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[IC][Story][Arc 1] Time in the Woods
[IC][Story][Arc 1] Time in the Woods
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OOC: Rob's sidestory #1, set before "House Call"


Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
September 25th, 2016
7:55am

Makoto was worried. She'd noticed Misaka-san looking at her, appraising her the way that she would appraise a potential opponent in a martial arts match.

She didn't want to fight her housemate. She had barely finished unpacking her new clothes and kitchenware. And it had barely been a week (in her personal timeline) since Usagi had undone what Galaxia had done to her. She was still tired.

They were all tired.

Maybe the others could suggest something.



8:20am

"... and I don't think I could give you a decent match right now, Misaka-san."

"I can wait," Mikoto replied. "It wouldn't be a good match if you weren't at your best."

Rob hadn't expected this to be the topic of conversation over breakfast, but he wasn't surprised. "Let's not push anybody into a fight that they don't want to take part in."

Makoto noticed Mikoto's expression at Rob's comment. "Oh, we could spar sometime later, but not just now."

Rob raised an eyebrow. "You're sure? I got the feeling that you didn't want to fight."

"Sparring isn't fighting. It's testing yourself against a worthy opponent."

"I can work with that," said Mikoto. "I'd rather have a real fight, though."

Rob shook his head. "I'd rather not need to take either of you to the hospital."

"Why not?"

"Because people aren't supposed to know we have Skills, oneesan."

Rob nodded. "I would have been more diplomatic that Shirai-san, but that's the gist of it. This world is not used to dealing with people who have paranormal or superhuman abilities, and that means the doctors here have no idea how to help anybody in this room other than Rui-chan or myself. Worse, they might think they're curing you of an illness while they take your abilities away."

Makoto sighed. "So we'll have to wait for a while before I'm back to my full strength. It's too bad there isn't a large stand of old trees around here; I could have transformed to Sailor Jupiter and let the wood share its strength with me for a few days."

Rob smiled. "That I can help you with. We're only a few hours' drive from some old-growth boreal forest, and I do own a car."

"Oh?" Makoto looked hopeful, then sighed. "But I can't ask you to leave everyone else here and take just me to the forest."

Rei added, "And I wouldn't let you take Makoto without an escort."

Rob nodded. "A sensible precaution, Hino-san, even though she could easily defeat me in a fair fight. Who else wants to get out of the city for a few days?"

Mii shook her head. "I have to stay here in case the scholarship board calls."

Ami added, "And I have my own scholarship application to be available for."

"Forests don't have wi-fi," was Kazari's comment.

"Or malls," added Minako.

"I'm still too tired to go anywhere right now," Usagi said.

"Somebody needs to protect Usagi while Makoto's away," Rei stated with conviction.

Mikoto frowned. "I'd rather study Canadian history for the high-school placement test."

"If oneesan isn't going, then neither am I," Kuroko quickly added.

Makoto looked at Ruiko, hoping against hope.

Ruiko noticed the look in Makoto's eyes. "Sure, why not? It sounds like fun."

Rob nodded. "All right - one road trip, three people ... how many days?"

Makoto thought for a moment. "If I could stay in the forest for three days, I should be back to normal."

"Five days, then - it'll take over half a day for the trip, each way. Today we go shopping."

Minako grinned. "I like shopping."

"Shopping for warm, comfortable, unflattering, concealing clothing that will protect us from the mosquitoes and black flies."

Minako frowned. "Not that kind of shopping."

"We also need to get camping gear and supplies."

Makoto quickly interrupted Rob. "Oh, we can stay at an inn, if there's one nearby."

"Oh! I thought 'three days' included the two nights in between. If it doesn't, then that makes things easier. We'll still need the comfortable clothing, but we don't need the camping gear. Pack one suitcase each, ladies." Rob thought for a moment. "And we'll have access to a small-town mall and small-town wi-fi."

"That's nice," replied Minako and Kazari, almost in unison and with absolutely no enthusiasm.



Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
September 26th, 2016
8:45am

Ruiko looked annoyed. "You asked us to pack one bag each, but you're bringing four."

"This one's my laptop," replied Rob as he put his second bag into the trunk. "We're going to want to be able to let everybody know we're safe. And this one's my camera gear." After stowing the camera bag, he then lifted the largest of his bags. "And this one is our emergency kit - water, food, spare batteries for the phones, a first-aid kit ..."

Makoto nodded. "Everything we hope we won't need but should take anyway."

"Exactly. And it sits here, where we can get at it quickly in an emergency." Rob checked that all of the luggage was secure, then closed the trunk lid. "Okay, ladies, who gets to see out the front window, and who gets to be chauffeured in the back seat?"

One round of jan-ken-pon later, Makoto sat down in the car's front passenger seat and Ruiko sat down behind her. Rob handed Mii the keys to the office, the mailbox, the common room, and the mechanical room. "If you need me, call."

"It's only one week."

"One week in a building that's still new to you." Rob then handed Mii a sealed envelope. "And that's what you'll need to reach Washuu-chan, just in case something happens to us."

"Why is it sealed?"

Rob grinned. "I know you can read the instructions without opening the envelope, but you'll need the computer memory card that's in there as well. It's sealed so that the contents stay together."

"That makes sense. Don't forget the souvenirs."

"Thanks for reminding me."



Elsewhere
Same Time

It wasn't the Earth that they had visited in the past, but it was remarkably similar.

In order to determine whether this Earth held any surprises, they decided to allow one of their number to proceed - in a relatively out-of-the-way part of the planet, and with full surveillance.



Arnprior, Ontario, Canada
September 26th, 2016
9:55am

"You must have a lot of money."

Rob raised an eyebrow. "What brought that on?" he asked Ruiko.

"Your country, I mean. You have a four-lane freeway all the way out here where there aren't any large cities."

"Oh, that. First, there's a matter of national pride involved - this is the Trans-Canada Highway. Second..." - he pointed to the "lane ends in 500m" sign - "...this is as far as the four-lane road goes. From here until North Bay, the highway is two lanes with the occasional passing lane."



Petawawa, Ontario, Canada
September 26th, 2016
10:50am

"Did we just pass a soldier?" Ruiko looked nervous.

Rob nodded. "If we turn off the highway here, we could visit Canada Forces Base Petawawa. That's a training base for newly-enlisted soldiers."

"I don't like fighting."

"Soldiers do a lot more than just fight, Rui-chan."

"I know. But ..."

Makoto turned her head to look at Ruiko. "Did something happen to you and your friends?"

"I'd rather not talk about it, Kino-san."

Rob hadn't yet seen the Index/Railgun movie, but he'd heard about the plot. "I wasn't planning on stopping here anyway."

Everyone was quiet for a few minutes.

"Ojisan..."

"Yes, Rui-chan?"

"Are we there yet?"



Elsewhere
Same Time

He decided to start some days' travel north of the army base, just to get the lay of the land.

Reading the sign, he wondered what a "Rouyn-Noranda" was. Better to avoid it altogether.



Mattawa, Ontario, Canada
September 26th, 2016
12:10pm

"This is a nice little inn, but it's right on the highway. And there's a railway track right beside the building."

Rob raised an eyebrow as he parked the car, then realized what Makoto was thinking. "Oh, we aren't staying here. This is just a break for lunch and to stretch our legs. We still have a few hours driving ahead of us."

Ruiko looked up from the map. "We're almost at North Bay, and the map says it's much larger than Mattawa. Why stop here for lunch instead of there?"

"Because this is where I always stop. An intercity truck driver recommended this restaurant to me."

"I don't see any place around here for trucks to park."

"There isn't one. And he still comes here for lunch when he comes through Mattawa. That's how good this place is."



North Bay, Ontario, Canada
September 26th, 2016
1:05pm

From the back seat, Makoto noticed an extra lane in the highway, going the other way. "Oh, look! A runaway truck ramp!"

"Yep. It's the only one in the Ontario highway system."

