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Sean Cassidy last won the day on April 6

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  1. Whoa, whoa, whoa! Spring and Summer are short enough here, I don't need winter already.
  2. Sean bowed back to the Security Chief and handed over her own card to him. "As you wish. I would be most honored to consult again if any trouble or damage is found in the National Transportal Network," Sean replied in flawless, smooth Japanese, her tone pilot and encouraging. She had consulted heavily with the design and technical details of Portal Network. "And I hope that if your investigation reveals anything that could be a danger or concern to other nations, you will be willing to share it with them, and with us. The nations of Earth are not just a global community, we are now part of a galactic one as well, and many issues transcend borders." <I can imagine what temptation telepathy must be, Abel,> Sean replied to her friend. She had managed to keep her own expression placid instead of savage when the Japanese authorities came to claim the suicide vest and the suicide bomber, her intense curiosity and confidence in her ability wanting to retain them. <Perhaps settle for a light touch, if you can, to determine if the bomber was mentally compelled or directed to act, without delving deeper for specifics?> Sean waggled her fingers at Abel, making the elegantly spartan silvery rings her nano-multitool appeared as to flash. <And yes, I did collect a tiny sample. Enough to study, if not much more than that.> She sighed, rejoining the Irregulars and former Irregulars. While she didn't completely disagree with Devin's assertion about species classification between Keys and Humans, she did take issue with how he saw one exploiting the other. It was happening to be sure, in one direction, and in the other, but not on the grand scale Devin implied. In her mind, Sean began assembling conceptual models of what the outcome could have been with the attack on the Transportal Network, at various success rates, and then started working backwards, to determine who may have been behind the attack, with what little information she could collate. A faint frown graced her lips. Considering the unusual chemical explosive, she would have to compare it with the exotic rifle Jeane had retrieved from the event in New York, to look for any hint of similarity in design principles, something in the propellant, however remote. Coincidence was possible, but just as likely, it could be an illusion. "How would you feel about all this destruction and potential anarchy, Devin, if it wasn't perpetrated purely by non-Keys?" Sean asked the irrepressible purple-enrobed Key. "Because I have a strong suspicion it isn't so simple as a human-on-human battle royale. There's something more behind it, I believe." She gave Devin a direct look, with the tiniest hint of sympathy to it. "And sometime, if you can find some spare time between the couch cushions, can I talk with you about Laurie? And you, too, Lilly?" She nodded at the Vanguard at Devin's side. Her lips twisted in a wry grin. "Despite any blonde moments I may have, I can read between the lines of what isn't said. Laurie doesn't hate you as much as she wants you to think, Devin, or how much Haagen Daz she scarfs down." <Sara, we're being dismissed and heading home soon. The Japanese authorities want to look after this on their own,> Sean sent to her airborn girlfriend. <You notice anything odd on your quick scouting tour?>
  3. Engaged in studying and disarming the explosive vest, Sean didn't intrude in the exchange between Devin and Abel, though she listened to it with a minute fraction of her attention. She certainly didn't agree with all of Jaunt's actions and beliefs, but when finding him on the scene when she and Sara finally arrived, she'd given him a nod and brief, tight grin. Her luscious lip did tighten at being accused of being veritable Justice Lords in the making, no better then those they resisted and worked against. Especially when he didn't seem to understand what was going on. She could understand Devin still hurting that the Irregulars - or most of them - had thought the worse of him, even if that had been his intention. But it was getting tiresome, insulting, and just a bit hurtful that Devin seemed to look at any action they took in the most negative and nefarious light. The pair of Fauxguards held the apparent terrorist completely immobile using just an iota of their immense strength, but Sean used her melodious voice and winsome words to help put him at ease. Sean's eyes focused on the explosives, precisely analyzing its dimensions and mass, focusing on the flow and reservoirs of power, peering beyond the surface to looking at its internal mechanisms and the molecular composition of the explosive compound. The silvery rings on her left hand seemed to melt and flow, shifting into probes and clippers, finer than the human eye could perceive. She frowned. Disarming the bomb was a trivial exercise when you can see the insides and can follow the current. She had the explosive vest disarmed and removed from the terrorist in mere moments. The explosive compound itself was something else. Her eyes narrowed as she focused even more intently. The molecular structure of the compound appeared somewhat familiar to bis-oxadiazole, but was far more dense. More, some of the elements she couldn't readily identify by sight or scent. From the descriptions the Vanguards provided, the trace elements she could pick out of the air, calculating for wind and dispersal, the overclocked processes of her mind considering and analyzing probabilities and possibilities, Sean could discern the likely power of the explosives. The vest she held contained 10.136 kilograms of chemical explosive, yet the yield had been the equivalent of 247.984 to 255.559 kilograms of trinitrotoluene, better known as TNT. It also seemed to be astonishingly stable. "Guys, we have more trouble than an organized terrorist action, the--" Sean interrupted herself, her head wiping around at Devin's comment about the 'Emperor.' Her brow furrowed deeply in sheer disbelief that he could be ignorant, but Lilly took care of it before Sean make her own rebuttal. Sean strode away from the de-vested suicide bomber, joining Abel, Devin, and Lilly. Dressed in the same jeans, low-heeled ankle boots, and blouse with missing buttons she'd been wearing after dinner with Sara, Sean would have looked out of place with the other Keys, save Lilly, if her nature wasn't clear in every fiber of her being. "There's still reason to be worried. This explosive, it isn't like anything I've seen before, let alone designed." She gave Devin a hooded glance when he seemed to about to make a comment while sharing what she'd learned with Sara and Jeane over guildchat. "To be more specific, rather, the chemical explosive is unlike anything I've seen before - the detonator is on the basic side, actually. I'm going to have to bring it to the lab to identify all the components, but I can say whatever it is, it has roughly 25 times the explosive yield of an equivalent mass of TNT. I'll have to do tests to determine any other properties." Brushing back a lock of multicoloured hair with an elegant finger, Sean looked back towards the man secured between a pair of Vanguards. "And we'll have to find out if this person, and the rest, acted on their own recognizance, or were induced by natural or quantum-enhanced means. See if he can tell us anything about whoever provided them with the vests."
