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Showing content with the highest reputation on 03/21/2021 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    Laurie padded silently downstairs on fuzzy bunny slippered feet, summoned by the smell of banana chaffles, bacon, and coffee after her morning shower. She'd slept fitfully, her eyes still felt a bit grainy, but feeling anxious and wired, she'd gotten up early to get ready for school and morning football practice. She might just be the kicker, but the coached still insisted for fairness sake. She wasn't even sure she could bring herself to go to school today after last night. She might have gotten up early, but not as early as her brother it seemed. She found him puttering stiffly around the kitchen, nibbling on a quarter of bacon-laden, three-cheese banana chaffle grilled cheese, and sipping from a big mug of coffee. Judging by how much was left in the pot, it was far from his first. His eyes were sunken and ringed by dark bags. Collecting her own life saving mug of hot brown morning potion, Laurie glanced around the kitchen. Sean must've made enough food to feed at least half again as many as lived in the house. The waffle-maker dinged and Sean fished out the pair of perfectly browned chaffles, adding them to the stack kept warm in the oven, along with the other half of the grilled cheese and a pan of bacon. She cocked her head, then looked down. She could hear the soft whir and thump of the dryer in the basement. Sean had done at least one load of laundry. He'd been busy. Laurie sat down at the kitchen table, inhaling the rich nectar of life before savoring her first sip of coffee in the morning. There were place settings already set out for her and their parents. Sean's plate held a few crumbs and dabs of cheese from the other quarter of chaffle grilled cheese he'd eaten, along with a sliced apple and sectioned orange. "You sleep at all?" she asked, her voice low in the house, more from habit than necessity. When she'd gone to take her shower, she'd heard mom and dad still talking. She was pretty sure they hadn't gone to sleep at all. "Some," Sean said, and Laurie took it to mean barely. He took the other half of the grilled cheese he'd made out of the oven, showing it to his sister balanced on a spatula and arching a questioning brow. He slid it onto her plate, scrunching up his nose as she began drowning it in maple syrup. Syrup on waffles, sure, but on a grilled cheese? Ugh, especially when he already put a bit in the batter. And she ate it with a knife and fork! "Philistine. You want another? Or just more chaffles? Eggs?" "'Nosher pwease!" Laurie said around a mouthful, point at her plate with her knife. "We've got two-a-day practice." Sean nodded, finished off his quarter of grilled cheese, took another sip of coffee, then fished out two more chaffles, buttered them, then started on preparing his sister a full banana chaffle grilled cheese sandwich. Grating some more sharp cheddar, monterey jack, and provolone, trying to lose himself in the mundane activity, as he'd been since the wee hours of the morning. He glanced over at his phone sitting on the counter. 26 sales for ReGenesis, mostly European. He hadn't thought about localizing the game yet. Honestly, he hadn't expected to be done before graduation, really. It would take some research, but afterwords, tasking a semi-autonomous program, he should be able to get it done. For some languages anyway. Could talk to Jase about-- "Mom talked to dad and me," Laurie commented. Sean grunted. He knuckled his back, stretching. He'd gotten off lighter than most of his friends, and Autumn's help notwithstanding, he was still sore, if not at bad as before his scant bit of troubled sleep. He really did need to get in better shape. Some at least, last night proved that. All he'd really done was run, fall down, and dive out of the way. Jase's teasing/not-teasing aside, he wasn't fat - except where most girls wouldn't mind some extra, curvy padding. What he was, was lacking muscle tone and even meager athleticism. Teagan had tried a few years ago, but she'd been a bitch about it, pushing him hard and he'd resisted through sheer contrariness. Jase or Cade wouldn't judge him if he asked for help, Jase would even approved in his understated way, but what worked for them wouldn't really work for him and seeing the disparity would just make him feel disheartened. And his pride wouldn't let him ask his younger sister for help, despite her getting taller, and more athletic as she practiced for the football team. YouTube maybe, or there might be someone else he could ask for help... "I'm really sorry 'bout Charlie, Sean." "I don't want to talk about it," Sean muttered. He reclaimed his sister's plate, flipping the grilled cheese onto it, then slid the plate towards her as he sat down across from her at the kitchen table. He stared blankly down at his mug of coffee, spinning it in his hands as Laurie profaned the chaffle sandwich with