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Sean Cassidy

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Sean Cassidy last won the day on November 11

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  1. Sean stepped out of the stairwell as eagerly as Jeane had, but finding a lack of victims didn't leave her dejected like it had the blonde near-giant. She frowned seeing Kia move to the elevator doors. Unless she had delayed for some reason or if it was the slowest elevator in existence, Lilly should have gotten down here at least as quickly as they had, and almost certainly earlier. "Kia, if it sounds like Lilly needs help, give a shout out and we'll see what we can do," Sean said. "One of these terminals might handle elevator control. We'll give her a few, and if nothing, a pair of us will go back up, while a pair stays down here, in case the elevator opens." While Abel went to a terminal immediately, Sean walked around the underground control room, perusing various meters and gauges. She eyed the huge doors to the reactor, curious to see what design it was. She sniffed the air - it was slightly cool, but there was no musty scent or scent of rot. It didn't smell much of anything really, maybe the slightest trace of ozone. She found shelves full of binders. Pulling one out at random, she found them full of schematics as well as engineering and scientific hypotheses, reports, and articles. She grabbed several more, tucking them under her arm. Sean circled around back to Abel just as he called out to her. She unslung the pack from her back and plopped it onto the circular table. She pulled off her impromptu hat and tossed it on top of the backpack then walked up behind Abel. She could remember being hardly an inch shorter than he was, she could remember being taller, but she unconsciously rose up on the balls of her feet to look at the terminal over Abel's shoulder. "We can look at it all if we end up having the time and need," she countered. "For now, we'll need to skim to find the pertinent information we want." She pursed her lips as she noted the date of the final entry. "System might have been put on stand by or something. How 'bout you start from '73 and work backwards and maybe find out what happened to the people and the project? Also, let's see if we can query the system for these numbers." She rattled off the numbers stenciled onto their respective pods. "See if that brings up anything." Sean pulled out the chair for the terminal next to Abel's, spun it around and straddled it - without the considerable assets she could remember having in other incarnations, it was as comfortable as when she had been a boy or man. She planted the binders she'd taken off to the side. "I'll look for the first entries and work up, looking for the original purpose of the project, and possibly where this inconsistent tech came from." If we're still now in some manner of simulation... Jeane had been circling the place with restless energy, not finding any enemies or someone to blame, nor weapons or items that could directly aid them in immediate survival, but lots of printouts of things she didn't understand. Until she came across something she did understand, though she hadn't really expected to find them here. Then she reflected on the supposed time the apocalypse had struck and admitted she didn't know what else she'd expect. "Here," the big blonde growled, dropping a stack of professional quality video tape reels on one of her passes. "Maybe these can tell you what happened here or what the fuckers went." It was clear Jeaned was more interest in the latter than the former. Sean arched a brow at the tapes, ran a hand over her head - seeming disgruntled as is slid over smooth scalp rather than hair - then looked around at the area. "Maybe it will at that." She smirked wryly. "It would certainly be convenient. Abel, start going through entries. I'm gonna look for something to play these tapes and get them set up." She nodded up at Jeane. "If nothing else, the rest of you can watch them while I help Abel go through the entries on the computer." Her turquoise eyes went to Kia. "How's Lilly, Kia? Anything?"
  2. From the corner of her eye, Sean noticed Kia clasping hands with Abel and she moved up swiftly almost in line with Jeane, though of to the side. She wasn't alone, true, but Kia and Abel had each other. Who did she have? She had memories of parents, sisters, brothers, lovers. Some showed some familiarity through multiple... iterations, but the only constant had been Sara, in all her incarnations. And that constant had been torn from her. She sighed with melancholy as she studied the ruined campus. A school for Keys had been Abel's focus, not hers, though she had aided him in it. Her goals had tended towards uplifting everyone, Key and Deadbolt alike, so that Keys alone wouldn't dictate the fate of Humanity. Still, Abel's had been a noble goal and she could understand the hurt in seeing a dream turned to a different purpose. In truth, it seemed that their dreams - if in fact of the lives they remembered were but dreams - had been taken from them, used for the purposes of others. It wouldn't be Chicago Pile-1 they would find in there, especially if it was still providing power. Sean felt it would a SLAM-K or SLAM-Q reactor that she had designed, of a variation there of. What other things would they find in this broken world taken from the mirror lives they could remember? "If there's power still running, seems likely there'd be at least some people around, taking advantage of it," Sean answered Kia without looking back, her clear voice distant. "Whether they were involved in the project - or descended from those who were - or they are people who've come around since this world went to shit, who knows?" She gave Lilly a nod. "There's definitely survivors somewhere." She hitched up her pack. "Let's go see if there are any here, along with any answers." Oddly - she thought it was odd - but she didn't hate the ones that had presumably entombed them in those capsules and turned their thoughts and dreams into processing power. She didn't feel any particular animosity, though she hardly felt any affection for them either. She just wanted to know the purpose, the why, and how all those in the capsules had been selected. Sean arched a brow at the girl standing nearly a foot and half taller than her as they started forward. "Don't worry about me, Jeane. I'm a lot more dangerous than I look."