  4. Shelly, Montana [Now] The door to the bathroom stall swung open and Sean glided out with languid grace. Her enchanting turquoise eyes were heavy with languorous delight and her deep auburn hair was disheveled. She was making a token effort to button up her shirt, but there weren't enough buttons left to completely conceal the scalloped edges of her bra and camisole. Sara followed Sean out, gaze lingering on her girlfriend's long legs and the sweet curves of her ass and back, as she finished cinching and buckling her belt. Her eyes sparkled and a satiated smirk graced her lips. The lady at the sinks was staring at them - the two young women hadn't exactly been discreet. Sean and Sara stared back. The lady grabbed her purse and hustled out, the 'I'm getting the manager' expression all over her face. Sara snorted in laughter and at the sound, Sean couldn't contain herself and giggled. "So... how 'bout we take the talk about what we're looking for in a home back to the barn?" Sean suggested as they got cleaned up as best they could. "We just have to give Dad a head's up." Sara's grin broadened and they hurried back to their table to collect their things. Sean threw down enough dollars and euros to pay for their meal twice over (including tip), then they rushed for Little Bigfoot. [Then] Sean glanced away for moment, musing over a bite of her pizza, topped with housemade sausage, flathead cherry chutney, smoked gouda, mozzarella, garlic oil and parsley. A part of her did feel a bit of guilt whenever she dormed down, as though she was wasting time that could have been put to better use working on her plans to make the world a better place. But she was hard pressed to worry over that guilt when she was spending time with her girlfriend, her over-active mind not dwelling on a million other things, only on the one she loved. She had promised herself she wouldn't let herself or her friends become the slaves of the interests of others, not matter how worthwhile. And while she basked in the impossible competency and powers of Savant, sometimes it felt... lonely. She could see connections between people, places, ideas, and events like few others, but often, it was from a remote view point. There was something to be said about shutting it all away for a time and interacting with things on a tighter, more intimate level. "Do you ever wish you could turn it off forever?" Sean idly asked, her voice soft. She didn't want to, but Kia apparently had, and had found a way to do it, to all appearances. "What?" Sean shook her head and dismissively waved away her question. "Nothing, I'll tell you later. You're the only one I'm really willing to turn it off for." Sean finished the last bite of her pizza, then faced Sara directly once more. "I want the same thing, babe. A home. Not just a place to live." She smiled wryly. "I don't promise white picket fences or not having a small personal workshop to tinker in - that's part of home for me - but yes, no lab and work will be left at work, as much as possible." Sean leaned over the table, pulling out her phone and making a few swipes, showing Sara some pics. "I've had a few thoughts on the idea since we, y'know 'talked' about it, and thought maybe something based on these might be compromise... " Sean showed her Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater and his inspiration on Massaro House, and explained some of his concepts, buildings set to fit the landscape. "But as a home for us, I want it made by us, all of us, Sean and Sara, Savant and Avenger. Our own hands, and all the capabilities available to us." Sean leaned back and crossed her arms below her breasts as Sara continued flipping through pics and concept designs she had quickly put together. "Have you thought about where you want to make our home, hon?" Sara looked up. "Before, I would have said right here in Shelly, Sean. But Shelly is changing. That's not a bad thing, in itself, but it's not exactly what I'm pictured either." She arched inquiring brows. "I was thinking... maybe some place in Alaska, but..." Sean chuckled, the sound as warm and rich as velvet and honey. "We have options, Sara, as many as we want. You can fly faster than a speeding bullet - way faster, in fact. I can come up with a personal aeronautical vehicle or we can set up a discreet Portal to link up with one here or at IS. What I'm saying is, we can deal with the commute from... pretty much anywhere. Alaska, a little further south in British Columbia, Canada, or almost anywhere else. I saw some nice places in Finland and Sweden when I was over there. And don't worry, most people know English there, even."