syrup. If Charlie wasn't his best friend, he'd still be a good one. A player in his games since the beginning. His loss hurt. That they hadn't been able to do anything to stop it before it was too late hurt even more. But what hurt the most was the shame he felt that he wasn't the one who'd been killed, been torn to pieces, the sense of relief he was still alive. Which seemed perverse, since he was the one who's life was ticking away faster than anyone else's. Into the leaden silence, Carolyn and Jack joined their children. Sean went to get up, to make his parents breakfast, but his father clapped him on a slender shoulder, gently, but firmly, forcing him back into his seat. "Stay seated, Sean. Finish your breakfast. You've done enough, we'll take care of the rest." Carolyn went to the coffee pot, pouring a cup for her husband and for herself, then started brewing a new pot. Jack took over breakfast duties, murmuring with his wife, starting to cook some eggs for the both of them as Carolyn started putting things away and cleaning dishes. Despite seeming having not slept at all, only a bit of redness about their eyes, the elder Cassidys appeared to be less affected by lack of sleep than their children. Over her mug of coffee, Carolyn watched her children. Laurie shoveled food in her mouth the way Teagan had when she'd had one of her bigger growth spurts and had really started working out, staring at her brother almost angrily. Sean looked sullen and resigned, absently eating apple and orange slices, glancing from his near empty plate to his phone and back. "I think you two should stay home today," Carolyn suggested. "Missing one day so early in the year, and considering yesterday and Cha - and what happened, I'm sure everyone will understand." "No!" the siblings said in sharp unison. Laurie hadn't been sure at first, but as soon as her mother suggested it, it was the last thing she wanted to do. "Coach has us on two-a-day practice this week and I'm not going to let them say the girl can't keep up!" "I... just need something... normal," Sean said over his sister. He gave a bark of bitter laughter. "Whatever 'normal' means now. If I stay home, I'm just going to seethe and wallow and think too much 'bout last night. I don't need - want - that." Their mother gave them a wan smile. "If that's what you want, kids. But if you change your mind, give me a call, and I'll authorize you guys leaving early." She wasn't under any delusions that both of them had never skipped a class before, but she wanted to cover her bases. And if it let her know where her kids were, all the better. After last night, she and Jack had really considered insisting on Sean and Laurie having tracking apps on their phones, but it was a battle they knew they wouldn't win. With what Sean could do, and even before his... abilities, they couldn't have gotten away with it anyway. "We won't," Sean and Laurie claimed again in unusual synchronicity. Carolyn sighed. Jack grunted. Talk about the kitchen turned to feigned normalcy, asking about football practice, the launch of Sean's new game - Carolyn had helped her son set up the business for his indy game studio Intersectional Interactive when he had developed Annwn - and what they wanted for supper. The meeting tonight and anything smacking of it was studiously, if obviously, avoided. Sean took his load of laundry from the dryer and brought it back to The Barn, shrugging into his freshly cleaned hoodie with the tree on it, tucking the loaner from Autumn under his arm. Laurie got her gym back and practice uniform and the siblings met up at Sean's SUV, who them drove them to school. A bit of the feigned normalcy turned real as Laurie reached for the radio, her other hand slapping Sean's away when he went to stop her. He sat back, flashing her a taunting smirk, as with a thought, he simply took control. His car, his rules, but it never stopped Laurie from trying to claim dominion over the radio. She huffed and folded her arms as Sean synched his phone to the SUV, listening to a playthrough of his game that was already streaming on Twitch. The Twitch Streamer... wasn't good, even Sean admitted that despite earnestly wanting to hear the early reactions to his game. It didn't help that the Streamer had a really thick accent, Scandinavian, Swedish maybe? 29 units sold. Laurie bolted out of the Grand Cherokee almost before it came to a complete stop, running for the field to join Cade and the rest of the football team, her gymbag bouncing on her shoulder. Sean followed more slowly, watching and listening to the Twitch Stream, hoping a more talented Streamer would start streaming ReGenesis in the next few days. Not wanting to go inside yet, Sean took a seat at the far end of the bleachers at the top, letting the fading chill of morning wash over him. Shelly High might be surprisingly well funded for a small rural town in Montana, but it still had shit coffee. Sean took a pull from the thermos he'd brought from home. Another day. Still alive.