  3. Trudging along the train tracks, a melancholy smile on her lips as she mused on one of her lives more than her surroundings, Sean gave a start when Lilly mentioned the horse tracks and being watched. She frowned in annoyance. Once, she had always known when she was being watched, knew exactly what they were looking at and where they were. Now, if she felt someone or someones watching them, Sean couldn't tell if it was gut instinct or perceiving subconscious cues, or if it was because Lilly had mentioned it. She pursed her lips as she scanned more distant ridge lines, rises, and heights, looking for watchers limned by the sky behind them, but all the dust in the air made it hard to make out. Sean walked over to Lilly, giving the tracks a cursory glance. While she knew how to survive in the wild, her skill at following others were focused in other directions. She worried at an underlip for a moment. "How much ground do you think a horse could cover in half an hour?" Sean asked Lilly. "Well, by the size of the tracks I am assuming they are average size horses. So then by the spacing of the tracks I would say it was a pretty easy walk. At that rate, in 30 minutes they could have covered maybe two miles. Which could explain the fact that we do not see them, except for the unshakable feeling that I, at least, have had that we're being watched." she suggested. Something about the tracks seemed to catch Lilly's eye though and she crouched down once again, examining the tracks close, putting a finger vertically in several tracks of each set. "Hmm... I would say that they are all bearing loads too. The trailing horse is carrying the heaviest load. I'd say 200 pounds, give or take 20 or 25 or so. The other two though..." she said, her voice trailing off as she checked the tracks again. "They are a little odd. They have a load of a 100, maybe 120 pounds. That's a light rider. Kids, maybe, or a young woman. Hmm..." she explained. "So, about the size of me and Kia, if they are traveling lights," Sean commented. Lilly considered for a moment, then nodded her agreement. The thought of them carrying loads made her curious about the droppings again. She examined them once more, using a large rock to break some open and examine the insides, looking for tell tale signs of parasites and other conditions as well as their diet. "By the looks of this, I'd say that these are healthy, domesticated horses that have been feed hay and oats. So somebody is taking good care of them and probably growing them food..." she said as she lifted her head and looked around the a desolate, gray terrain, "...somewhere." "At a guess, I'd say the heavier horse might be a pack horse, carrying most of their supplies and whatever the riders might have scavenged," Sean hypothesized. "Whatever apocalypse hit this world, it could have made the cities dangerous places and people scattered back to the rural areas. But they might return to scavenge when they can." She gave a cute, wry snort. "Very Fallout. I agree with Jeane and Abel. Let's stay on the main quest to find the computer rather than get distracted by side quests. But yeah, definitely keep our hands near our weapons. And keep our eyes out for more tracks. We might need to follow them back to what passes for civilization here."
  4. The world was in shades of grey where her swirling memories were saturated with colour. The soft wind was cold on her scalp and cheeks. Sean dug out one of the extra jumpsuits from her pack. Testing its stretch, she cut off one of the legs of a jumpsuit, then cut off a wide band. She pulled it over her head, and it fit well enough, covering part of her ears like a too wide headband, the extra material on top flopping over. She took it off, made a a few cuts and slits with the k-bar, and after some pulling and tying, she put her 'hat' back on. It looked stupid, like a mangled beanie, but it worked well enough. Sean took a deep breath as she watched the grey waves of lake Michigan lap against the shore with a strange flatness. The air smelled flat too, no sense of life too it, nor even the smell of exhaust or garbage, city smells. She turned back and studied the ruins of Chicago, looking for movement, lights, something to indicate life, as Lilly made her assertions and suggestions. "I don't disagree with things being... inconsistent," Sean said, even her melodious voice sounding somewhat flat out in the desolation. "The tech back in there..." She nodded back towards the doorway in the hill they had come from. "With it, with that... I wouldn't discount the Fermi reactor - or a version of it - running whatever we were part of. Lilly, the reactor wasn't just built at the University, the reactors and the University of Chicago were one of the sites for Government Research on the Manhattan Project. A government slash military run project, not mere college phd projects." The slender girl shrugged a shoulder. "If I was running things, sure, I'd give this place it's own power supply. But maybe they didn't have the funding for another reactor, or the space down there, or thought it unnecessary, or maybe even dangerous. I do know thinking of this as just another 'simulation' is a dangerous way of going about it. It would be better to just think of it as real. If we can't distinguish the difference, then for all intents and purposes, it is real. As for your big door..." Sean raised an arm and pointed at the hill to the left of the small door they had exited from, glancing from Lilly to Jeane. "It's right there, buried from the hill slumping or on purpose at some point. Unless you think those tracks that lead to the big doors drop down at a seriously steep angle right on the other side. I bet..." Without waiting to say what she bet, Sean began walking briskly away from the hill. Just a few dozen yards away, she found what she suspected, breaking though the dirt, dark with grit and disuse, but unmistakable. "Train tracks," she called out. "Leading towards the city." Sean walked back to the group at a more sedate pace. "Train tracks back to the city, to the campus even, for all we know. Could be reasons to build off site. More remote, so less eyes, curious university eyes. Or they didn't have a place secret enough situate the project, or couldn't built a place like this there without raising more questions on site. Regardless, I think we'll find more answers there than we will here playing with the phones. We certainly won't find less." Her jaw set with stubbornness. "So I'm going instead sitting here and building base camp. We apparently have waited for over a hundred and fifty years. I'm done with fucking waiting." She nodded at Lilly's pack which held one of the water condensers. "If the condensers are anything like the ones I designed, it should make perfectly clean, potable water. If something gets through the condensing process, I don't think boiling the water will deal with it any better. Everything you want to look for, we can look for on the way, Lilly." Sean got ready to set out, with or without anyone else, taking stock of what she had with her in her own pack, and glanced over at Abel. "Without continual maintenance, you'd be surprised how quickly infrastructure can decay." She gave the bleak sky a dismal look, one part slightly brighter than the rest that might have indicated the sun. "I have a few guesses on how this could have happened, but they are only guesses at this point."