  5. Shelly, Montana [Now] Sean felt the stacked stone veneer of the bathroom wall dig into her back as Sara pressed her against the bathroom wall, but hardly cared as she fiercely kissed Sara back, their tongues wrestling. Sean's fitted button-down shirt lost most of its buttons as Sara nearly ripped it open, a small sound of frustration escaping their locked lips when Sara found a lacy black v-necked camisole underneath, deep, fair cleavage on full display. Sean's muted moan of delight joined Sara's frustration as she felt the stiffened, rounded points crowning her breasts being teased. Sean tangled one hand in Sara's short blond hair, the other cupping her ass and lifting Sara off the ground, enough that the shorter woman had to tilt her head down slightly to maintain the breath-taking kiss. Sean arched her back and Sara wrapped a leg around Sean's hip for more leverage. So much better than lunch and the food had been more than good enough. Still, Sean's lambent turquoise eyes cut to the door to the bathroom, then to the other side towards the wooden doors of the stalls decorated with wood burned crescent moons. This was considerably more public than Sean preferred... she also didn't want the genuine, passionate need to end. Sara could feel Sean trying to smile through their kiss and opened her eyes to see Sean arch a questioning brow. Here or elsewhere her gorgeous eyes asked, as long as it didn't end. [Then] Sean glanced away, hiding a wince at Sara's terse and tense tone. A few days apart hadn't mellowed things out and Sean bristled, realizing she had hoped that it had and it hadn't. She wasn't even sure who she was irritated most by, herself or Sara. Sean rapped the silvery rings of her Savant Multitool on her left hand on the roof of her vehicle, then turned back to look at Sara over the top of her car, her half smile brittle and forced. "There's always Bunnie's, but I'd thought we'd try a new place that just opened up, The Big Sky Dive," Sean said, faintly feigned cheer in her melodious voice. "Source and cuisine all from Montana. I hear the food is great, even if the place is a bit, hmm, hipstery." "Fine, that's fine." Sara's tone was neutral, and with her sunglasses, Sean couldn't see the expression in her eyes. The door slammed just a touch too loudly as Sara settled into the passenger seat. Sean sighed, then climbed in behind the wheel and put Little Bigfoot into gear and started driving down Packing Plant Road. When they pulled into the small parking lot of The Big Sky Dive and walked through the front doors, even without her nearly peerless senses, Sean could practically hear Sara's eyes roll. To be fair, some of that eye-rolling, might have been her own. The place was decorated all in stone and hardwood, like picturesque hunting lodge. The guy behind the bar was the very archetype of a hipster, with the glasses, beard and curled mustache, plaid flannel and beanie, stark black tattoos on his forearms. "If this is a vegan only place, I might have to kill you, Sean," Sara muttered up at her taller girlfriend. "If this a vegan only place, I'll let you," Sean admitted.
  6. Shelly, Montana "Thank you, Alexa," Sean replied calmly to the Semi-autonomous Intelligence. The Alexa Proxy Program had a limited ability to evolve and adapt within its own purview and had ended up one of her most polished and successful Proxy Programs. "Keep us updated with anything on this matter than warrants our attention." Sean rolled her shoulders in a way that would make anyone with eyes have their heart skip a beat or ten as Abel sent her his memory of the encounter with his doppelganger. It was intriguing and disconcerting that nothing registered to her vast and incisive perceptions. And while Abel's mental information packet let her witness what he did, she couldn't use her own extraordinary senses on the memory. She studied the playback, noting every detail she could - perhaps Abel had seen something without inferring any particular significance. "Let's trust that Jeane can deal with the growing situation in New York for now. We have our own investigations to look into at the moment Abel." She arched a brow at Abel as they walked through the halls of IS HQ. She couldn't actually read his mind, but she was familiar enough with his expressions and micro-expressions to know what he was thinking. "Yes, it is highly unlikely that all this happening at once is a coincidence. Jeane can stay on top of NYC." Sean pursed her lips musingly. She had seen the subtle, but deep, changes in Keys since their return from the Quantum Realm. They had evolved, expanded in every manner, physical, mental, even social. There was a subtle change in the way they held themselves, how they looked and reacted to things, even their looks had improved. The qualitative improvements had affected The Irregulars, and every other Key she had encountered. Every Key had changed, every Key but herself. Her quantum expression had already enhanced her every attribute. She didn't feel any different between before going to the Quantum Realm and dealing with the Titans, and afterwards, except for a tinge of regret that it had come down to destroying entities that had existed since near the beginning of the universe. Perhaps her friends would have a better understanding of how she had changed since unlocking, now that they had enhanced in much the way she had, if not to the same degree. In self-reflection, Sean didn't think she was precisely jealous, but there was... something. It wasn't ruefulness, but after the encounter on the Quantum Realm, every Key, current and future, had been granted a gift, while she had not, having already been enhanced in the same way. She sighed. Reality, this one or any other, might have a certain balance respective to it, but it had no injunction to be fair. "Abel, you focus on what happened to Kia." Sean flashed him a quick grin. "She is your girlfriend after all - I'll help with anything on the biology side, if needed, while you back up Jeane with anything on the technical side. I'm going to look into your doppelganger, which may require a completely new way of detecting his... proximity. I have a couple of hypotheses on that. He might be from a universe or continuum where the laws of physics operate differently, or he might make use of some manner of 'anti' quantum, something that operates on a completely opposite wavelength, making it invisible, intangible, to our senses, and possibly other powers." They got updates from Jeane as they reached the ground floor. <Abel will handle initial tech support if needed, Jeane, but right now, you're on site, so it's all your call. We're not going to yell at you if don't handle things the way we would have.> "On that note, I'm heading out for lunch, with my girlfriend, if I can get her away from work." Sean nodded towards the front doors. Unlike the vast majority of the Irregulars, she still needed sustenance. It was kinda funny that was one of the few things she had in common with Tease, along with a few other similar or comparable quantum quirks, which she discovered running a few tests for the trying woman. "I've been out of town for a few days and Sara and I need to talk. I'll be back later, Abel." She gave a rich, melodious chuckle. "Probably. I still need a vacation and there's something I'd like to look into, purely for my own curiosity." Sean strode out of IS HQ and towards her car, typing out a quick text to Sara. - In Shelly. Lunch? - Sean was seated behind the wheel of Little Bigfoot, powering it up. She was about to text again, when her phone chirped. - Sure - - Kk - Jack Cassidy called lunch and Sara straightened up, stretching her back and pulling off her work gloves. She opened and closed her fingers, working out the kinks and aches. It was a good ache, the ache of honest work. She set the gloves aside and saw the gleaming black Little Bigfoot parked across from the worksite, the unmistakable form of her girlfriend perched on the edge of the hood. Even dormed, Sean was an eye-catching sight. Supermodel tall, long of leg, impressive of endowment. Her deep red hair - the colours of dawn faded away with dormancy - hung loose past her shoulders, but her remarkable turquoise eyes were almost as vivid and enchanting as when she had quantum energy coursing through her. Sean gave Sara a small wave, her lips curved in an inviting, half-apologetic smile. She didn't think she was in the wrong in their argument, but she regretted that it had descended into actually shouting. Hopefully, they could work out a compromise that suited them both without so much histrionics this time. Maybe Sara needed a vacation too - likely not where Sean had in mind, but it might interest her too. Dormed herself, Sean didn't feel the need - or rather wouldn't intuitively over analyze every permutation of how their conversation might go, wouldn't unconsciously try to direct it as she wanted. They could just... talk. And maybe make-up later, if Sara didn't mind being late getting back to work.
