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Everything posted by Sean Cassidy

  1. "It's not exactly Borderlands tech - not counting the whole digitizing stuff," Sean agreed, pointing at the high-tech firearm with the crust of his second slice of pizza. "But it's not that far off. I'm a little surprised they didn't make inputs for multiple magazines, or a special magazine that hold multiple kinds of rounds and a selector, so they don't have to switch magazines entirely to get the ammo they want. Can really see why they went with RFID, for their needs, instead of something like biometrics. Far more practical and elegant a solution for them." Sean stood up and pattered around the gaming table to put the rest of his pizza in the fridge. Two pieces was about his limit in one meal, but he'd probably snack on another piece later, and besides, cold pizza was just about as good as hot. He walked back to the table and set his elbows on it, resting his jaw on his fists as he eyed the gun once more. "As for restricting its access... I already switched the frequency the tag is operating on. I can beef up the encryption and make a trigger chip we can put into a glove or ring or something for you to wear. I can't guarantee someone couldn't shut the thing off remotely - this is Shadowrun territory and they have at least one guy over there sort of like me when it comes to cyber voodoo - but I can make it a lot harder. To make it complete proof against a remote kill order, I'd have to strip out the tag and electrical components entirely. But then it would usable by anyone picking it up." Sean reached forward and claimed one of the magazines, and extracted one of the taser rounds. Holding it up between a thumb and forefinger, he gave the round a closer, cursory examination. It was really well crafted, definitely not something someone could make at home, at least, not without a fantastic workshop and a damned good 3D printer. "Testing a taser round shouldn't be hard." Sean shot Cade an impish grin a casually tossed the towering athlete the bullet. Cade instinctively caught the bullet, then flinched, hastily holding his drink away from him, then frowned at his height-challenged friend, who snickered. "Not gonna do it inside, dude. But I don't particularly want to be tased and while I could call Laurie, she's taller, stronger, and faster than me, and I still have to live with her. So you're up, Cade." Sean tossed his head, nodding towards the door. "Outside, other side of the barn so they can't see from the house. We don't actually need the gun, I can trigger the round, so you're spared that at least."
  2. "Just a minute! Coming!" came Sean's high voice through the door of the converted barn. He blinked his eyes and pulled himself out of the phantasmagoria of cyberspace, where he'd been working on his game without having to relay on the clunky interface of a keyboard to write code. When you could translate the thoughts and ideas in your head directly into (virtual) reality, it made designing and programming a video game so easy, so easy in fact, that the options available to you could be bewildering if you didn't constrain yourself. It also made losing track of time a definite rather than a possibility. Sean spun around in his chair and hopped out, rushing towards the front door as he saved his progress and powered down the dedicated, isolated server he developed his games on with a thought. Sean had initially tried not to rely on his growing psionic powers too much, but, well... with the ease and convenience they lent to his interests and hobbies... He didn't even feel guilty anymore. Sean opened the door and waved Cade in, standing up on his toes and inhaling deeply as the pizzas passed by his face, the Triforce on his green shirt distorting. "Smells good. Didn't realize how much time's past, nor how hungry I am." The buxom boy got a couple of plates and set them on the gaming table he and his dad had made, the cover hiding the sunken area holding the grid map, terrain, and miniatures from their last gaming session, a few assorted dice still sitting in the shallow trough ringing the table. They each claimed a few pieces and started eating. After a while and sating his initial hunger, Sean waved an impatient hand. "Okay, let's see this thing and see if I can figure anything out about it." Sean might not have been familiar with shooting guns, but he was familiar enough with their mechanical components and design, having done some research so he could add verisimilitude to the firearms in Regenesis and to the modding and crafting subsystems. Had to have those in open world RPGs now, and he liked them too, and tried to add multiple mechanical functions to each skill in the game, to make different play styles viable. It the high-tech weapon had electrical or computerized components, well then, he could have a 'discussion' with them and learn a great deal more.