  5. "Hmm, there was that Arctic base we hid out in for a bit," Sean commented dryly as she looked around. "But with the limited power out-put, it doesn't feel nearly cold enough for that." She snorted a cute, bitterly amused laugh. "I'll vote for Groom Lake or Cheyenne Mountain." Sean had been largely silent and subdued as they trekked through the tunnel. She'd always had good recall and will the onslaught of memories swirling up in her mind, memories of other times, other selves were growing into sharper and more extensive focus. In the Key Frame, with her unlocking, she had known how to do many things, had simply known things, without having the context of when and how she had learned all those many skills. The capsules and plethora of scenes and memories she now experience suggested where those skills and talents had come from. She'd been an Olympic gymnast, scoring straight 10s, winning gold to Nadia Comaneci's silver. He'd been a soldier and UFC champion. She'd been a sensual lounge singer and an acclaimed actress. The pilot and captain of an independent freighter starship, and a survey specialist investigating new worlds for potential colonization. A doctor, a Nobel winning scientist, and the undisputed leader in the video game industry, revolutionizing it. An architect, and a thief. So many lives she had lived, and she was remembering more and more of them. Some felt more real than the others, though none had the tactile immediacy of where she was now, underground in some complex, as they tried to find their way out and see the sky. Perhaps for the first time with their actual eyes. "Guys, not sure if is an invasion of privacy - but I feel like we've been friends - and sometimes rivals - through many... iterations. But what do you remember, are remembering?"
  6. "I've an idea or two," Sean admitted as she geared up, settling the revolver on her slim hips, balancing it with the k-bar on the other side. The jumpsuit and boots fit surprisingly well - the jumpsuits and bodysuits seemed made to go together, the textured surface of the former matching the surface of the latter, so their was no slippage. Using one of the extra jumpsuits, Sean made herself an improvised satchel by simply tying the sleeves and legs together and slinging it over her shoulder, to help carry her share of the supplies. Shifting to settle and evenly distribute the weight, Sean was keeping her distance from Jeane, still mutely furious with the accusation that this was all her fault. Jeane lamented the lost of their powers, of Keys, regardless if they really had had them, or if Keys had really existed. She had ladled blame on Sara too, though Sean strongly suspected Sara - or rather, her remains - moldered in one of the capsules. Her memories of her parents were far from consistent, and while she recognized them as her (or his) parents, they weren't the same people. Sara on the other hand, no matter how different she looked, Sean knew it was still her. And now she was gone. Unless this just another level of the simulation or dream state or whatever it was... No! That way lies madness. You'd grow reckless, dangerous, always questioning what's real. Don't mention it. Sean nodded at the grates on the ground and the terminal, cursor blinking as numbers and letters scrolled by on the monitor. "We should be able to follow the right cable bundle at least part of the ways. Further, we might be able to use the compass. Magnetic compasses are affected by electromagnetic fields, which electricity through wires emit. If there's enough power flowing and they didn't insulate the wires well enough, we might be able to track the cable to the other terminal by the distorted readings of the compass." Sean smiled crookedly and shrugged. "If that fails, then it's some trial and error. Thankfully, we have some supplies to last us a little while at least." She frowned pensively. "There's another question we have to consider... What woke us up and why now? Something inside the... the system, something we did? Or something outside it?" She nodded back towards the capsules. "For the most part, none of the capsules look like they opened at the same time. Last thing I 'remember' is activating the Exodus system. Did that disrupt our... operating system, for lack of better term, or did the operators find the answer to a question they posed or otherwise did this system accomplish what it ultimately designed for? Was our awakening delayed, either on purpose or accidentally? Okay, that was more than one question, but they are all related." Her frown deepened as she continued considering the capsules. Did she want to know, or not... Curiosity won, even if it would hurt. "Guys, give me a few minutes. I have to check something out." Sean moved between the capsules on light feet, often only the top of her bald head seen above the capsules as she looked for something. She made a point of looking at every serial number, committing it to memory, before moving on. At one capsule, one that the others believe was next to hers, Sean paused for a moment. She took a deep breath, the opened the unsealed capsule wider. Skin was shriveled to the skull, the brittle hair colourless. The shape of the skull indicated the corpse had been female, teeth and marking suggesting she'd been roughly her own age. It could have been her. She might not never know, but she took special note of the serial number on the capsule. The other terminal might be able to put names to numbers. She bowed her head, then closed the capsule as much as she could - it was all she could do. She walked back to the others, a new tightness about her eyes. "Everyone in the capsules, at an educated guess, they were all about our age." There was a minutest catch in her voice, one that would only have been caught if one were listening for it. "And none of the capsules were empty. Now, I'm ready to go."