  7. Mizuki Residence, Shelly, Montana Abel heard the wheels of Sean's Cherokee-Challenger hydrid Little Bigfoot first, and the near inaudible hum of its SLAM-K reactor engine. Moments later, Kia saw its gleaming black contours past byas it came to a stop in the driveway. Kia was already bouncing off the couch when there was two measured knocks on the door. Kia swung the door wide and looked up at the tall, impossibly gorgeous woman standing there with a smile. Maybe it was because she was feeling more like herself than she ever had, but she couldn't help contrast this veritable goddess of a woman with the boy Sean used to be, a boy that had been even short than she was. But it seemed to her this woman was - or had become - more who Sean was than the undersized girlish boy had been. "Come in, come in!" Kia gushed pulling Sean into the house, then embracing her with gusto and ending up with a face full of boob due to their disparity in height. "I'm glad you could make it on such short notice. I know, I mean, you all that important science and tech stuff you're doing and-" "Kia, of course I made it," Sean assured her, hugging her back with unconsciously modulated strength. "I'll always make time for a good friend in need." Sean took a step back, her hands on Kia's shoulders and gave her a thorough, scrutinizing glance, enchanting turquoise eyes seeming to take in all that happened to her friend, then nodded sharply, lips curving into a musing half-smile. "I see." "Come, I have snacks, cookies, and Abel is already here," Kia said leading Sean to the living room. Sean didn't say 'I know," swinging her leather coat from her shoulders and hanging it up, and slipping off her short-heeled, low-cut boots , she followed Kia, footsteps soundless on the hardwood floor. Kia didn't seem desperate, dispirited, or disheartened. Indeed, quite the opposite, almost glowing with self-assurance and exuberant serenity. Sean nodded her greeting to Abel as Kia rejoined him on the couch. Sean took the loveseat on an angle from them, though not before filching a couple of cookies. She crossed her jean-clad legs, tossed her head to shake a lock of dawn coloured hair from her face, and nibbled on a cookie contemplatively as she regarded Kia, and to a lesser extent, Abel, somehow managing to avoid getting a single crumb on her distended shirt that showcased a pair of twenty-sided dice showing the '20' facing and the boast, 'Yes, They're Natural.' "So. You don't look worried about you're... state, or even really all that concerned, Kia. Indeed, you look pleased, satisfied with the condition. Do you know how this happened? And is there something in particular you want me - us - " she nodded at Abel, "to do about it? Reverse it, if possible? Make sure it doesn't - you - don't unlock again?" There wasn't any recrimination or condemnation in Sean's melodious voice - though Sean had clearly embraced her quantum enhanced and altered nature - only concern for her friend's desires. She pursed in lips and silently snorted, thinking about Sara, who had dormed down for the day and worked with her dad on a reno project. More wasn't always better - for specific individuals - maybe she should keep that in mind with any home she hoped to have with Sara.