"What kind of people get excited by that?" Ruiko asked.

"It's not that, it just reminds me of the roads in Japan."



North Bay, Ontario, Canada
September 26th, 2016
1:15pm

"Wow. There's this kind of forest this close to a city in Canada."

Rob heard the awe in Makoto's voice. "If you think this is good, wait another quarter-hour."



Temagami, Ontario, Canada
September 26th, 2016
2:20pm

"Are we there yet?"

Rob smiled at Ruiko's question. "Not quite - we've got a bit more than a half-hour to go."

"If this was Japan," Makoto said, "we could have driven from Tokyo to Hiroshima by now."

"I think I already mentioned Canada has a lot of geography."

"I didn't expect this much!"



New Liskeard, Temiskaming Shores, Ontario, Canada
September 26th, 2016
3:05pm

"Here we are!"

"That's our hotel? It doesn't look like much."

"Wait until you see what's behind it."



3:15pm

"Oh, wow."

"That's a lot of water."

"That is Lake Temiskaming - the headwaters of the Ottawa River."

"Can we swim in it?"

"There's a public beach a couple of hundred meters over there," Rob pointed. "But it might be too cold for swimming at this time of year."



4:40pm

"Is there anything else we forgot?" Rob asked, slightly annoyed.

Makoto and Ruiko looked at each other. Makoto spoke first. "We didn't forget anything, Donaldson-san."

"Do you really need a razor for a three-day trip, ojisan?" Ruiko added.

"Yes, I do. I need to look my best for my next stop."

The girls exchanged a glance, then smiled. "Is there somebody special here that you're going to see?" Ruiko asked.

Rob whispered his reply. "My family's grave is here."

The girls stopped smiling. "Let's get you a razor, then," said Makoto, just as quietly.



11:25pm

The girls were talking and giggling in their room, and had progressed to calling each other "Rui-chan" and "Mako-chan."

Rob was fast asleep in his room next door.



New Liskeard, Temiskaming Shores, Ontario, Canada
September 27th, 2016
8:15am

"This looks a lot like the common room in our place back in Ottawa," Makoto said as she sat down with two slices of toast. "It's not as big, though."

Ruiko frowned. "There's no rice."

"It's a Continental breakfast, or what passes for one in Canada. No rice."

"No rice, no life."

"We can get you a pouch of microwave rice at the grocery store, if you want."

Ruiko shuddered. "I'll have toast."

"If you want any juice for later, get it now and put it in your room's fridge," said Rob as he did just that, also grabbing a single-serve yogurt and a plastic spoon. "The breakfast room doesn't stay open all day, and we have to drop off Kino-san at my uncle's property in a half-hour."

Makoto picked up an apple on her way out. "Oh, call me Mako-chan. Everybody else does."



Elsewhere
Same Time

So far, he had not made contact with any of the Earthlings - according to plan. He finished eating a field ration, gathered his garbage, and proceeded to start his day's walk.



New Liskeard, Temiskaming Shores, Ontario, Canada
September 27th, 2016
1:10pm

Makoto took a break from her meditation, noticed the time, and opened her packed lunch. She felt better already, and wasn't having any trouble transforming to Sailor Jupiter and back any more.

As she ate the apple she had picked up earlier, she wondered what Rob and Ruiko were doing.



Haileybury, Temiskaming Shores, Ontario, Canada
September 27th, 2016
1:10pm

Ruiko looked at the card beside a typewriter on display in the museum. "I've heard of the Hardy Boys, but I've never read any of the books."

"You aren't in the target audience, Rui-chan."

"I know, ojisan. I didn't realize the stories were that old - that isn't even an electric typewriter!"



Elsewhere
4:45pm

He finally met his first Earthling, and it was by accident. He hadn't planned on being seen by any of the locals.

The human had stood in shock for a moment, then raised a weapon.

He did what he had to do.

After disposing of the human's body, he donned his cloak and continued on his way.



New Liskeard, Temiskaming Shores, Ontario, Canada
September 27th, 2016
6:30pm

"I'm bored."

