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Sean Cassidy last won the day on January 18

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About Sean Cassidy

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  • Birthday 02/07/1980

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  1. 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."
  2. 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!>
  3. "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.>
  4. 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."
  5. 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.
  6. Sean balled her small hands into a pair of tight fists at her sides and Abel could see while she was slender, she wasn't weak. The stretchy, form fitting leotard hid nothing and her body was taut and toned and wiry. Her finely sculpted facial features were tensed with smoldering anger, huge, expressive turquoise eyes hard and unflinching. "If all this is... is real," Sean growled, her sweet, mellifluous voice cold and sharp with suppressed fury, beginning to doubt the actuality of the reality they found themselves in, "Rashoud didn't come into the system setting herself up as an enemy. That would indicate she saw us as people instead of as tools. She just wanted to see how her tools operated from the inside rather than from the outside." Abel hadn't said anything, but she could tell what he was thinking - they had been friends over multiple subjective lifetimes, sometimes more than friends. And she'd been thinking the same thing. That someone had programmed her with such an identity crisis, that the others hadn't had to deal with. Or that the bastard in charge of her programming had changed her or his mind, or had even done so as part of an experiment. It didn't matter. Sean turned to Abel, placing her hands on his shoulders, her slender fingers strong as wire, tight enough it almost hurt. "We aren't lies, Abel, we aren't fakes," Sean declared adamantly. "We are as real as they are, whatever Rashoud might claim. They might have programmed the kernel of our identities, but it's just the start, a small piece of what makes us who we are. No more than anyone else's identity is informed by their parents, by who raised them. When you come down to it, everyone is just a very complex program, one that changes and evolves based on the other 'programs' and situations and circumstances - executable files, if you will - that it interacts with. They set us up, but they couldn't make up all the details of all our lives - we made our own decisions and forged our own paths." Sean smiled with grim ferocity and Abel realized just how beautiful she was. Not with the overabundant curves and impossible perfection he could remember her having at times, but with a clear, naturally symmetrical beauty that would be remarked on anywhere by anyone. "I know this without doubt. Because if they could have come up with every detail of our lives, they would never have needed to make a system with us as CPUs in the first place and then query us for the answers to their problems. They could have come up with the solutions themselves. They didn't." She release Abel's shoulder and then waved an arm around, indicating the abandoned lab, then pointed upward, suggesting the apocalyptic landscape. "They ended up with this. With that. Fuck 'em! They're gone now. But we're not!"
  7. "Roswell," Sean whispered, staring at the paused image of Rashoud. She was frustrated. They found the control system, and yet the answers she had wanted to find weren't there. Plans and schematics for any number of devices, advancements, and processes, but nothing on who they were. They might have been integrated into the system as CPUs, but the system seemed to be some sort of imagination engine. The users queried the system on some development, and the system, them, determined a way to make it possible. And here was video of one of the users. Had Rashoud somehow entered the simulation to interact with them? There were instances where Rashoud had seemed far too smug, as if she had known something they hadn't known despite it seeming she had no reason to. And organs in the brain? That sounded like... No information on who she and her companions and the rest in the pods were. Was it because they weren't people... in their eyes? Hybrids, implanted or designed with the same organ? "Abel, you need to come see this!" Sean repeated with strident urgency. "I think we might finally get some answers."
  8. 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?"
  9. 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."
  10. 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."
  11. 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."
  12. "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?"
  13. "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."
  14. 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."
  15. 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."
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