  8. Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland Warm sunlight flooded through the high windows of the auditorium of the Otaniemi Campus of Aalto University. Sean had spoken first at the conference on the social and economic impacts of the introduction rapidly advancing technology and what was and could be done to reduce those impacts and make the introductions more smooth. A German scientist was speaking at the moment. With strong social safety nets, the Scandinavian nations were adapting better than most, members of the EU to lesser extent. South America was in flux, as was Africa, the vast majority of the populous receiving benefits while dictators and corrupt leaders finding their strangleholds weakening. A similar situation was affecting North American, the lower and middle-class being lifted up while overly wealthy tech CEO, Executives, Venture Capitalists, and shareholders finding their power and share of the economy falling. Surprisingly, the economy wasn't collapsing, the shrinking hoards of the uber-rich being replaced by more spending capital from the lower and middle class. Sean listened with only a fraction of her attention, enough to follow the speeches and conversations and track the positions of everyone with her other senses as she let her vision roam far afield. Her sight flowed over the vast forests of Finland, then over Norway and Sweden, then picturesque fjords along the coasts. It wasn't as cold in Helsinki as most would think, as were the southern parts of Sweden and Norway. If anything, it was more mild than Montana was at this time. She wondered if Sara would like it here. They had ended an existential threat to the Earth and the human race - and Sean could still regret destroying entities that had existed since the beginning of the universe without begrudging the necessity - yet Sean couldn't avoid an argument with Sara. And over something that seemed so... minor in the grand scheme of things, just what they each had in mind for a house they would live in, and just where they would live, and even what kind of dinnerware they preferred. Part of it was a reluctance on her part to leave the only home she had known. It was a tie to her old life, one she had grown far beyond. Enticing lips curved in a rueful grin. Sara wanted something simple, classic, almost something with a white picket fence. Sean wanted something more grandiose, futuristic. She had started looking at the works of various architects, including Aalto, for which the Finnish University was named, and believed she found inspiration that was a compromise of both her and Sara's preferences in Frank Lloyd Wright, specifically Fallingwater and Massaro House, homes built with the local topography in mind, actually incorporating it into the design. With her and Sara's abilities, they could build it together, any modern - okay, hyper modern - conveniences could be incorporated in a more subtle fashion. She would speak with Sara about it when she made it make to Shelly. Or maybe when she went on vacation. Sean had already started making preparations for some time off, days or weeks, to let IS and her other concerns to function smoothly in her absence. She needed some time off saving and changing the world. There was a mystery she wanted to investigate, a mystery that had caught her interest back when she'd been a boy, and she believed it might interest Sara too. And it would give them time to away to talk and just be with themselves. <Let me know when you want to do it, Jeane, and if I can make it, I'll show up,> Sean replied idly, her awareness - or lease her extraordinary vision - swooping south and south from Scandinavian lands to sweep high over the Sahara Desert and then low. ~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~ The conference had ended for the day and Sean was sitting on the coping of the terrace of her hotel room, legs crossed. The snow was gone, but night had fallen and the air was brisk, the cold making itself known with the tight protuberances seen clearly beneath her thin shirt. She'd called Sara earlier, who had sounded tired after a long day working her with her dad while dormed. Sean had almost - almost - apologized for the argument, and was still considering ditching the rest of the conference to head back to Shelly and Sara. She took a sip of coffee, then pursed her lips in thought. She was making good progress at the conference, laying groundwork to make her ideas and suggestions more palatable and easier to implement, tailored for specific nations and socio-economic strata. Change wouldn't happen without turmoil - even a good deal of turmoil - but it could be managed, or at the very least, there could be something beneficial in place or waiting to be put in place when the turmoil subsided. She was somewhat concerned about the Russian delegate, Alexei Mendeelev, a noted material engineer and chemist. Definitely human, Sean had seen an energetic quantum imprint overlaying him. She had seen something somewhat similar when she had encountered Death Otter, but this didn't seem like one overwhelming the other, but rather the two working in concert, a symbiotic relationship, rather than parasitic. Other than the quantum imprint however, Sean hadn't found evidence of the Key with a cursory search. Something else to keep an eye on, if the Russian government had Keys working directly for them. Keys that could boost or enhance their locked agents and delegates. Sean arched a brow in surprise as she read the text from Kia. The text didn't convey a sense of desperation or danger, but nonetheless, Sean spun around on the coping and glided into her hotel room to pack up and leave. She considered checking out, but she might be back. She texted Kia to say she'll get back as soon as she could, then texted several others at the conference to say she'd be absent the next day, and possibly for the rest of the conference, mentioning a few other key points she'd like presented and that she'd keep an eye on the conference, time and circumstances permitting. Sean sighed in slight exasperation. It was never one thing, but a dozen. <I'll stop by there to take a quick look before we go see Kia, if you like,> Sean replied. <But Kia is concerning me more at the moment, especially with your... doppelganger gone currently. Be there in a moment.> Sean manipulated a device on her wrist that superficially resembled a watch, but obviously wasn't when a blue ray projected from it and opened into a portal. She hadn't be able to manage a true, maneuverable teleportation system comparable to the one on the Watchtower - yet- but had managed a more restricted recall device that could contact a specific portal in the growing Trans-Earth Portal System. This one was connected to the Portal at IS HQ. Sean stepped through the Portal and strode towards the nearest elevator with access to sublevel 8. Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia Laurie Cassidy let her arm drop as the purple cloud of quantum energy dissipated, her shoulders slumping with the weariness and pain of fractured relationships. Of growing up. This was harder, hurt more, than being a bare sixteen years old and being thrust into the upper echelons of governmental politics as an alien liaison. She let the tears slip down her cheeks without wiping them away. "No matter how many times you say it, you're still Devin Jauntsen." Irregular Solutions HQ, Shelly, Montana "This is Irregular Solutions, yes," the voice on the other end of the phone replied, her tone professional, perky, and not a little sexy. Mikey decided she probably had killer dimples. "I'm Alexa - named before Amazon came up with it - and yes, we try to help any Key in need..." Alexa trailed off and after a moment, Mikey realized she was leading him towards providing a name. "Call me Mi - er Gerry Dorsey." "Gerry then." She sounded like she was taking the name at face value, but Mikey thought he heard a smile in the way she said 'Gerry'. "Gerry, this is a serious matter, one the FBI will definitely need to be apprised of. But we know circumstances can be difficult for newly unlocked Keys. I've escalated this and someone from IS will get on site as soon as possible, and that will be soon indeed, trust me. We can contact the FBI on yourself behalf, if that is preferable to you and leave you out of this as much as possible. If - and only if - you feel comfortable, can you stay on site until someone arrives? If not, that is okay, I totally understand, Gerry. No one should have to see a dead body, let alone three, let alone seeing them become dead. Get somewhere you feel safe, but please stay on the line with me, share with me all the details you can. If it's possible - don't put or leave yourself in danger, take any pics you can." Alexa gave Mikey a number he could text them to as well as an email address, both she assured him were secure and couldn't be traced back to him. Well, they probably could, but the few people who could manage it would be dangerous to Mikey in other ways and there was no need to give the boy something else to worry about. "And while we don't have an official statement on finder's fees, I'll see what I can do, especially if you are in need. You deserve something for getting something dangerous off the streets."
