Training Mission

Bridor, an eighteen year old young Paragon in training, attempted to calm his racing heart and ragged breath at the same time trying with all of his might to hear anything to do with the four people who were hunting him as if he were a Delk, a deer like creature. He had been dodging through doors and jumping over fences for the past twenty minutes in the capital city of Arellia, an island located southwest of the Mainland. The people who were hunting him were in futuristic looking blood-red armor. Their heads were covered with a sleek helmet and they carried some sort of black weapon that spit red power bursts. Earlier that evening, just after dusk, Bridor had come around a corner to a scene that he still wished that he could erase from his memories. One of the men in armor had used telekinesis to throw one of Bridor’s younger classmates against a wall. The armored villain then pointed his weapon and the classmate had disappeared in a red ball of electric power. One of the others had noticed him and the chase had begun.

He had finally managed to find a spot where he could catch his breath and begin to digest what was going on. For the past four hundred years, the planet Vitucia that he lived on had enjoyed an unprecedented period of peace. Bridor hadn’t known that weapons like the ones he had seen were even possible. Being an Arellian, he understood how to form power balls and use telekinesis using the power of his mind, but he had never conceived of using them to hurt a fellow human being. However, Bridor was a very gifted Arellian, being able to use the power of his mind above and beyond what most other Arellians were able to do. Just like any other talent, a person who exercised his powers became more adept, but innate ability gave an individual a great head start. Bridor was aware that the people hunting him would never give up – he knew that he had to come up with a plan if he were to survive the night.

Bridor heard soft footsteps near him and noticed a sole soldier opening a door near him. After the person disappeared inside, Bridor slipped quietly in behind him. Suddenly, the soldier whipped around and pushed him telekinetically back against the door. Bridor quickly recovered and pushed with his own mind so that he landed on a bended knee just in front of the door. The soldier fired a red ball of energy at him, but Bridor instinctively pushed against it so that it rubber-banded backwards. The armored person had no time to react before he was obliviated in a cloud of red electricity. The strange weapon fell with a loud clank to the floor. Bridor approached and picked it up, handling it as he had seen the armored person hold it. The door behind him opened and Bridor swung around to face another soldier. With the weapon in his right hand, Bridor brought his left hand up in a defensive posture. He didn’t really need to use body parts to use telekinesis, but it was a reflexive nature to use his hands when performing telekinetic feats. His opponent crashed against the door and slid down until he was sitting on the floor. The soldier raised his weapon towards Bridor.

"Please don’t do it," Bridor pleaded. He valued human life and didn’t want anyone else to die. Sadly, the armored person ignored him and another power beam sprang from the weapon. Again, Bridor used his telekinetic abilities to defend himself. This time, however, he managed to aim the power beam at a location to the right of the seated enemy where it dissipated with no apparent damage. The soldier involuntarily flinched and looked to his right. Bridor quickly took advantage of the distraction to disarm his opponent. In another second the door mechanism was activated, locking it against any more intruders. By the time the soldier turned his head to look at Bridor, the two weapons had seemingly vanished. Bridor strode over to stand over the armored person. Using the power of his mind, he explored the armored area around the neck and helmet region and finally found the clasp that held the helmet on. Releasing the clasp, Bridor lifted the helmet off of the soldier and gasped. He immediately noticed the Pheruzite tattoo on the male soldier’s neck. The Pheruzites were a group of mining people who lived in the western mountainous area of the Mainland known as the Laughing Mountains. He had never heard of any of them being able to use telekinetic powers.

"Why are you doing this?" Bridor asked firmly. Instead of answering, the man attempted a telekinetic attack on Bridor, but Bridor was prepared and held his ground. In a few moments, Bridor had used the power of his mind to strip the remaining red armor off of the Pheruzite. "I don’t think you understand your situation here. I saw you murder a young boy right in front of my eyes. I am certainly in my rights to kill you so that you will not be able to kill anyone else. Let me give you a taste of what I am able to do and we will see if you can match my skill. I have lived and breathed the power of telekinesis since my birth. How long have you been practicing?" Bridor was bluffing, of course, as he really didn’t want to cause the man any harm. Instead, he used his telekinetic abilities to produce an illusion that interfaced directly with the soldier’s nervous system. In an instant, the soldier started to scream as painful boils appeared all over his body and face. The boils grew larger and larger and hissed as if high heat were coursing through the man’s body.

"Enough!" the man screamed. In another moment, the boils and the associated pain were suddenly gone and he slumped back against the wall in relief. "I will tell you whatever you want to know. Please don’t hurt me again."

