously worked with the rogue sought it. These aliens, who had a previous history with Astra, didn't want their former ally turned over to BADGE. They might have insights into how we might be able to track down Futurina and Ian's captor.
All of Futurina's friends were summoned to the Star Force Observatory, the league's HQ, to brainstorm ideas of how to find their friend. The Sword of Gerraxia, Krystal Fae, and members of both their leagues were invited, as well as Crossroads and several BADGE agents who could spare the time with the current ongoing situation with the World Corps activities.
The Sword of Gerraxia and Krystal Fae were also both dealing with personal issues at the time. The Sword was planning to be wed, but an unknown entity was sending her messages about cancelling the ceremony and that the union was not to proceed. Krystal Fae was entering the final period of her pregnancy, which was causing some unexpected magical chicanery to occur. As her body prepared to give birth, her control over her magic had occasional flare-ups, either causing heightened or random effects to take place around her.
Despite the distractions, all heroes involved were hopeful that Futurina could be rescued quickly. Astra and Futurina's own children put on the bravest of faces, but anyone who knew their mother also knew that the individual who could capture Futurina would need to be a force to be reckoned with.
"Thank you all for joining us," Starmaster said. "Finding Futurina has to be a top priority for us--"
"Of course it is," Silver Paladin interrupted. "We all know why we are here. We need to find her, and to that purpose, I've called in some help."
Starmaster and several other heroes turned to face Silver Paladin, surprised by his claim. "Who? We've already contacted everyone associated with our leagues."
"Why, me, of course," a voice lilted from all about the room, with no visible source.
Several of those gathered did recognize the voice from a recent trip they made to the Fae Realm. Gerri, Crossroads, and Krystal Fae each paused for a half-second, mentally preparing themselves for the appearance of Robin Goodfellow.
Better known as Puck, Chaos-bringer of the Wild Fae...
Madam Marvelous ID#26130
Astra was determined to save Futurina. Doug had only seen her like this once before. When she came to save him. She was pouring over any and all information. That included the information her adoptive siblings could tell her. She approached Starmaster with her findings.
"Starmaster," she began, "I think I know how the alien learnt about her gold weakness." She handed over documents about Futurina's past exploits. Her nemesis was a nine foot tall ogre like mutant with glowing violet eyes. He was highly intelligent and a powerful telepath, he was also superhumanly strong and resistant to damage except magic. He died in 2020.
"Garbolis was a notorious note taker," She explained. "I think this alien came across Garbolis' notes. Most people don't know about it. I know Krystal Fae knows, maybe Commander Nova. Neither of them would tell anyone."
"There are others who know who might be persuaded to give the information," Krystal stated as she approached...
"What do you want with me?" Futurina questioned.
"They didn't seem to make it very secret in the Fae Realm," Silver Paladin said as he stood in a corner of the room talking with Puck. "They made her wear a gold circlet there according to Chaz."
"I don't see any of the people there sharing that information. She didn't go out in public much while we were there, and very few people know the effect gold has on her," Krystal Fae said.
"But she does have enemies within the courts," Puck added. "Not every family was pleased that "the Freak" was absolved of her banishment."
"So you think one of them was behind this? I can't imagine how this alien would have been engaged by anyone attached to our home realms." Krystal added before taking a seat and covering her mouth as she hiccupped. "Excuse me. Gem doesn't seem to like what I had for lunch today."
"No need for apologies, Princess," Puck said. "Your about to embark on the most unpredictable of journeys. I'm envious for your next adventure as a mother. As for Futurina, it is unlikely, but it can't be ruled out. The courts do always have spies observing them, and secrets are valuable."
They had been discussing strategy for a few days. Astra went back to her home that she shared with Futurina. Silverhair was staying with her, so she had to be a bit more careful from shower to bedroom than she was with Futurina. She looked at herself in the mirror. It always startled her how much she still looked like she used to at the same time looking feminine. She wrapped the towel around herself and walked to her room.
She heard a wolf whistle and Silver say, "Watch out, sexy human woman walking."
"Knock it off, Silver, we're siblings," she condemned. "I know your father was a horn dog you don't have to be too."
"If you'd ever met my dad, you'd know that's impossible," Silver laughed. "We're not related by blood, but I'll respect you." She went to her room and shut the door. She put on her underwear and then the nanite costume. She loved the useful nanites. It made changing into costume from school uniform or casual clothes so much easier.
She knew she and Starmaster would begin a search in the Astral Plane, but she felt that would be a dead end. She sighed and picked up the information she had collected on Garbolis. From what she read about him, it sounded like he used his brilliant mind to make world ending devices and telepathy to control others. Only using his size and strength to intimidate.
"Okay, Silver, I'll see you tonight," She stated as she left her room. "Starmaster and I will be searching the Astral Plane for mom."
"Take care," Silver said. "Remember, the Astral Plane is dangerous. Stay safe."
At the Star Force observatory, Starmaster and Astra met the following morning to try to mentally contact Futurina on the Astral Plane. The two of them had both ventured there before in a search for Astra's friend, Doug. While they had been successful in that quest, they knew that wasn't a guarantee for this attempt. The Astral Plane was constantly shifting, the landscape changing as it was influenced by sentient thoughts by all life in the base dimension.
The two of them sat cross-legged opposite one another and took on a relaxed, yoga-style pose. Silver Paladin watched the two of them begin their journey from a monitor in the building's security center.
"Do you think they will find her?" Puck asked as he sipped at a Boba tea from the local Starbux cafe. His face screwed after he tasted the beverage. "Ewww. How can your people drink this swill?"
"It isn't for everyone. I tried to warn you," Silver Paladin said. Ever since having met Puck, he wore his armor less and less frequently in the Star Force HQ. Today he wore a t-shirt and parachute pants from an 80's outlet store. "And no, I don't think they will."
Puck smiled. "You doubt their ability?"
"No. They are both good at what they do, but with the planning that went into capturing Futurina, this alien knows about not only her abilities, but ours as well. It would have prepared for this type of search." Silver Paladin stood up from his chair and examined a 'murder board' he had created about what he had discovered about the aliens. "The question I wonder about is how far back has this alien been preparing for this? The tie between the aliens having kidnapped Astra years ago and now Futurina makes me wonder if there is a link between the two."
"I was wondering when someone would ask that question," Puck said with a tiny clap. "You're beginning to understand my teachings. That there is a pattern in chaos that only the shrewdest can perceive. Finding out where their paths crossed is an important first step. What do you know about the other one taken?"
"The boy, Ian?" Silver Paladin asked. "Up until the search for him at the abandoned lot, we were unclear about his involvement. There were several altered versions of him, either clones or duplicates of some sort found around New Amsterdam. Did the alien create them or was it an unknown Morphon ability Ian possessed? We don't know."
"But this boy went to the same academic institution as Futurina's adopted child, correct?" Puck asked as he waved a hand over the plastic cup of tea. The vessel shifted and became a fluted glass of sparkling liquid. He took a long drink from his new beverage. "Ahh. Much better."
"You think that there is a link there? At the Sagan Academy?"
"No stone left unturned, I believe was the command of your leader, was it not?"
"Where to first?" Astra asked Starmaster. "There is no time in the Astral plane. We could check the past, or the future while scanning to find Futurina in the present."
"Let's keep to the task at hand," Starmaster cautioned. "We don't want to get lost while looking."
Astra sighed, "Okay, we'll stick to the scan plan," she said disappointed. "I hope we find something."
Their astral bodies left their physical forms. They flew into the astral plane.
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