  2. 2 points
    "Mr. Keane," Marissa approached Ian, Autumn's father. On his phone he was trying to remain as calm as possible as he directed the dispatch to their location. She saw that he was on the phone, but any situation demanded it's fair share of multitasking, this was it. He leaned the phone from her ear to signify that he was splitting his attention. "Do you have any blankets in your car? Maybe something you didn't unpack from the picnic last night?" He noted how calm she was, practically unphased by the sight, having missed the conversation between her and her brother moments before, but she was unnaturally composed, like an oracle wading through the fruits of her own warnings. Devin leaned in lowering his heat to pop into Autumn's field of vision. "Hey," he prodded her for attention. "You're doing great, Granola. He's going to be fine," his words were a soothing mixture of positive reinforcement and distraction in the hopes of calming her down. "Okay? If we can stop his bleeding, his body can do the rest. You got this, girl. Focus on what you have to do, not what's happening around you, it's what's always worked for me. We got this." He continued to press on the wound, not too hard as to not force the bullet through the tissue further, but enough to make sure the flow of blood was halted. "Plus, I have my shirt off, so that means I have to charge you by the minute for this lovely scene you are being allowed to behold, so... y'know, there's incentive." "Sure." Autumn said calmly, her lips brandishing the slightest hint of a smile. Still she seemed like she was blind, her focused on nothing but Jason's body, unblinking yet still seeing the whole of the scene around her. "Put it on my account for next time you do something stupid and you're the one down here bleeding." "That all I gotta do to get you to feel me up?" He replied in typical Devin-level sarcasm. "Pfft." "You're, uh, Marissa, right?" Ian asked her while tucking his phone in his jacket and popping the hatch with his key fob. "I think we have a few back here, might have dog hair on them, they're mostly used for the keeping them from shedding on the seats when we-" "They'll do." She said without looking in his direction. She scooped up the blankets and carried them over to the Marshals. Ian followed, not sure how he could help but willing to accept instruction. "You don't seem particularly phased by any of this." He looked at the two bodies. "Um, h-how can I help?" "Mr. Keane, between secret societies lead by demons, talking saber-toothed tigers, adopting a three thousand calorie a day diet, Autumn's hair regiment, and an interdimensional pus demon that lived in Viscera World," she cocked her head and offered him an unimpressed look. "I've seen my fair share of nightmare fuel. This? This is just another Tuesday in Shelly." She handed him a blanket and nodded towards Marshal Marshall. "Cover them up, keep them warm. Jason will need one too with the amount of blood he's lost." "You two seem to know a lot about this stuff," Ian pointed out while trying to cover the Marshal. She mingled a scoff with a chuckle as tried to cover Dale without tampering with her injuries too much. She silently cursed as the thought of knowing she couldn't do anything for them, shock was not something that was easy to treat on an unconscious patient and she'd done what she could. "Twenty-one day First Aid class. My mom made my brother and I attend when we were... eleven, I think?" She turned to her brother, "Hey was it eleven we took that course?" "Yeah," he nodded, speaking up so she could hear him. "It was right before Christmas and right before we turned twelve in February." "Riiiight," she nodded in recollection. "Some big role involving a hospital drama... our characters wouldn't have been involved with any of the hospital stuff, just the kids of one of the characters who was a doctor. Didn't stop mom though... three weeks of first aid classes, as research. Which reminds me, my CPR card is expired." "Em!" Devin shouted for his sister, looking away from Jason to address her. "Call Annette, or text her. Let her know what's happened. Maybe she can help." "On it!" she yelled back, winking at Ian for the punctuation of their conversation while she slid her phone out of her back pocket to begin scrolling for Annette's number. She pressed the button on her phone and waited there with a third and final puffed up blanket coiled under her arm. "Hi... Ms. Giles? Marissa." She confidently introduced herself on the SeanTech Jailbroke phone she was carrying. "Jason's been shot. I don't know! He probably just stoically glared at them until they just lost their shit and took aim, Lord knows I've wanted to strangle him a few times myself. No, no, Autumn is here, she's a freakin' rockstar. She's all over it, but we have two others in shock and I can't treat them and Autumn can't really leave Jason and... we're a bit in over our heads here." Her voice almost showed signs of breaking at those last few words, thinking of Jason and seeing how he was hurt badly was almost enough make her humanity rise the surface. Still, she remained composed, the quality that kept her reputation as Shelly's Ice Queen secured and pressed on. It was difficult for the next words to pass her lips, and she hated saying them, but she couldn't see any other option. "Ms. Giles, we need help."
