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Snippet #2678312

located in The Wasteland, a part of The Age of Gifted, one of the many universes on RPG.

The Wasteland

An apocalyptic landscape, most of it is covered by ash, earning the nickname "The Ashland"


Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rick Ronan
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  1. Saff is supposed to be the lady with the cell phone that Rick sees.

    2016-06-10 07:25:20 by darkshadowolf99
  2. Saff dashed off into an alley before making the call though?

    2016-06-11 05:22:44 by ianna_334
  3. After I wrote the post I had a feeling that Saff wouldn't be visible to Rick. I'm glad I left it anonymous.

    2016-06-12 14:13:33 by Anonymous
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Rick’s stomach growled earning it another swift punch. A young lady nearby noticed the commotion and spectacle but stayed quiet. Rick noticed her but didn’t pay her much mind. He looked back at the laptop in front of him, black and slender. The machine was closed much like all the other ones that weren’t in use. The ones that were in use were open.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw a blue screen, Rick turned toward it seeing the open laptop of a young man getting ready to play some internet games. Rick looked back at the machine before him then back at the young man’s machine. He looked at the young lady’s machine as well before looking back at his again. He lifted the front to an upright position revealing the true nature of the machine to him.

‘It’s a computer, a smaller version of those large desktop computers back at the gifted boarding school,’ he thought to himself. Rick’s memory of sitting inside the boarding school’s computer lab learning how to write a term paper cracked, splintering into many fragments. That memory was replaced by a different memory, one where he saw Erubesco scientists typing away on nearby computers while other scientists stuck needles of experimental liquid into him. That memory was replaced by one of him standing outside an electronics store. Rick was looking through the window to see one of the store employees demonstrating how a computer works to a customer.

The splintered memories caused pain to swell up in his head; Rick winced and shut his eyes as he tried to push all three memories to the back of his mind. When his eyes opened moments later his hands were on his face and his breathing was erratic. He dropped his hands to his lap revealing the young lady staring at him with a concerned yet puzzled look. Rick looked away from her deciding to focus on the open computer in front of him.

‘Which memories are real and which are fake?’ he asked himself. Rick sighed knowing that there was no real way to know.

His breathing returned to normal and he turned on the computer, it took a few minutes for the screen to completely load and it took another few minutes for Rick to remember which icon on the desktop accesses the internet. With that taken care of Rick got started on his first inquiry.

/What is electricity?/ He typed into the search engine. A dozen websites popped up offering to lower his electricity bill. Rick scrolled down to a simple dictionary definition that basically described electricity as energy that specifically comes from charged particles.

As Rick continued his research he learned about the building blocks of atoms and how atoms become positively and negatively charged. He learned how electrical currents work and how static electricity works. He also learned how draining it is to learn something new after nearly starving to death.

His brain started shutting down, his eyelids weakened, his upper body slumped but his hunger pains kept him awake. Clutching one hand on his stomach, Rick used his free hand to pantomime what he was learning while mouthing what was written on the computer. Rick has an unorthodox way of learning. Every once in awhile he tried to keep himself from wincing in pain.

“Excuse me, are you okay?” a gentle feminine voice asked Rick.

Rick looked up to see the young lady who was just across from him, is now standing right next to him.

“I’m fine,” Rick assured her.

“Are you sure? Because I couldn’t help but notice how much pain you’re in and the odd hand waving. Honestly I’m worried about you.” She held firm to her suspicion.

“I’M-” Rick cut himself off after seeing the genuine concern in her eyes. Rick’s voice softened as he continued, “I’m…just…really hungry. That’s all. Thank you for your concern.” Rick went back to staring at his computer while the lady hurried back to her seat. He thought that was the end of it but she returned not a minute later with her backpack in hand. The pack was opened with one of her hands rifling through it.

“I don’t have much to offer but I should still have ah ha! Do you like nuts?” she asked Rick.

An unnecessary question for Rick, as a person who ate anything to survive the taste of food was a luxury he couldn’t afford.

“Food is food,” he responded.

“Great. I have cashews, peanuts, a partially smashed nutria grain bar, a granola bar, and some jerky I hope this okay.” The lady placed each item of food on the table by Rick’s left hand. Before Rick could answer the young man who was playing internet games was suddenly next to him speaking.

“Seriously dude, take my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and this orange, oh and you nearly passed out several times so you’ll need this energy drink if you’re going to finish studying.” Now there was a pile of food by Rick’s right hand.

The young man continued speaking but this time to the young lady, “I’m glad you spoke up, I was too embarrassed to ask if he was alright.”