  3. Sean had slapped Devin's pointing finger away from his face, giving his former bully a scowl, but in his two-toned eyes, there had been a reluctant sympathy. There was more had wanted to say, but not to everyone - not to anyone, really - especially not now when there was more to discuss. But it might help Devin. Devin had felt his phone vibrate. The top-heavy teen hid a reticent squirm under retrieving a pair of clementines from his cooler bag and packing away the remnants of his lunch before. He had something he could add to the discussion about the thing at Site B, but he agreed with Autumn that it would just be a distraction from the Cody situation. He just didn't agree for the same reasons. He wasn't as good a dissembler as, say, the Jauntsens, and he was afraid if he started to talk about what Dr. Cook had told him, it would inevitably lead to why he had to go to Site B, and he certainly didn't want to make it about him. There was so much danger to go around, not only to him, but to the rest of the Fellowship, and possibly their loved ones too, it felt entirely conceited. Sean narrowed his eyes in thought, trying to puzzle out the pieces. Cody had always been a shit to him, so he found it hard to feel much sympathy for the monster he had apparently become in actuality. Though he supposed it they could pull him back from the Dark, it would be a genuine victory over it, and it might even weaken the Dark, if it fed, was strengthened, but the misery it inflicted and urged others to perpetrate. "We're going to have to circle back to these Aliens and Site B later - if these aliens are so scared that we would develop psionic powers that they put some sort of shield over the entire planet, why didn't they just destroy the life-bearing capability of the planet instead? Or the planet itself? If they can do one, they should be able to do the other." Sean waved the thought away with a shake of his hand, and started peeling his clementine before he continued on the tangent, as intriguing and irritating it was. He nodded at Charlie and Autumn, and tried not to think if what he was going to ask might be a possible solution to his own problems. "But, if destroying this, skull-spirit-entity-thing does release it or the Dark's hold on Cody... Charlie, Autumn, do you guys think if you linked your respective powers, you might be able to, er, restore him to something like Cody Classic? I know, it's thinking ahead, but if there is a chance to do something like that, it'll change how we go in to engage him."
  4. Sean shot Marissa a scowl. He'd was trying to put Kat at ease, at least he wasn't talking about something as inane in the grand scheme of things, as bloody Homecoming and the school play. Okay, that might be a little unfair. He understood the value of holding onto normal things, mundane things, in a world that had gone as topsy-turvy and downright scary as theirs had become. And if he didn't care as much about Homecoming or the school play as others, well, he had been working on his video an awful lot lately. He wanted something to leave behind in case he didn't make it through all this, something more than just memories. He knew it for a grandiose sentiment, especially when he didn't really believe he would die... At least, not from the Dark. That at least would be a... better death, to go down fighting, rather than falling apart. Probably would hurt a lot more, be a lot more messy. Either way, it was game over, man. Souring his own mood, the intersexed young man's brows rose in surprise at Devin, and Cass trying to console, to comfort, him. Devin was many, many things, but never unsure, never afraid. Or at least, if he ever was, he never let anyone see it. He was now, and it made Sean feel awkward. Devin had been trying to change, was changing, but Sean couldn't forget all the bullying at his hands, even as he made his own concerted effort to get over it, to leave it behind. "It's dangerous to go alone," Sean said with surprisingly resolute firmness, quoting one of his favourite video game series, "... so this time, you won't. I don't have a sword to give you - I can manipulate photons, but haven't worked out the details for a lightsaber. Yet." A brief grin danced across the delicate boy's face. "But I'll go with you, as will Jase, and Cass, all of us. We'll be the sword and cut the Dark to pieces." Sean spoke with a forthrightness, a declarative authority his friends rarely heard unless he was DMing, or talking about computers or video games. Jason arched a brow and Sean shrugged a shoulder. "I was going to add some junk about 'safeguarding the realms of men' and 'bringing light to the darkness', but it seemed a bit much, y'know, a little cliched." Sean's smiled faded as he grew more serious. "As for getting to the Other Side, there might be another way to get there, or help with the transition. Your particular voodoo might make you vulnerable, Devin." Sean pointed at the copper-looking dimensional anchor about his wrist. "But the only other time some of us were yoinked over there, was at the Trailer. If the Dark can - or could - pull us over anywhere, why there? I've been studying the weird-as-fuck-radio from there, and so far, all I can tell is that has ridiculously long range, and can apparently receive and transmit on just about any frequency. And the trailer, it has a Faraday Cage, or something akin to it, and from what Cook said, it belonged to Kline. The same Kline with deep access to Site B, where they were doing something big, and the Dark whammied them. My thought it, the Dark sent a signal, the radio picked it up, and interacting with what we took for a faraday cage, pulled a smaller version, or a slightly different version of what it pulled at the hospital. If we can figure it out, figure out the right signal, we might be able to do that ourselves, open our own door to the Dark. Or, at minimum, make it easier for you, Devin, give you a previously travelled path to follow." Sean panned his odd eyes around the group, his friends, and potential friends, given time and opportunity. "We have someone who can go anywhere, someone who can see anywhere, someone who can be just about anything. One who can manipulate kinetic energy and the movement of molecules, one who can manipulate the electromagnetic spectrum and pretty much anything that uses electricity, and one who can manipulate life itself. And now, someone we don't even know what they can do yet." Sean made a small gesture as though poking at something with something small and pointy held between his thumb and forefinger. "Boop! Why shouldn't we be able to poke a hole in the membrane of reality? We've been doing the impossible for weeks, now."