  7. Sean barely muttered an assent so focused was she on the computer terminal, trying to figure out the interface and programming architecture. "Pants! Look for clothing too," she added quickly as Kia began to move off. "Boots. And anything that can hold water, in case we have to scavenge for it." She tried to get back to the frustrating computer, but her teeth began to grind as she heard Kia and Abel poking about and listened to Lilly urging caution and to wait on her with what she could find out and Jeane wanting to go, go, go. And as much as she was trying to stay on task, her mind kept going on tangents on the slightest urging, bringing up new memories. Her brow furrowed. A silver haired stripper in what seemed a retro Las Vegas? Really? And her main man was really a woman, a redheaded Sara almost as tall as Jeane, but much broader across the shoulders and more muscular than Lilly, tattooed and dressed in biker leathers. Sean shook her head, grunted, rubbed at her eyes with balled fists, then turned away from the terminal. "Okay, look. Normally, I'd totally agree with you Lilly, but nothing about this is normal. I appreciate that you want to wait and see what I can learn from the computer, but it's going to take me a few hours - I hope it's only a few hours - to get to the point where I can query this thing and hopefully start getting answers. It's pre-DOS, and while I've read up on FORTRAN, this isn't that either." I used to be the greatest computer hardware and software engineer the world had ever seen. I can also remember just a few years ago believing a computer was just a person good at math. "Also, whatever I can learn will pertain just to this facility in all likelihood, not what's outside it. It's a closed system. Look around, do you notice anything missing?" Sean gave the others only a moment to consider. "There's no phones. And as bonkers as this tech is, it's all hardwired and I don't think this place is wi-fi or bluetooth enabled. All this, all of it..." she gestured around at the pods and computer stacks and spooling tape,"... is a single computer. Hell! I can't be certain, but I don't even think this place has any outside connections to remote power or communication grids. It would explain why there's still power - intermittent though it is - while the place has otherwise been forgotten. Abandoned. And that guy." She nodded in the direction of the fellow Jeane had found. "From what I can tell, we've been here for years. Maybe... maybe decades. Anyone or anything that was trying to get in here is long gone or long dead. The computer is a closed system and so is this facility, I think. It's... it's like a Vault from the Fallout series. Minus the radical social engineering experiments hopefully." Sean eyed the capsules doubtfully, then went to ran a hand through hair she didn't have, looking disgruntled when her hand slid across her smooth scalp. She did have a head for the look - if she didn't have the incredible curves the Irregulars had memories of her having - she was still very pretty. "So, we still need answers, yes, but we're not going to find them all in here." She rapped the top of the terminal with her knuckles. "And with all these memories already clamoring for my attention, I don't need you guys hovering and waiting to see if I've 'found anything yet.' This shit is weird enough as is, stuff isn't..." Sean shook her head trying to clear as she settled back in front of the terminal. "So go explore some., Lilly and Jeane, Abel and Kia, or all in a group, see what you guys can find out while I do the same. If nothing else, if there is a way out. I promise, I'll be safe. I'm a black belt of various degrees in eighteen martial arts - no wait, nineteen, just remembered another I practiced for, uh, over fifty years it seems - and have a gun. Or better yet, you guys take the gun, and leave me a shiv. I'll be able to handle any zombies or ghouls. Or scream real loud if I can't."