Just then the door was flung open sending both the seated soldier and Bridor tumbling through the air. Bridor used a burst of energy to propel his body up into the darker recesses of the room. Looking down from a steel girder, Bridor could tell by the placement of the armorless soldier’s body that he was dead. The final two soldiers came running into the room firing their weapons. Bridor formed a telekinetic barrier around the first soldier and the soldier quickly destroyed himself with the power of his own weapon. The second soldier snapped his head towards Bridor as if he could tell what Bridor had done. In another moment, Bridor was yanked towards the floor with a lot more power than the first soldier had been able to muster. Bridor barely stopped his body from slamming into the floor. It appeared as if he had found the squad leader. Burst after burst of energy exploded from the last remaining solder’s weapon. Augmented by telekinetic energy, the beams zeroed in on Bridor. Unable to fling the power beams back against his tormenter, Bridor instead used his energy to deflect them to either side of him. Seconds turned into minutes and the ordeal continued to get worse. Bridor began to sweat with the mental effort he was exerting. There were several blood soaked streaks on his arms, legs and face from power beams that had barely missed their target. The blood-red trooper seemed to understand that without the weapon, he didn’t stand a chance against Bridor and he was determined to give no reprieve of the onslaught.

Suddenly, there was a flash of light and Bridor was momentarily blinded. When he could see again, the room was empty and the door was back in place. Then everything started to fade to black. When Bridor became aware of his surroundings again, he found that he was in his bed and that it was time to get up. Had it all just been a dream? Bridor was unsure if it had really happened or not.

The Arellian Academy

A small spaceship orbited a tiny planet named Vitucia. On the side of the craft were the words, "Esperance - 2001." Inside the small deep space explorer, nothing moved. This abandoned ship had been circling the planet now for four hundred years. Down below on the planet’s surface, the descendents of the people that came from Earth so long ago multiplied in relative peace. Other than the Arellians, most were unaware of their ties to another planet as well as the technology that had allowed their forebears to make the long journey through space. One name stood out among all of the peoples – Brendan. He was the leader of the people that came from Earth. There were innumerable stories and legends about this great man.

On the Arellian Island lived a race of people that had developed a talent for using telekinesis and telepathy. Over the years they had become more and more adept at using their minds to control matter and energy. Around a hundred years after the pilgrims first settled here, they had built an academy to pass on their learning. Made from an alloy mixed with a bit of nanotechnology, the shiny dark blue academy still looked almost new three hundred years later. The pyramid shaped academy was perched a mile off the ground on the right hand of a huge sitting statue. The statue’s lap was used as a courtyard for playing games and for physical education. There appeared to be no apparent means to ascend to the academy. Around two miles from the academy was a small city that looked like a futuristic Egyptian city. Bridor lived near the outskirts of this city. He was tall with dark curly hair and an olive complexion. Quickly forgetting the apparent nightmare from the night before, Bridor went to the house next to his and knocked at the door. Shortly, the door opened and his friend, Cameron, came out and joined him.

"Ready for another day at the academy?" Cameron asked as they walked towards the academy.

"I guess. It seems as if it is taking forever to finish."

"You should talk – you are only eighteen and already graduating. I’m only a year younger than you and I still have about five years left..."

"I don’t know how you can get out of bed in the morning," Bridor said satirically.

"Unlike you, I enjoy going to the academy. We have a lot of fun. Besides, I’m not looking forward to having to work after we finish – so I’m enjoying myself while I can." Cameron retorted. "Hold my bag, I want to practice some moves."

Bridor took Cameron’s bag and watched as Cameron did five somersaults in the air without touching the ground. He landed about five hundred feet away and beckoned for Bridor to join him. After telekinetically moving Cameron’s books into Cameron’s arms, Bridor propelled his body two hundred feet in the air. He spread his arms as if he were a bird and floated down to join Cameron.

"Showoff." Cameron teased him. "I think you frightened some of the birds with that maneuver."

"I’m just trying to match your skill. You need to show me how you do those somersaults some day."

"There is nothing I can do that you cannot do already. Have you given any thought as to what your quest will be after graduation?" Cameron referred to the practice of giving the fresh graduate a task to complete to showcase the culmination of years of education.

"I have no idea. There has been four hundred years of peace, so everything has become rather boring. I have read tales of adventure in books and I would love to be involved in some battle where I could make a difference."

"You’ve heard the rumors of a rogue Paragon wreaking havoc on the Mainland?"

"Yes – but they are just rumors – I’m sure there is no truth in any of them."

"It is hard to tell the difference between what is real and what is illusion when you are locked away in an academy your whole life," Cameron said sarcastically.

"We do get an entire month off in the summer," Bridor retorted.

"Have you been anywhere besides Arellia during your time off?"

"No – I was always involved in some sort of extra-curricular activity so that I could graduate early."

"Always looking to the future means you cannot enjoy the present."

"That may be true, but I feel so stifled here – I want to get out and do something meaningful with my life. So I am doing everything to prepare myself for that day. Hopefully something will come up that will allow me to use my abilities."