  5. The two other red-heads of the Fellowship were unmistakable as they headed towards the bleachers from the far end of the field, walking side by side. One was so tiny and slim, she might have been an escapee from the elementary school next door, while the other was only a few inches taller, but with a figure that was anything but child-like. From a distance, Sean and Kat did have the illusion of familial connection, their hair shades of red not far apart, and a somewhat similar cast to the shape of their faces. But they way the moved with each other, they way their personal spaces interacted, gave away that they weren't related. Even at a distance, most people at school could recognize it was Sean and Laurie, or Devin and Jauntsen, or most of the other siblings at Shelly High, just by the way their carried themselves with the other. One of the guys on the field yelled out a laughing comment towards the two red-heads, but it seemed Sean didn't hear it or was completely ignoring it until he casually flashed him a middle finger without even bothering to look in the boy's direction. His friends on the field laughed at his expense, not getting a reaction from what was usually an easy target. His parents had been up late, Sean had seen the light on in their bedroom from the barn. He had wondered what they had said to each other about what he'd told them, and was still wondering about it in the morning, still worried if he had made the right decision to tell them. To distract himself, he'd thrown himself into joking with his friends and talking about more mundane matters, and his Sherpa duties in regards to Kat. Sean glanced at Kat from the corner of his eye as they scaled the bleachers towards his friends. The smaller teen had been unusually uncommunicative this morning, her eyes and attention flitting almost manically about as always, but there was no attention, no thought behind her gaze, her mind travelling elsewhere. He was no expert, but he did paint models and minis, and had noted the light feminine coating of make-up adorning Kat that she'd been devoid of since he'd met her, that still didn't conceal the dark circles under her eyes or the slight haggardness to her features. He'd also noticed the better fit to her jeans, hinting more of her slim, but far from child-like figure, and he idly wondered if she had had the clothes already or had somehow found time to go shopping. He hadn't brought it up with her terse, tense mood. Getting her to talk at all had been like pulling teeth, almost as bad as trying to get Jase to say anything when he was in a mood. Sean had broken through her introversion a little during art class, when he'd started talking about a few new monster designs he had added to his game, and that had lead to talk about music and they both found out they played with keyboards and synthesizers. Kat had been distracted, but it was something. "Sorry we're running a bit late, Cass," Sean apologized, sitting on the bleachers with his back to the field. "Got held up after Art. Kat had to sign up for and pay for supplies for the term, and got assigned a few extra projects to make up for the ones she missed." Sean gave Cade a surreptitious nod, saying he hadn't said anything about what he'd called him about and wouldn't, and did passably well on not letting his eyes linger on the appreciative display to Cade's side. Even if he was growing more accepting of his appearance - despite all the trouble it had caused him and was causing him - he couldn't see himself ever wearing something that low cut. Must be cool though when it's hot and humid... For a moment, did picture himself in something similar, then snorted at the mental image as he dug out a ham sandwich and a bottle of Pepsi from his cooler bag. Besides being sent home before he got within a hundred yards of the school, he'd simply fall out. He took a sip of his drink, the cola a bit slushy from the light freezing he'd given it to keep it cold. "What's up? We didn't miss anything, did we?"