  9. I'm pondering what you're pondering, Nina. I like the idea of Sara DMing and the reboot (of a sort), even if others may not. After defeating the Titans that were threatening Earth/Humanity, how much more is there to deal with that wouldn't be trivial to ones with the power of the Irregulars? Yes, we can write about how our characters are adapting and dealing with it, write about them spending time with their significant others, but that only goes so far, and means less when even the potential for any threats or inconveniences is minuscule. With the reboot as proposed, what we have written isn't swept away. If our characters were invested in their characters, what they experienced in the 'game' would still affect them, at least in reflecting on how they'd feel if something like it really did happen. I presume we'd still develop powers, if not on the same world demolishing/unbalancing scale. If some people just aren't feeling their powerset (or character for that matter) anymore, they would have the opportunity to adjust things. But mainly, I feel we can write and tell more interesting and compelling stories from lower on the mountain of power than from the pinnacle. And nothing says the Irregulars couldn't go back and play in Sara's 'campaign' again, if people still wanted to write about their ultra-powered alternates. Anyone else want to ring in, yay or nay?
  10. I would prefer the Irregulars returning closer to then the satellites went live, but will accede to what the majority prefers without recriminations. So far, Sean still agrees with curtailing the number of Keys unlocking, if not necessarily so absolutely. If such thing as 'natural' unlocking (whatever that means) is possible, and if the God Particle is real, then Sean definitely wants to impede anyone actively trying to force or manipulate people to unlock, especially after what we've seen as to where that can lead. Goals 1 - Global Advancement: Sean wants to continue fostering cooperation between nations and between Keys and humans, elevating the efficiency and capability of a world body/government, and help educate and guide humanity as a whole towards working to help and better everyone instead of the self, and providing them with the tools to do so. These tools will also hopefully mean Humanity doesn't NEED to rely on Keys to solve their problems, friendly Keys would just be a bonus. If necessary, develop devices/tools to help humanity deal with dangerous/antagonistic Keys. 2 - Exploration, Eventual Colonization: With the help of friendly alien societies and the Gate Technology, look for other suitable planets/solar systems for humanity to spread too. To give opportunities to those who feel like they have little or none on Earth and are looking for a new start, even if it promises not to be easy, and to help relieve the stress and tensions Earth is already suffering from high population and environmental neglect. Sean isn't much interested in exploring other realities - there's enough to explore in this universe, and she had memories of many 'what ifs' even if Pandora had a hand in their creation - but doesn't have much issue with the others doing so. As long as they don't make other universes' problems our universe's problem. And for the love of God, do NOT bring our Mirror Universe counterparts to this universe. 3- Rest and Recuperation: Sean wants a vacation and sometime taking it easy with Sara, away from saving the world, and away from Earth, if necessary. And also to find out what happened to Sara while we in the quantum construct. If she was possessed by Pandora and kept aware or unaware of what happened, or if she experienced/witnessed something completely different.
  11. Now existing on the quantum level of reality, Sean's expansive awareness and perceptions burned and tingled as they reassessed and readjusted to her place in it. In a place were distance and time were mere suggestions, Sean had all the time she wished to consider the revelation of Pandora suborning of Sara and her deception. A constructed fantasy or not, Sean didn't believe all those other lives they witnessed were simple fabrications from Pandora's ancient, stagnant imagination. Not when they stood on the threshold of the multiverse, a new dimensional timeline spawning from every potential decision they could make. She smiled sadly. They stood amidst the physical manifestation of the uncertainty principle, where the precise value of distance, velocity, time, mass, light, magnetism were indeterminate. Or rather, they were only determined by the will and perceptions of one observing them. This was a realm of concepts and ideas, the fundamental substances that composed actuality. It was a realm of will. Sean might not have had the direct destructive power of the others, but in a place of raw will, in which she was second to none, her will was just as potent. Pandora appeared as pure prismatic light, a composition of quanta that behaved as both waves and particles, diffuse even condensed into a sphere by Abel's dimensional lock. But even light had mass, infinitesimal though it was, and where there was mass, there was substance. With substance, solidity. Pandora would not escape the vengeance, the justice, of the Irregulars by existing in a state ephemeral, ethereal. Sean pitted her will against that of Pandora, who had to contend against them all, instead of only one. After epochs of astrological time, in a place where time was but a concept, Pandora's experience meant little, only will did. Sean imposed order on the structured chaos of light Pandora was composed of. The many-coloured lights glittered, splintered, then congealed, solidified into a panoply of sharp-edged prisms, fracturing the light to make of Pandora something crystalline, but clear and empty itself. Something hard, but brittle, fragile. Something that could be smashed, shattered, by all that assailed it. Something that could be destroyed beyond recovering. Something that was once timeless forced to face the end of eternity. "She has no more excuses, Jeane," Sean said, the crystalline entity that was Pandora seeming to shiver under the resonance of her melodious voice. "Because in the end, she knows them all to be empty."