  8. Sean let out a long, low whistle as she gave one of the open capsules - the one she had exited in fact - a closer inspection. It looked like something from ten or twenty years ago, even like fifty or sixty - depending on which slew of memories she was referencing from - but it was only an illusion. The thing was top rate tech, as advanced as anything she had designed or could remember encountering. Looking at where she had been resting in the capsule, there were faint nodules that she realized attached to tiny, nearly invisible sockets in her suit when she looked at it closely. She'd taken the sockets simply for texture at first. She frowned, then gave her suit a tentative stretch, then a more vigorous one. Firm and snug as the suit was, when pressure was applied, the suit proved itself to have tremendous stretch. She eyed Kia, then Jeane. Seemed like they truly were one-size fits all. The capsules themselves were composed of two chambers, an outer shell and inner chamber. The inner chamber looked like it would fit an occupant closely, but manipulating the edges, Sean found out the chamber could expand... and retract, in each dimension. Playing with it, it seemed like the inner chamber of the capsule could accommodate anything from a near infant to someone as big or bigger than Jeane. Judging by the residue on her and the dry crust inside the capsule, when operational, the capsules were filled with some sort of liquid. Other than the gunk left on her, on them, there was no liquid left. She looked in and around the capsule, looking for a reservoir or tubing for the liquid, but didn't find anything. She did find wires under grimy grating that connected the capsules to the computer stacks around the room, two stacks per capsule. The inside of the capsules, especially the upper part and around where the head would rest were extremely sophisticated scanning devices, measuring all manner of biometrics judging from the few indicators she could decipher. On the outside, under an etched serial number was a covered panel with a slot. Fiddling with the deep buttons under the panel, it looked like it was meant to issue a readout.... on something like a punch card? What retro-futuristic nonsense was this? Power to her capsule was inconsistent, but with some grunts, a few kicks with the bottom of her feet, and some very careful prodding with some leftovers from Jeane's makeshift armory, she managed to get it running long enough to get the panel to print off a punch card. It sounded like an angry, ancient dot matrix printer. Sean made a sound suspiciously like a squeal of victory. When the others turned to look at her, she just smiled. "Give me a minute or five, I might have something." Her grin turned uncomfortable. "What I can tell you right now though is... I think we may have been in these capsules longer than we think. Uh, or think that we think. Whatever. They look like they are meant to support someone from almost infancy to adulthood, nearly without interruption. Looks like there might be another room below this one too." Sean went to each of the capsules her friends had come from, memorizing their serial numbers and with curses and finagling, managed to get a punch card from each of them. "Anything there that looks like it reads punch cards?" Sean called back, heading towards the door Abel and Kia had gone through. "You know, for when computers were the size of... harrumph! The size of these?" Passing by Lilly, Sean waved the punch cards. "Not sure about rebuilding humanity, but this had to have been some sort of Big Idea project that either had its funding pulled, or something happened to the people running it, or it was just... forgotten. And I have the feeling this project, whatever it was for whatever reason, was on the down-low. Hopefully these will tell us something, it there's something that can read them and has power to work."
  9. "I do," Sean claimed, her clear, melodious voice half an octave higher than she thought it should have been, holding out her hand for the proffered pistol. Her lips lifted in a half smile. "I'll see what I can scrounge up in trade." Memories tumbled through her head like jumbled puzzle pieces from different puzzles all trying to fit together. She could remember never having touched a gun before. She remembered being a super-woman and peerless markswoman. He was a young man, just joining the military along with versions of those with her now. She grew up a farm girl, friends with Lilly, Jeane, Kia, and Sara, learning to shoot almost as soon as she could walk and ride. It was disorienting... and it was not. Just pieces of her life, her lives, what it had been, what it was, what it could be, or could have been. Sean turned from craning her neck to look up at Jeane - a strange, yet familiar sensation - to glance around the gloomy, disarrayed and neglected room. For an instance, she had hoped, but no... Sara was still missing. Missing in the here and now - wherever and whenever that might actually be - but not in the plethora of memories assailing her, old and new. Memories of laughter and tears. Ones where she was a girl, or a woman, and some where she a boy, a girlish one, or a man, tall and broad-shouldered. Some where Sara was wearing a wedding dress, or she was, or they both were, or it was someone else entirely - Jeane, Abel, people she had never seen before, yet knew intimately. Fights and arguments, Sara, taller and bigger than she was, slapping her hard enough that she hit the ground. One where she nursed a child at a swollen breast, and Sara stood over her shoulder, smiling down at their daughter. Sean drew a shaky breath, then shook her head. "Okay... okay, we should look around a bit more before going out, maybe for a locker or something. We don't even have pants or shoes. Crack that door for light, if we have too. When we get out of here, we're going to stand out like a sore thumb." She smirked up at Jeane, as she ran a hand over her bald pate, and couldn't help by wonder if she had the head for it. "I mean more than we already will." Sean drifted over to a few of the capsules, standing up on her toes to peer into the windows. She wasn't precisely short, definitely not as short as she could remember being, but she wasn't tall either. 5'4'', 5'5'' maybe, slim, but toned and taut, more modestly endowed than her other memories of being a woman. Corpses stared back at her from the capsules, from varies states of decay all the way to skeletal. She didn't recognize any of them. She stumbled back in a gliding step, her stomach roiling. Some where still sealed, but most weren't and held scents of dust and desiccation, or the sweet, sickening smell of decay. "I think it's just us, Lilly," Sean said after spitting out bile. "These other capsules, they look like they haven't been operating in a some time, some, in a good long time. Ours seem like they... failed just now. Or were turned off or told to open just recently." She added a muttered. "Whatever recently means now." While Lilly checked desk drawers, Sean moved towards the walls away from the stacks of obsolete computer stacks and electronic equipment, looking for lockers or cabinets that might hold anything of interest, clothes, or files explaining what this place was. She found the gloom irritating, remembering when the dark didn't pose the slightest impediment to her vision. "As for what's going on, Kia... I don't know any more than you," she admitted. "Activating the satellites shouldn't have, couldn't have caused..." She trailed off, biting her lower lip. Activating the Exodus system was her most recent memory... and it wasn't, other memories clamoring for attention in her head. She could remember designing and building the nanite sized satellites, but she no longer had the impossible clarity of thought and recognition of patterns and connections to understand all the principles. Skills and knowledge that had bloomed inside her when she unlocked still remained, but now, in some cases, she could recall how she had learned and acquired them, bits and pieces of various lives settling inside her to make some new who was still all of those other selves. Greater than the sum of our parts, indeed... "This might be something with Hooli - or his, its kind - again, with or without Sara's input or involvement, or something else altogether. A type of attack by the Titans, getting a drop on us. We're jacked into a simulation that we can differentiate from reality - yet. Something else, maybe with harnessing the Genesis Particles, we, I don't know, got pulled into the potential from where they come. I don't know, I don't have the pieces to figure it out. Yet. But we'll find them, there just isn't any reason not to be cautious about it."