  6. The spiced and savoury scent of baking stuffed peppers and stuffed mushrooms wafted into the living room. Sean's pale face was shaded into mixing hues of red, green, and yellow as orbs of condensed, deadly photons hovered about his head. Like Ioun Stones, now that Sean considered with a wan grin. His parents hadn't noticed he'd been manipulating the images from his laptop to the TV without an interface or had just thought it some big of technological trickery. So he had made some other, more flamboyant demonstration. His mom had gasped and his dad's eyes had widened in surprise, but they hadn't really believed. His dad still didn't, trying to figure out how he'd done what he had. His mom seemed to have reluctantly come around after he had asked her to trust him and tuned up the efficiency of the electrical impulses in her brain. She believed, but it didn't make her happy. "So, you're psychic? What does that mean, exactly?" Carolyn asked her son with tense interest. "Does is have something to do with this 'Dark' you mentioned?" "Psionic," Sean absently corrected. "Pardon?" Carolyn said, while her husband folded his arms and glowered, trying not to humour his son and wife, though doubt was seeping in. "Psionic, not psychic, it's a minor distinction, but one I'm keeping," Sean explained. "And it means I, and others like me have a means to manipulate or influence specific underpinnings of reality, in certain ways." "Harrumph!' Jack Cassidy groused. "Hey! I didn't say we were breaking the natural laws of the universe, it just looks that way," Sean protested. "Actually, I think we're actually still bound by them. It's just... we're able to read the super fine print and have access to, um, clauses and sub-articles, others don't." The slim, curvaceous boy nodded towards the kitchen. "Supper smells ready. Can we continue this over food?" ~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~ "So, who else is psy - excuse me, who else is psionic?" Carolyn queried casually, blowing gently on a forkful of red pepper, rice, and sausage to cool it. "All your friends who were quarantined with you at Marias, I suppose?" Sean stiffened, then swallowed down the stuffed mushroom he had in his mouth with a hard gulp. "I'd... rather not say, mom. I'm telling you what I can, because shit has gotten serious and I think you'll be safer if you know what's going on. But I don't know everything others may have said to their parents or what they want others to know 'bout them." He took a sip of water then worried at a lip, before nodding to himself. "He's been over a lot over the years, and I don't think he'll mind much, but Jase is psychokinetic." "Which is... he can move things with his mind?" Jack ventured, giving his head a small shake that he was even indulging this fantasy. "Handy, that." "Among other things. Fly, for one. He can move, slow, or speed up atoms, I think," Sean expounded. He saw the looks on his parents' faces." I can shock things and shoot them with lasers. He can freeze them or set them on fire." Sean took several quick bites of his own stuffed pepper, then cocked his head to the side in thought. "Wasn't quite as weird as Jase revealing that he is a psychopath." "What? Don't say such a thing, Sean," his mother scolded him. "Jase is a perfectly nice and polite boy, despite having such a hard life." Sean ran his fingers down his face from hairline to chin in frustration. This should have been another conversation. "Okay, about psychopathy..." ~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~ "Aliens, now? Government conspiracies and black ops agencies and secret bases under the hospital and prison? And Dr. Cook is all part of it?" Sean's father didn't quite bellow, pacing agitatedly through the living room, and running a hand through his thinning hair. "Sean, this sounds like one of the games you and your friends play." "It does," Sean admittedly, perching on the arm of the recliner to stay out of his dad's way. "I mean, I'm living it, and I wouldn't believe it is I hadn't seen it for myself, heard it from Dr. Cook himself. But it's real." He nodded at the TV, where he had shown them some - specifically edited - scenes he had captured from the Crossroads escapade and the events at Marias. "I wouldn't take any jobs at the prison, hospital, or on base, if I were you. Y'know, just in case." Jack gave his son a disgruntled look. He contracting business was a small one, so he didn't get many contracts from that group, and not big ones, and while he would miss the income, if what he son said was true, he had no intention on bidding for those contracts, let alone work for them. "I find it hard to believe Dr. Cook was part of this, has done all you say he has, hun," Sean mother said once again, with a sad shake of her hair, twisting a curl of pale, strawberry blond hair in an old habit that only cropped up when she was stressed. "He seemed so nice, and did so much good for you." "He did," Sean agreed with a sad, resigned grin. "But I think the good he was doing for me was really for him, to assuage all the guilt he felt for the bad he'd done, what lengths he's gone through in the pursuit of discovery." Site B... "He has helped me, but it doesn't make up for everything else he's done." "... Does this psionic ability, or did Dr. Cook, have anything to do with... well, with, you, Sean?" Carolyn's voice was gentle, but she couldn't help but ask, her blue eyes bright