“I’m glad too, I almost didn’t but-”

Rick didn’t hear the rest of the conversation; he was engrossed by the display of kindness surrounding his hands. In the background, the young man’s game ended due to his lack of playing. Rick picked up the jerky, opened it, and started devouring it. All the while he ate with his eyes watering.

“Dude, are you crying?”

Rick put his hand to his face feeling for tears. “I guess not,” he said simply already finished the jerky and now working on the cashews.

“What’s wrong? Did we say something to upset you?” the lady asked.

“No. I’m sorry…I just…I’m not used to being treated…with such kindness, especially for no reason…thank you both so much,” Rick thanked them now tearing into the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Both the guy and girl smiled brightly. “No problem dude,” he said. “Of course, take care of yourself okay?” she implored.

Rick nodded and the two headed back to their seats. Rick took a deep cleansing breath regaining his composure.

“Ah man, oh well, I guess I have to start over,” the young man said restarting his game.

As Rick ate, his stomach calmed and the pain subsided. His energy was returning and he no longer felt sleepy.

‘Everyone in this town has been so nice to me. Even that lady behind the counter at the store was nice to me until I stole that food. The guy I knocked over wasn’t nice to me but at least he was standing up for that woman and the store in general. I can’t believe how wonderful these people are and they live under the Erubescan rule,’ he thought to himself.

Rick changed topics to lightning while he continued to eat the remaining food and drink the energy drink. He was awake thanks to the food and amped up thanks to the energy drink. Rick was going through information at twice the pace as before.

‘Okay, if I understand this correctly, lightning forms in cumulous clouds. When rain, snow, or ice particles bounce off each other enough to cause an imbalance in positive or negative charges inside the cloud, then nature will try to correct itself by using lightning,’ he thought to himself paraphrasing what he learned.

He continued to think, ‘Each lightning strike is different and has several different ways it can work but a common way lightning will strike is through the cloud to ground method. In that method the clouds get overly negatively charged and the ground gets overly positively charged. The air between the clouds and the ground create a buffer that keeps the charges from reaching each other. But eventually the pressure between the charges becomes too much and the charges link up to create the electricity known as lightning. Now what allows the charges to link up?’

Rick reread a specific part of the internet article again. ‘In the cloud to ground lightning strike something called a stepped latter, no, a stepped leader forms from the clouds and goes down to the ground. The ground creates a streamer…a streamer is the same thing as a stepped leader…what’s the difference? Oh, okay. So leaders go down from the clouds looking for positive charges while streamers start from the ground and go up looking for negative charges. So they are doing similar things but going in opposite directions and they are searching for the opposite charges. Got it, but I still feel like I’m missing something. Channels, they mention channels a few times, what are channels? Channels are holes in the air that allows either the stepped leaders to transport negative charges down or streamers to transport positive charges up. When stepped leaders and streamers meet the result is lightning. Lighting neutralizes the extra charges until it builds up again starting the process over. Cool, I think I got it. Wait what’s this? St. Elmo’s fire? Apparently that’s a bluish or greenish glow that forms around things coming out of the ground, which is caused by the buildup of positive charges. If something has St. Elmo’s Fire wouldn’t it be struck by lightning since stepped leaders are searching for positive charges? Oh, it says that if you see St. Elmo’s Fire then lightning will probably strike soon.’

Rick closed out of the internet and shut down the computer. ‘I don’t think my brain can take anymore research for today. But this was a good first step, I have a lot to think about,’ he thought to himself. He got up and threw away the trash from the devoured food and stuffed the nutria grain bar and the granola bar in his pockets for later, the rest was eaten. He headed for the door but stopped by the glass door. There was a lady outside talking on a cell phone, Rick got the feeling that she was stressed about something but he dismissed it as his imagination. He looked back at the two people at the computers.

“Thanks again you two, I really appreciate what you did for me. You have no idea how much you helped me.”

The two gave a generic response. Rick’s eyes caught the other machines with goggle like items attached to metal boxes.

‘I wish I knew what those were.’ He then remembered that business guy named Andrew and the lesson he taught him.

“Hey, how do those things work?” he asked less awkwardly than he expected. The young man launched into an overly complicated explanation of the science behind the virtual reality machine all of which went completely over Rick’s head.

“Can you explain it simpler than that?”

The lady answered this time, “Basically just put the visor around your head and over your eyes. Then think about the topic you want to learn about and the machine does the rest.”

“Really? That’s awesome.”

The lady smiled, “Yes, I guess it is…you’re not from around here are you?”

“No, not at all.”