  3. 2 points
    The trio of gleaming black vehicles- Jase's Charger, Marissa's Mercedes, and Devin's Ducati- were a strange, incongruous sight next to the unassuming sedan and the one that looked, at first glance, like some kind of law-enforcement thing. But Autumn didn't waste time trying to figure out which branch it might belong to, because as soon as her dad's SUV approached the impromptu parking area, she clicked off the seatbelt, flung open the passenger door despite her father's shout of protest and the sudden, jarring application of the brakes. She saw- -Marissa, standing over someone (?) near the side of the road. -Devin, shirtless and kneeling next to the driver's side of the predatory beast Jason was going to have to let her drive when her grades went up... Because that was the deal, right? -Combat boots. ...He wore those everywhere, which was kind of crazy considering how quietly he moved around, but they were super practical. It was one of those little quirks she appreciated about him, the fact that he didn't really care about all the superfluous stuff. -Long, slender fingers, relaxed in a graceful curve where his hand lay on the ground. ...The same fingers that felt so warm twined in hers, that faint current of something running between them. -Bright white towels stained red. So very, very red. Vivid as the roses he cultivated in the barn, fragrant blooms with velvet petals and dark thorns, their sanguine hue blooming here, instead, on the thick cloth pressed to Jason's chest, wound tight around his head. And then father and Range Rover and school were forgotten. She could feel the shift, the tactile crunch of the gravel underfoot as she sprinted across the road heedless of traffic, the sting of the rocks through her well-worn jeans as she hit her knees next to Devin. Even without seeing the wounds, the second she touched the unconscious telekinetic she could feel them, raw and brutal and life-stealing. The injury to his skull was the worst, the most immediately dangerous, but there was a fucking bullet in his chest, a weird alien otherness to the lump of metal she could only really feel by the shape of the pain around it. "All right, so... the one is fortunately-" Fortunately?! Jesus fuck, Autumn, how is anything about this fortunate?!- " just buried in the muscle between his ribs. Didn't hit his heart, or lungs, or..." Oh, Jesus. Oh, god, oh fuck. "Fuck," she swore. "Fuck, fuck, fuck. Um..." Okay. Okay okay okay. Think, Autumn. Focus. Running a trembling hand back over her hair, the ashen-faced redhead frantically tried to process what to do first, but her thoughts were racing too fast to keep hold of for longer than a moment. There was a vague sense that other people were also hurt nearby- one of them badly- but if those were the gunmen he'd mentioned in his text, well. Fuck them. They can wait. "Okay." Exhaling, she took hold of the makeshift terrycloth turban wound around Jason's brow. "Skull first. Right. Um, Devin." She glanced at the blood-smeared gymnast on her right, his handsome features a mask of concentration. "Keep pressure on his chest for me right now, please and thank you. I'm gonna need your help with that in a minute." She drew in another deep breath, gingerly peeling back the saturated towel as a quiet, choked sound escaped her throat at the sight beneath. No. No, no, no nonono. Fucking- You know, just no. Just fucking no. "We are definitely gonna need to talk about this whole head trauma thing," Autumn muttered shakily, her fingers slipping around the bloody line of her boyfriend's jaw. The fact that he'd survived at all was almost incomprehensible, as was the reason he'd been attacked in the first place, but they could deal with that later. Extending her senses, she let the faint icy ripples of his Shine intersect and resonate with her own, providing clarity as the young vitakinetic traced the jagged edges of the fracture with her power and painstakingly rejoined each fragment of splintered bone. She could feel the tiny flickers at the core of his cells, their vital energy responding to hers as she coaxed shrieking nerves and ruptured blood vessels together, weaving the visceral fabric of his flesh and life back into a coherent whole. As Ian watched, circling around his daughter to take in the horror of the scene before him, he saw her clear blue eyes go distant, darkening slightly with the expansion of her pupils. It was almost, he thought, like she was seeing something he couldn't, something beyond the frighteningly still form of the young man he'd just shared coffee with at the kitchen table the night before. He'd seen what Jason Bannon could do then, but this... This was someone's life, not manipulating kinetic energy, or however the boy had described it. That's not how the world worked. "I'm calling an ambulance," he announced tersely, grabbing the cell phone from his pocket and raking a fingertip over the screen. "This is-" "Crazy?" Devin supplied helpfully, leaning forward to keep his weight on the bullet wound. "Yep. And it's probably going to get a whole lot crazier. 911's not a bad idea, though." Jerking his head in the direction of his sister and the two Marshals, the athletic teen glanced briefly up at the elder Keane. "Those guys're gonna need it." Blinking, the older man looked from his daughter over to where Shelly's dressed-down beauty queen was grumbling at the two prone figures. "Shit," he sighed, and pressed the button to dial.