  10. Sean Cassidy

    Star Trek

    Hugh, from TNG, was a self-aware Borg, severed from the Hive, though I don't recall what happened to him. IIRC, he went back to the Borg. But he wasn't made part of the Enterprise crew or anything. I guess there is also Picard/Locutus, if you want to consider that.
  11. Sean's eyes widened as Jeane disappeared in a flash and crack of red lightning. She'd seen the twist and fluctuation in the quantum field before when someone teleported - Devin, James, another two. This was different. Not in intensity - Devin's capabilities were much stronger - but in kind. The fluctuations had turned in on themselves, almost the energetic analogy to a mobius strip. Hmm... Her lips tightened in frustration. End us? Sean had no intention of ending Jeane, or any of the Irregulars. Or even any other Key that didn't mean her or hers any harm, or who didn't pose a critical threat to the world at large. But Jeane kept thinking of Keys as a species - perhaps a subspecies - when that was a fallacy. They were anomalies. Curtailing the advent of more Keys didn't mean the current ones and the ones that unlocked in the meantime couldn't contribute to the progress of Earth and humanity. Sean gave her head a small, tight shake. "Nothing says the options we end up having in life are going to include good ones, Abel. Sometimes it just degrees of less bad. If Keys continue unlocking, we'll soon come to a point of us and them. Many, most will want to become a Key. Many will try to make them. The conspiracy Rashoud is part of was able to manage it, however imperfectly, with the Brain-in-a-jar and Kyle. Resentment will grow, and conflict will follow, despite best intentions." Her perfect lips curved in a half smile. "And best intentions don't always abound. We could go the other, and try to unlock everyone, put them on an equal footing, as it were. But think of the worse, most despicable person you can imagine... and now give him power equal to ours. Give a hundred, a thousand people like him the same, and honestly consider if we'd even approach breaking even with everyone unlocked - presuming we could manage such a feat - with such as they in our midst." Sean nodded at Lilly. "Agreed, this isn't something we can deal with in a day. Talking to Apollo is an option, one that we should follow up on, if only to cover our bases. Assuming he and Pandora hadn't lied about everything, I'm not sure how much help he can provide however. Our society and how humanity manifests and channels these quantum powers are very different." She waved a hand at Charlie, one finger extended. "Of us, I believe you've had the most contact with him, Charlie. Would you be willing to talk with him, if he's willing to talk?" Giving Charlie a moment to answer, she nodded then turned back to Lilly, extending a second finger. "As for Rashoud... I've been trying, gently to speak with her. But the Government is keeping her sequestered and unavailable." Devastating turquoise eyes glittered, her compelling voice took on a hint of an edge, her faint grin an enticing challenge. "I may have to press the issue." A third finger joined the first two. "Data we have, we recovered a fair bit of from Fort Story, we just have to finish decrypting it. And I assure you, it is a priority. And I've detailing a pack of Proxy programs to start collecting any articles, news stories, and social media feeds that involve or hint at Keys. I'll also start skimming more classified databases and if I find any good leads, share them with you guys, to follow up on." Her expression became almost circumspectly neutral as tapped the table with four fingers, carefully blank of any concern or worry. "Speaking with Sara, yeah... that's going to have to wait until she finds her way back from wherever she is, or I can find her." The faintest frown crossed her lips, gone in less than a blink. It had been minutes, and already, she had searched for Sara deeper and further than most could comprehend. "I don't believe someone has taken her against her will, or could - not now, not without any sort of trace - but that doesn't mean someone or something - Hooli for example -" Sean tilted her head at Lilly, acknowledging her earlier comment, "couldn't've persuaded or tricked her to remain absent for some reason. I'm going to look into it of course, but I'll admit, at the moment, I'm at a lost." Her smile turned wry and she waved a dismissive hand. "I hardly think the tech Abel and I have introduced have contributed to any increase in emergence of unlocked Keys. The vast majority work on already established scientific principles, even if only - once - theoretical." The waggled her fingers playfully. "No quantum chicanery involved. But I'll give anything we have produced another look in light of these developments and will carefully review anything develop in the future." Sean leaned back in her chair, folding her arms beneath her breasts. "At the moment however, I think our best bet, for a starting point at least, it with the files from the Black Project. From what we've managed to decipher and piece together so far, seems like they've been looking at Keys, or the potential for them, for decades." She pursed her lips and cocked her head to the side. "Lilly, perhaps you could talk to your father? Working for Stepping Stone and Guardian Shield, and then... situation with Devin, perhaps he learned or heard something of conspiracy. Or might be able to pull some strings to get us access to Rashoud."