"I don’t think you actually realize what you are asking for – the planet we came from was plagued with wars."

"That is exactly why I sometimes wish we had never left."

They finally came to the base of the giant statue that housed the academy. Cameron attempted to open the secret entrance. As he was concentrating, he failed to notice that Bridor was also exerting effort.

"Shoids – why won’t the door open for me?" Cameron finally exclaimed.

Just then the door opened as Bridor whooped, "Got you!"

"You snista – I’m going to get back at you..."

"One can only hope." Bridor said cheekily.

Cameron threw a sludgy ball of mud towards Bridor, but it disintegrated inches away from his face.

"Is that all you’ve got?"

"No – but I didn’t want to hurt you," Cameron replied.

"I’ve got to run – have to get to Alchemy early so I can talk to the professor. See you at lunch," Bridor said as he dashed away.

In mid-morning, Bridor attended his vehicle construction class. The professor opened the class by pulling a tiny spaceship out of a pocket.

"Up until now, we have only discussed the construction of flight-worthy vehicles. Today we are going to talk about miniaturization. Some of you would mistake this tiny craft to be just a toy. However, this is my vehicle that I use to travel."

The professor activated a small mechanism in the floor with a barely perceptible motion of his pinky. The outer wall rotated up and a round disc beneath the floor rotated outward to become a landing platform. The professor released his ship and it zoomed through the air weaving a path in between several students. As the ship reached the platform, it enlarged until it was a suitable size to house the tall and lanky professor. The professor walked outside to the right side of the craft. He reached out with his hand and pushed right through the metal leaving a disjointed arm. He removed his hand revealing no change to the structural integrity of the vehicle.

"Atoms, as you are already very aware of, are mostly made up of a lot of space. There are electrons zooming around that give the appearance of something being solid. If you could control the electrons in your body to align with the electrons of the ship, you will find that you can pass through the walls with ease. But we are talking about miniaturization. Because of the great deal of space in common materials such as metal, we can compact the electrons a thousand percent to reduce the size of practically anything in nature."

At that point, Wildeman’s hand shot up and he asked, "Do you have to continue exerting energy to keep the vehicle that small?"

"That is a very good question. It would appear as if you would. However, imagine falling asleep with this vehicle on your chest and waking up (or not waking up at all, for that matter) with a huge vehicle sitting on top of you. In any case, you can instead think of these atoms as tiny computers. You can program them to be a certain size and they will keep the same configuration until given new instructions. On that note, I need to add a warning. If you do happen to fall asleep with it in a dangerous position, be aware that others can alter the size of it without your awareness and this could cause a lot of undue pain."

Snickers were heard from several in the class in reaction to this dry spot of humor. The rest of class was spent practicing the art of miniaturization on the professor’s craft.

At lunch, Bridor found Cameron throwing morsels of food fifty feet into the air.

"What are you doing?"

"Eating," Cameron said as he caught one of the morsels with his mouth.

"Is this for extra credit?"

"No – just for fun."

Cameron stopped throwing food and turned his attention to Bridor. "Are you ready for your final exam tomorrow?"

"I think so – but I’m nervous. I’ve heard rumors that they are going to make it more difficult for me since I am graduating so early..."

"Wow – there really is such a thing as justice. Though, I’m sure you’ll pass with ease – just like everything else you try," Cameron answered with a hint of jealousy. "Just make sure you get plenty of rest tonight – you will need your strength for tomorrow."

"I’m planning on it – I guess that means we aren’t going out tonight."

"Maybe we could go out tomorrow night as a celebration of your new-found freedom."

"We’ll hit the game shack for a rematch."

After finishing their lunch and playing a round of tetherball, Bridor and Cameron returned to their classes. After school, they walked home together. As they parted, Cameron offered, "May God guide your way tomorrow."

"Thanks, Cameron – see you tomorrow night. I’m going to go to the testing ground early so I can be better prepared."

A Secret Meeting

Late that night, a hooded figure headed toward the Arellian temple located in the middle of the Arellian city. Every now and then he would stop to sense the surroundings to make sure he wasn’t being followed. He finally entered the Arellian temple through a secret passageway near the base of one of the black metallic statues that seemingly guarded the pyramidal structure. Deep beneath the temple, a small rectangular room with no other entrance was situated at the end of the long secret tunnel. A solitary figure bathed in shadows was waiting.

The two figures conversed in hushed tones.

"Is he ready?"

"I don’t think anyone could be ready for the burden you propose – I certainly wouldn’t want to do this even knowing that it has to be done."

"I agree – however, we have no choice. I need to know if he is ready."

"He performed admirably last night against four attackers. He also has the personality trait you so desperately need in order to make this scheme work successfully."

"We will not meet again until it is all over."

"So it begins."