(Ha HAH…multiple entendre…)
So, I wanted to wait to post again until I had the official results from my exams. Alas. I am still waiting on those results (although things look good!)
In the meantime, I flip you the B.I.R.D.
This is an early prototype (read: quick sketch I plan on fancy-ing up later) for the Barrier Investigation and Recovery Device, or B.I.R.D.
As I mentioned here, in my novel there is a group of persons called the Homecoming. The Homecoming are young energists, all aged about sixteen or so when the story begins, who were stolen from Atlantis as infants/toddlers and cast across the mortal realm by the Superiors (the bad guys).
The kidnapped children weren’t just left alone to be raised as humans.
Because the Atlantian energists (the good guys) would be able to track the babies down, simply by sensing their magic and then going to collect them, the Superiors snuffed out each child’s Pilot light (the genetic marker that allows an energist to use magic) and then sealed each child’s magic behind a barrier, developed specifically to elude detection. So, if you were to walk past them on the street, you would never know they were meant to be a magic user–you wouldn’t sense either their inherent magic, OR feel their Pilot light.
By engaging in a kidnapping on this scale, the Superiors hoped to destroy all the possibilities and projects of an entire generation of magic users–a generation that, based on parentage, had extraordinary potential.
Obviously, a whole cross-section of powerful Atlantian energist parents, capable of frigging magic, were not going to just throw up their hands in the face of this kidnapping. Instead, they worked together, under the leadership of the Energist Council, to develop a multiform, mechanized search party.
Part one of the search involves relighting the Pilot light in each child, restoring their genetic markers. In order to do this, the Atlantian energists flood the mortal realm with a cleverly disguised-in-plain-sight, easily disseminated mechanism that even the Superiors can’t stop. I won’t give away the mechanism. All you need to know is that once a member of the Homecoming inadvertently activates it, it restores their genetic marker and then sends up a tiny flare of magic that punctures the Superior barrier.
Part two of the search, then, involves tracking those flares with the B.I.R.D. and collecting the Homecoming so that they can reunite with their energist parents and learn to use magic.
The B.I.R.D. functions in two parts: Outposts; Collection Base
Outposts are magical beacons that each cover so many square miles of inhabitable land (still working out the math). Each outpost is set up by a “tracker” energist–an energist who is an expert at locating individual magic users by sensing their unique magic identities. Which means, each outpost is basically an active, mechanically contained “spell” of sorts that senses the flares, collects data on their general locations, and then sends that data back up to the Collection Base.
The Collection Base is a circular room that I imagine looking something like SALT (South African Large Telescope).
Its walls and ceilings are littered with tiny pin-pin prick sized sensors that go off when one of the corresponding outposts has data to transmit. The sensor rockets the data down equally minute threads of energy that surge into the base of the B.I.R.D., through a system of tubes and conductors and steampunky things, and up into the globe at the apex of the device, lighting up the general area of detection.
In comes Matthew Abernathy, Energist Council member and tracking expert.
The device is only honed so far through engineering–it takes the “talented-and-I-know-it” Matthew to make the machine hum. He accepts the transmission, decodes the information, and pinpoints the exact location of the magical flare. He writes down the coordinates and ships the information out to a Recovery Squadron of ready and waiting energists who go and fetch the young magic users from their myriad locations around the world.
Initially, Matthew was doing all the recoveries, too, in case the magic user moved or something before the Squadron could get to them. But fetching a sixteen year old from an established household, convincing their adoptive parents to let them go to some place called Atlantis that’s full of magic, no really it is, and doing so in a respectful and compassionate manner was not Matthew’s strong suit.
Now he only goes for the tricky ones.
Downsides to the B.I.R.D.?
1. Superiors keep trashing the Outposts, and there aren’t enough willing and able energists to go and stand guard at each one.
2. The mechanism that restores the genetic marker, although widespread in its efficacy, does have its limitations. Some Homecoming are stranded without access, and the energists have no way of finding them without a flare.
3. Matthew, as the sole interpreter, can only pinpoint so many children per day…the process is lengthy and tiresome. Engineers are working to hone the machine further so the level of tracker just below Matthew can use the B.I.R.D., too, but so far, no dice.
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Thoughts? Necessary clarifications?