  12. Sean arched an elegant dark red brow at Kia. "No one's intentionally making people unlock? Kyle and the brain in jar that was found at that naval Black Op would indicate otherwise, Kia. It doesn't 'just happen' though the great many factors involved may make it seem like it does. And one of the major factors may need to be reevaluated. We were operating under the impression that exposure to certain exotic particles, quantrinos, was a critical component to the unlocking of Keys, but that is now suspect with the detainment of Dr. Rashoud, who seems to have been part of a conspiracy with - and without - Project Stepping Stone and Guardian Shield." Her long fingers danced gracefully over the glossy black block of advanced smartphone, projecting a holographic display of images of the items they had confiscated from Fort Story - and that had been turned over to the government - and a counting showing how much of the data had been decrypted. "We still have to go over the stuff we got from Fort Story . As for what we can do about future potential Keys, that is yet to be determined until we look more closely at what causes unlocking and how. We've designed the new Portal systems so they no longer emit gratuitous quantrinos, if that is indeed a factor. The info gleaned from Fort Story may provide us with more insight. If proximity to unlocked Keys is a factor..." Sean frowned, chewing a delectable underlip. "There will be two main branches of inquiry in curtailing the unlocking of future Keys." She tapped the tapped with a forefinger, the sound surprisingly sonorous and intense. "One, finding out what environmental factors cause Unlocking and removing or negating said factors." Her middle finger joined her index finger as she tapped the table again. "And two, determine a way to make the rest of humanity largely unresponsive to said environmental factors, or at least make unlocking less appealing when exposed to said factors." Sean held up a restraining hand as Jeane was about to voice her protest. "Yes, yes, if we so choose to curtail the unlocking of future Keys. However, I would like to add that planned obsolescence of Keys had always been a goal of mine. I've been trying to provide humanity with the tools and wherewithal to succeed and thrive without the need for Keys. Humanity's fate shouldn't be determined by a percent of a percent - less actually. Which isn't to say we can't help, we have and we should. We're still part of humanity, even if calling us human isn't precisely correct anymore. But we aren't a true representation of humanity." There were murmurs of disagreement and Sean's lips tightened. "I know, it's not something we like to think about, to admit, but it's true. I'm not saying we don't sympathize or can't empathize - dorming for some might strengthen the bonds - but consider.... how many of us, here, actually still need to eat and breathe? They're very basic human needs. I still do, but if anything, I'm in the minority. And that is just one way we differ that has nothing to do with superhuman capabilities we possess. Do I have to continue the list?" Sean seemed calmed and collected despite her girlfriend gone missing but those who knew her very well could just barely detect a faint stiffness to her posture through her inhuman grace. It wasn't that she wasn't concerned for Sara, Sara had come back from long odds, but not knowing where she'd gone, or how, was eating at her. But she wasn't going to let it influence what she wanted to say. Her gaze fell on the satchel in front of Jeane, her turquoise eyes narrowing on the splintered shards of rock spilling from it. She recalled Sara handing the bag over to Abel. With her superhuman ability to interpolate and extrapolate facts and deduce connections, she could practically see Jeane shattering the stones with her fists in frustration. Stress and anger Jeane still felt and barely suppressed. "I'd like to expand on a point Abel and Jeane brought it, if I may? Unlocking not only doesn't change us on a genetic level, despite any physical alterations we may have undergone." Her lips quirked wryly as she glanced down at herself then arched a brow at Jeane, the two of them having changed the most physically, at a casual glance. "It doesn't effect the germline cells. Meaning, being a Key isn't hereditary. There is no guarantee any of our offspring will unlock as a Key. They likely wouldn't even have a greater chance of it occurring. And they wouldn't inherit any of our quantically enhanced attributes or abilities. There will be no second generation, no legacy of Keys, only a perpetual first generation, if things continue as they have." Sean focused on her attention on Jeane. If her silken melodious voice was intense, there was no hint of anger in it, though she was trying to get her own point of view across. "You are pissed at being called an accident, right, Jeane? Would you prefer thinking of it as winning the lottery? Nobody is entitled to the powers we have, not even 'the originals'. Those deserving or worthy - however that is determined - aren't any more likely to unlock. In fact, they are less likely, if we presume they make up a smaller proportion of population. And those who are more like to abuse their powers, accidentally or unthinkingly, selfishly or actively disruptive and destructive..." Sean gestured at the unusually tall blond girl across from her. "You're a year or two younger than most of us, Jeane. You've been a Key for less than half the time, and already, by general metrics, you're as powerful as any us. By you own admission, you've said we've been a positive influence. And yet, when Sara said something you took issue with, what did you do? You ran - no, you teleported away and smashed rocks with your fists." She nodded pointedly at the bag of rocks in front of Jeane. "Which doesn't mean I think that is an unwarranted response. But what about other Keys? Then tens, the hundreds, that try to keep their powers underwraps, and don't have a positive influence, let alone have been exposed to truly negative ones? We won't find them all, and of the ones we do find, they won't necessarily want our help. What can someone as strong as Lilly do in a fit of pique if say, she was slapped by a parent or teased by a sibling or classmate. What chaos can someone with Abel's turbocharged psychic abilities cause just because he tried to force his divorced parents back together, then just wanted his older brother to stop beating him up, then wanted his grandparents to give him better and more Christmas presents, and then and then and... Someone with my or Courtney's social... dynamism can cause any number of issues, and that is without even trying. I compared it to winning a lottery, but it's more than that. It's too much power too quickly that humanity isn't ready for. If ever, at least, not this way. Look, Jean, have you ever taken PED, performance enhancing drugs, before?" Jeane's fair brows knitted in quizzical affront. "No, of course not?" "Why not?" Sean countered smoothly. "Used smartly and with consideration, they would have objectively made you a better athlete, stronger, faster, able to exercise harder and for longer. Unlocking... it's just giving a random person a super dose of quantum steroids. Some will handle it fine, even admirably, but most won't, regardless of what we do. And if we try to force the issue, keep all Keys in line, how different will that make us from the Titans? More nukes aren't a deterrent to more nukes, its just more chance of something going wrong." Sean sat back in her chair, eyes going around the table. "I'm not just agreeing with my girlfriend. This is just how I see the issue, reflecting on the revelations Sara voiced and extrapolating from trends I can see."