  4. 1 point
    He never dreamed. Perhaps it was a function of his mind, the way he'd trained and expanded on his already-prodigious mental gifts to harness even his subconscious, that area of the hominid mind where every experience, every sight, sound and smell was stored in one large databank, seldom accessed by most, those impressions and the unprocessed emotions they sparked only emerging in chaotic dreams that spoke of depths under the surface. For him, there were no emotions unprocessed, no memories that he could not access consciously. He could walk through a room and, ten years later, close his eyes and be back there once more, recalling the smell of the floor wash and the cologne and old cigarette smoke, looking around and recalling the spines of every book on the shelf he had glanced at. So Jason Bannon didn't dream. He remembered, with his mind in a curious state of REM sleep, lucidly wandering the halls of his mind palace, reliving experiences as his body rested. But not now. The damage to his body and mind demanded more than that and so he floated in black nothingness, a faltering heartbeat from oblivion, unaware and removed from his friends struggle to save his life. And then... the blackness he'd sank into faded away, leaving him in the Atrium, the central chamber of his mental realm, the garden of icons which represented those closest to him. The sunlight from overhead, normally clear, warm and bright, flickered and darkened now and then, red and black streaks permeating the radiance as the darkness which sought to claim him fully fought against the warm flood of power that inexorably pulled him out of its grasp. He couldn't move from here, could barely even look around right now, his minds eye turning as if through tar to take in the garden. The edges of everything looked fuzzy, and then too sharp, and then resolved themselves, the landscape quivering underfoot as things began to settle. And as his consciousness and sense of self began to resume normal service he became dimly aware of pain, though not aware enough to wake up just yet. = = = = = = = Sheriff Ian Alister had literally just settled into his chair in his office when the 911 call had come in. Jason Bannon, shot and wounded, with two unidentified shooters, both also down. As he raced from the sheriff department building and jumped into his Range Rover he wondered if this was perhaps some payback for the teens raid on the Crossroads hidden facility? Should he warn Cade? The Cassidy boy said he'd wiped all the security footage, though, so it was unlikely anyone could have zeroed in on one of the teens who'd attacked that facility this fast. Maybe his drug dealing caught up with him. Perhaps he's pissed off the wrong people. God knew it was more than possible - Bannon was acerbic and dismissive of authority. Still, Alister reasoned, he was Cade's comrade in arms, and the Sheriff had taken an oath to protect and serve. As he gunned the engine of his car and peeled off down the street, flipping the siren on, he was aware of the radio chatter indicating that ambulances and paramedics were on the way from Marias. = = = = = = = "Who was it?" Annette's voice was crisp and authoritative, not betraying her shock or anger at the new the watch officer had just dropped across her desk whilst she'd been drinking her morning tea and getting caught up on things. Her dark eyes, however, were narrowed dangerously as she looked up at the Air Force lieutenant. "Unknown as yet." the officer responded. "Two shooters, both down. Looks like the kid likely disabled them. We intercepted the 911 call two minutes ago, and given the mention of a Person of Interest I thought-" "Yes, thank you." Annette nodded, tapping her fingers for a moment. It was irritating to not know more, but that was hardly the fault of the man in front of her. "Get Major Taggart in here as soon as he can, please. And notify our personnel in the hospital. I want all eyes and hands on deck." As the watch officer saluted and left, Annette repressed the urge to swear like a Malay pirate. Though she'd only known them briefly, the Aeon representative felt a strong sense of personal accountability and almost big-sisterly protectiveness for the unusual and astonishing teens. Someone was going to have a bad day as a result of this, she grimly resolved as she lifted her phone and started to make some calls. Enough was enough. Branch 9 and her own people needed to stop with the territorial pissing match and start looking into how they could best work together with the Fellowship.
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