  12. With preternatural awareness Sean observed... everything. She saw the monstrous dragon Kia had become pull herself back together, organic detritus falling from her still writhing and twithing. She watched Pandora deflect Abel and Jeane's hyper-accelerated spear with a casual flick of a stabbing appendage. She witnessed how Sara's blasts of raw energy did little damage to Pandora, serving as little more than distractions. Her eyes narrowed slightly. Perhaps those blasts were doing more than little. The impossibly beautiful woman spun lithely just out of the way of coruscating attacks that could obliterate her out of existence, her expression cool and hard in the face of certain death. She fired her pistol at darting and rending appendages, the hypervelocity rounds seeming so banal and pathetic on the other worldly battlefield. There was something anomalous to the way Pandora reacted - on the quantum level - to their attacks. Pandora was taking little in the way of effective damage, but that didn't mean she wasn't being affected. She was just being affected in a different way. The entities like Pandora were multidimensional beings. This manifestation was her, but not all of her. Sean was about to tell Abel to coalesce the dimensional anchors to try and lock Pandora in place when her eyes widened, suddenly seeing the situation in a new light. This was just manifestation, not Pandora's true essence, that essence was elsewhere. The dimensional anchors might cut off the manifestation from Pandora, or cause it to disperse entirely, but it wouldn't affect Pandora herself- or more accurately, itself. <Abel, don't form the dimensional anchors!> Sean projected to the Irregulars as she dashed around the field of ice, somersaulting a death beam as she slashed at a piercing talon with her sun-like plasma-sword. <Think of this as epic-level D&D. This is an Avatar of a God, not the God itself! To kill a god dead, you have to do it on its own realm on the Outer Planes.> <What?!> Jeane mentally shouted in response to the nerdy terminology. <To really get Pandora, we have to Ant-man this shit!> Sean replied <We have to go the quantum level of reality directly to face the core being of Pandora. And you are going to get us there, Jeane. With Kia's help. We're going to the Quantum Realm!> Sean might not have been able to bend and break reality as easily as most of her friends, but few could perceive it as deeply and expansively as she could, or see it in so many distinct spectra. Jeane could get them to the Pandora-Core, and Sean could interpret what Kia experienced trying to emulate Pandora's quantum field, to determine the precise resonance or frequency so that Jeane could get them to the right place. <Kia, show me what you got,> Sean commanded, anticipating what Kia had really been trying to accomplish by dragging her tail across the Pandora-Avatar. She studied the assaulting plethora of information Kia projected to her from a different point of view in a fraction of a nanosecond, then sent the key piece of information - dimensional coordinates in effect - to Jeane. <This is it, Jeane. You want to end this bitch, get us there!>
  13. "The thing with nightmares is when you wake up, they fade away," Sean countered, her captivating voice flowing with the rhythm of reality instead of reverberating against it. She continued her sensuous, dangerous glide forward, not flinching or slowing in the least when an aspect of Pandora flew at her, having full confidence Sara would take care of it. "And we, Pandora, are waking up. From nothing, we can be... anything!" Though it seemed she moved barely faster than a normal human, her superlative grace was deceptive, her every movement in harmony with the superhuman alacrity of her mental processes. With subtle, fluid shifts, Sean flowed around Pandora's terrible, infuriated attacks, the plasma-sword in her hand like a shard of the sun flicking out to slash at her when she got close. Seeming almost independent, her other hand fire her Havoc pistol, quick, blurring, not so much meant to injure but to deflect or disrupt attacks on Sara and the rest of her friends. All the while, the major part of her attention was on Pandora and the battle itself, studying the ebb and flow energies and manipulation of reality itself between Pandora and her friends, analyzing Pandora's reactions and means of attack. <Possibly. It might be the only way to make sure that when we defeat her - here - she stays defeated,> Sean replied, her mental voice as cool and calm as her apparent demeanor in the face of the outraged Titan. <I'm adding that and the feasibility and capability of us being able to accomplish it into my analysis. When we end her, it's not just for now, but forever.>
  14. The transition from an exceptional woman into an impossible one was seamless, no sensation of physical change, simply her sense of self expanding infinitely. Any lingering disorientation faded away like morning fog. Sean could remember with searing clarity every instance and facet of the lives she had lived - whether though being locked into a manufactured simulation or forced access to other possible versions of her self, if you hued to multiverse concept of reality. Through them all, there had been one constant. A constant she had thought lost, or at least beyond her reach. And now that constant was back. Sean wasn't particularly relieved to be empowered once more, it simply was what she was now, perhaps what she was meant to be, even as she was partly removed from the rest of humanity now. But she would have traded it all to have Sara back. Sean smiled down at Sara, caressed her hand on her cheek, gave it a small squeeze, then kissed her knuckles. "I have something that I'd thought lost to fight for now." Sara at her side, Sean followed the others through the door. If she was surprised at finding the Irregulars on a field of ice hanging alone amidst the stars, facing an incensed Titan, she gave no sign of it, her exquisite face calm and cool, taking everything in in a single casual glance. With a controlled exhalation, Sean extended her awareness of the cosmos, senses attuned to the quantum field. <'Here' might be relative term at the moment, but we're here, Lilly,> Sean replied, and in the crystal clear, silken mental tone, Vanguard knew it was Savant instead of merely Sean. <We have a pissed Pandora to deal with. Are you okay?