  13. She searched Tahiti where Pandora and Apollo had trained Devin and others, had taken at look at Devin's old place in California he had made a base for his secret operation, but found no sign of Sara. She passed her Far Sight over an remote island in Fiji she had shared with Sara, a place in Malaysia, Paris, across Germany and Eastern Europe and other places she had visited with her girlfriend. No sight of her bold face, no sound of her sarcastic, slightly raspy voice. Her Mind's Eye was roved over the dark side of the Moon as she focused striving for Mars, when the mental reply finally caught up to her far ranging consciousness. Unfortunately, it wasn't who she wanted it to be. Her distance body sighed in frustration, a hand brushing back damp hair. <No, it isn't, Abel,> Sean answered curtly, the tight reins on her mental communication giving Abel no other indication of her thoughts. She pulled back, her senses snapping to Irregular Solutions with impossible speed, catching Jeane's comment. <In fact, I did have something better to do,> Sean told Jeane over a private channel, her mental tone icy cold. <And it isn't to make a 'better entrance' to lend more weight to my or her opinion on this very serious matter.> Sean stood up on the bathroom, quickly drying off her arm and brushing back to her hair, anchoring her senses back in her body, her mental voice back on general guild chat so that all the Irregulars could hear. <Sorry for being late, guys, just climbing into Little Bigfoot now. I'll be there in a few. Sara's missing, gone. I can't find her, and I don't know if she went willingly or was taken.> Sean put the Cherokee/Challenger hybrid into gear, the electric engine humming softly, then drove for Irregular Solutions at twice the speed limit, but with control as smooth as though she were out for an evening stroll. Sara's absence was too much to be coincidence.
  14. Sean went inhumanly still, her heart skipping a beat, breath held, the fine hairs on the back of her neck rising. She could feel every individual particle of steam that touched her flesh, hear every drop of water hit the tile of the shower stall, smell the constituent components of soap and shampoo in the bathroom. Sara wasn't there. There was only a fading hint of Sara's natural scent in the moist air, no trace of her clothes, no sense of her presence. Sean's lips parted as she exhaled, making the steam swirl and dance. Sara was gone. How? Why? Did she leave on her own or was she taken? Turquoise eyes that had their own dedicated websites and had widened in disbelief narrowed as Sean focused on spectra beyond human reckoning. The only heat signatures were her own and those caused by water hot enough to scald a locked human in moments. No hint of Sara's unique quantum signature. Nothing disturbed or stressed the natural quantum fields that would suggest more forms of teleportation or generated Portals. No other signs or residue of other Key powers. The window was closed and there was no way she could have missed Sara flying away, no matter how fast she was going. With a long, slim finger, Sean flicked open the AMP-glass shower door, more steam billowing out. Nothing should have been beyond her capability to perceive, but she had to look with her own eyes. The stall was empty, save for the pattering of water on the tile and steam. She frowned slightly, suspicion spiking. With Sara's revelations and the decision facing the Irregulars about future potential Keys and the ramifications thereof, now was not a time for Sara to go missing, willingly or unwillingly. Sean reached in and swiped her arm through the generous shower stall, making several passes to cover the entire area, in case something was concealed from her senses that she could touch. Nothing, only her arm getting wet and her dawn-hued hair darkening to dusk with damp. She turned off the water then leaned against the shower door, feeling the dissipating heat radiating against her back. "Sara?" Sean's melodious inquiry was answered only by echoes rebounding from the tiled walls. <Sara?> she sent out mentally into the void. Sean closed her eyes and breathed deep as she expanded her awareness of the holographic nature of reality, able to spread her senses throughout an ever growing amount of surrounding space. A kilometer, ten kilometers, a thousand, further, beyond the bounds of Earth, beyond the orbit of the Moon, searching for any hint of her friend, of her lover, of her love.
  15. The three Cassidy sisters sat around a table of Sydney cafe overlooking the blue waters of the Australian Pacific.