"Want to go see whatever movie is playing? The theatre's only a few minutes walk up the road."

"Sure, why not?"

Ruiko looked up from sorting out the souvenirs from the Haileybury Heritage Museum. "There's a theatre in this town?"

"Yep! Only one screen, though, so the choice of movies is limited."



New Liskeard, Temiskaming Shores, Ontario, Canada
September 28th, 2016
8:15am

"No rice."

"Sorry, Rui-chan. You'll just have to make do."



2:20pm

Makoto's meditation was broken by the arrival of a police officer. "I thought I saw somebody up here. Why aren't you in school, miss?"

"Hello, sir. I am a transfer student and waiting for my enrollment to be completed."

"Do you have permission to be up here? This is private property."

Makoto pulled a note from her pocket and handed it to the officer. "Yes, sir."

He read it, then handed the note back. "All right, Miss Kino. I hope you enjoy your visit to New Lis- What was that?" The officer and Makoto both turned to look in the direction that they'd heard a branch break, but saw nothing. "Probably nothing. I hope you enjoy your stay."

* * *

The two humans had heard the snapping of the wood that he'd stepped on, but they didn't investigate further. He waited to see what they would do.

* * *

Makoto waited for two minutes after the officer left, then transformed to Sailor Jupiter.

* * *

A metamorph! This Earth might be a problem.

* * *

She drew upon the source of her powers - the element of wood - and opened her senses to the forest. Yes, there was something there... but where, and what?

The air moved ... and she ducked.

* * *

Somehow, the human had avoided his shot. This one was a challenge. He aimed a second shot - and the weapon jammed.

That was no excuse for not making the kill. He still had the strength of his own body.

* * *

Jupiter looked around, and almost by instinct threw a punch. She connected with ... nothing? Whatever it was, it hurt her hand to punch it, even if she couldn't see it. "I wish Ami was here."

* * *

He backed off. The Earthling could sense him somehow, and was as strong as he was. He picked up a piece of tree and threw it.

* * *

"Supreme Thunder!" The lightning bolt broke the branch into harmless splinters.

She saw a shimmer in the air from where the branch came from.

"Sparkling Wide Pressure!"

* * *

He had no time to dodge - he had to trust his armor could take the incoming blast.

It could.

His cloak could not.

* * *

It faded into view.

She had no idea what she was facing - but it aimed a weapon at her.

She ran.

* * *

Finally, a human was giving him a chase!

He fired and started after her.

* * *

She stumbled as the shot bounced off her right boot, twisting her ankle on the way down.

* * *

He'd wounded the Earthling, but hadn't killed it. He moved in for the kill.

* * *

She looked up, staring into the eyes above the mandibles on that face. "Jupiter Oak Evolution!"

Her opponent fell. Finally.

Something on its arm started beeping.

Worried that it might be a beacon to call more of whatever-these-were, she took careful aim. "Jupiter Oak Evolution!"

Whatever it was, it stopped beeping.



2:36pm

There was another shimmer in the air, just above the body of the thing Makoto had fought. She started her transformation ... to discover when she was Sailor Jupiter that the body was gone and a tanto had been left in its place.

She transformed back to normal, and put the weapon in her lunch box.



5:15pm

Rob pulled up to see Makoto waiting for him. "How did the day go, Mako-chan?"

Makoto was expecting that question, and gave the answer she'd carefully considered. "Just another day for Sailor Jupiter, ojisan."




OOC: Author's Notes

Do you want to make the same drive? Take the route north of Algonquin Park:
http://www.google.ca/maps/dir/2176+Blo ... 869821,7z/

The only runaway truck ramp in the Ontario highway system, and how it works:
http://drunkardswalkforums.yuku.com/sre ... eo-Madness

My thanks to Epsilon for suggesting who Makoto could fight.
--
Rob Kelk

Sticks and stones can break your bones,
But words can break your heart.
- unknown
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[IC][Story][Arc 1] Time in the Woods - by robkelk - 12-20-2016, 06:40 AM

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