> <Fine, fine!> Lilly answered in rising tension and excitement, and in the mental echoes of her thought, Sean could hear that Lilly had formed her clone-sisters. Many, many clone-sisters. <I'm back at Shelly High. Or a copy of it. Gotta put down Bitch-ass Apollo.> <Whoever puts down their mob first helps the other,> Sean said, not hint of doubt that they would succeed, or that they'd be able to find each other again, despite where they might stand in relation to each other. <Careful if you make it here, a step off the ice will be a long one.> Jeane was already diving forward to recover Devin and Abel was putting up his personal and public force fields as he lit up his pair of azure plasma-swords. Sean was not the hardest hitter among the Irregulars, but she could figure how best to apply that force. Unlike just about every Superhero movie, she didn't think defeating Pandora would just devolve down to a slugfest with the big bad. With an entity as long lived as Pandora claimed to be, there had to be something else to end her existence, or at least end the threat she posed. Sean strode forward with dangerous, inhuman grace, her integrated boots growing short cleats for extra tractions, the field of battle slowing down in her regard as mental processes accelerated to near incalculable levels, giving her so much more time to consider and act. She activated her own plasma-sword, the blade slightly longer than Abel's pair, glowing like the most vivid dusk. In her other hand, she held her heavy Havoc pistol - it would have looked quaint in regards to what they were facing and where they stood, if Sean didn't handle it with such assurance and capability. She knew at best it would be a minor irritant, that was all it was meant to be in this situation. <Start hitting the immortal cunt with what you've got,> Sean send to her companions, <so we can find out how she responds and I can figure out what will actually stick to end her rampage.> With each step Sean took, her presence seemed to grow more formidable, her ineffable beauty more searing and eye-catching. The glossy curves of her black PAM suit reflected the light of distant stars and galactic phenomena. Long hair that held all the colours of dawn and dusk lifted and flowed as though touched by a stellar wind. "We stand on the age of forever, Pandora," Sean declared, her rich, melodious voice seeming to resonate with the pulse of the universe itself, reaching well beyond the bounds of their glacial field of battle. "And yet, with all the options available to you by eternity and experience, you have reduced your options to but this." Sean encircled the battlefield with a gesture of her incandescent plasma-blade, her tone holding strong currents of pity, disgust, regret. Her fathomless turquoise eyes didn't leave Pandora's. Pandora towered over them all, wreathed in the power of her aroused fury, yet in her cool, calm defiance, Sean seemed to stand on an equal footing. Sean focused her cosmic awareness as singularly as she ever had on the terrible being before her and tuned her sense for personal danger to glean what she could of Pandora's likely manner of response and attack. Through her mask of resolve and defiance, she scrutinized every aspect of Pandora's quantum field, looking for a weakness, a crack, a seam to exploit that will end Pandora in truth. "We never wanted to be your enemy, Pandora. But you fear our potential, you who have never experienced potential having been... accreted into existence being all that you are. Never realizing growth, becoming greater than you are, better than you are. In studying us, working with us instead of only seeing a threat to your unchallenged dominion, you could have felt that, learned from us as we learned from you." Sean sighed, the gorgeous, compelling sound hold hints of melancholy, wistfulness, resignation, and determination. "Alas, all you'll learn in this moment, is that all things end. Hopefully, what begins after will be better for us all."
  15. Sean went still, her fingers light on Abel's arm, though he suspected if he tried to push pass, they'd clamp down with surprising force and intensity. The svelte and nubile young woman arched her neck, as though straining to see or hear something distant. Her nostrils flared as she inhaled slow and deep. "What is it, Sean?" Abel repeated. "Shhh!" Sean hushed him vehemently, her handing tightening on his arm, her huge, wide turquoise eyes blazing. She could remember having eyes strong enough to see individual cells and to make out details of other planets and stars during the day. Auditory faculties that made hearing a heartbeat from across an auditorium trivial, a sense of smell that could discern every single ingredient and substance in a restaurant, from the food, to what constituted each patron's clothing and shampoo. While her senses were still sharp and acute, now they were merely human. And yet... "Sara..." Sean whispered with heart-aching yearning. She caught Abel's eye. "I can smell her, Abel. The scent of her bodywash and her shampoo and the scent that is her's alone. An a sigh, as though she's standing right behind me with her chin resting on my shoulder, her breathe brushing my ear..." Sean's gorgeous, enticing eyes, the same eyes she seemed to have in every iteration, male or female were bright. She reached up with her free hand, as though to caress the woman that seemed to be right by her, but there was nothing there, nothing tangible. It was a thought that she had said not to dwell on, a hypothesis without an answer, when reality and facsimile were indistinguishable. But Sean had the thought now. "Are we still in the system or some version of it, and now Sara is trying to get us out, or communicate with us?" Sean wondered in a soft, wondering tone, the longing to see Sara again strong in her voice, to find out she wasn't really dead.
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