with unshed tears. "No, that's all me." And it's gonna kill me. Sean's grin turned brittle and tight, hurt to see the pain in his mother's eyes, the guilt that she hoped his awkward, unconventional development was due to another's influence and not something she'd done, even if was only contributing to his messed up genetics. ~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~ Sean sat on the porch swing under the covered veranda, rocking slightly. The old quilt his grandmother had stitched that usually rested on the swing, he pulled about his shoulders against a cool night breeze as he watched the stars, as he gave his parents some privacy to discuss what he had disgorged upon them. Turing, his grey cat, prowled out from under the swing and leapt up onto his lap. Green-yellow eyes regarded him impassively, head tilted slightly as he chirruped questioningly, then Turing began to purr as Sean absently pet him, brushing his cheeks and stroking him under the chin. There was supposedly a crashed alien spacecraft at Site B. Was there another, others, up there watching Earth? There was a soft footfall on the hardwood planking of the veranda and Sean recognized as his mother's gait, but didn't turn to look. Wordlessly, she joined him on the porch swing. Carolyn wanted to put her arms about her middle child, but Sean had grown reticent with being touched as he'd grown into his teens, so she contented herself with just bumping his shoulder with her own. "You know, when you said you had something to talk about with us, Sean, neither I nor your father even suspected it was something like this," she said, a bit of exhausted humour leavening her tone. "Yeah?" "Mmm-hmm. We thought you were going to tell us you were planning on a more... drastic, or surgical option to deal with condition, one way or another." Sean slowly craned his neck to look at his mother. She looked back, brows raised, expression patient and concerned, and judgement-free. There was the barest curve to one side of her mouth, bemused at her own jump to conclusion and being so blindsided by what Sean had actually told her. Sean laughed. It started as fitful, stifled giggles, then grew into full blown, full bellied guffaws. He laughed so far his cheeks hurt and it started to hurt to breathe. "All this stuff is happening," Sean hiccuped, trying to regain his breath. "And while I still don't care much for how most people who know treat me, or the comments they make, I'm actually starting to be okay with how I am. I can even see maybe liking it, someday." And it might kill me.
  7. Sean parked his deep green Grand Cherokee in the driveway of interlocking bricks that he and his two sisters had helped their father lay down several years ago, staring contemplatively at the old farmhouse that had been the Cassidy residence since pretty much there ever was a Shelly. For a moment, he reconsidered whether he should tell his parents everything - okay, almost everything - then gave his head a vehement shake before hopping out of his vehicle, locking it with a directed thought. Since he had developed as he did and more or less moved into the Barn, his parents had largely left him to his own devices. Laurie had mentioned it before, but Sean had known it for truth, even if he hadn't consciously admitted it to himself. His interactions with his dad in particular had shifted as he had entered his tweens and teens, and it wasn't just his interests being more in computers and video games instead of home renovations. His parents were supportive, loved him nonetheless, but even to them, he was strange, weird. And after this evening, he would be even stranger, weirder, to them, if he could make them believe. Sean went into the Barn and got his laptop - not the blue one, the red one he used for gaming and multimedia projects - then slipped into the rambling, single story farmhouse that had accreted additions over generations of Cassidy's. Sean found his mother in her office, either working on their finances or a client's. "Hey, mom." "Oh!" Carolyn Cassidy gave a surprised start and spun around to find her son standing in the doorway. "I didn't hear you there, Sean." She noted the uncharacteristically sombre expression on his face. "What's wrong? Bad news." "News. Not necessarily bad," Sean said. "I have to tell you and dad something, something big. Where's dad?" "He's at the Dobsons, finishing up the new shed and fencing," Carolyn replied with a faint hint of concern in her warm voice. She'd felt there had been something going on with Sean and his friends lately, and then there was the false alarm quarantine yesterday. "He should be back in time for supper. What is it? Should I call Laurie, make sure she's here to hear this too?" "Laurie already knows," Sean admitted, giving his mom an apologetic shrug. "Most of it, anyway., and I just dropped her off as Jase's - he's helping her out with something. I didn't want to worry you and dad, but now, I think you should know." "I... see," Carolyn said, her concern hardly ameliorated. Other than with his few close friends, Sean was rather introverted, not that she blamed but this was starting to worry her. She turned back to her laptop for a moment to save her work and shut the computer down, then spun back and stood up. "Well, then, let's get supper ready, so that's out of the way for when your father returns and you can say... what you have to say while it cooks. How do stuffed peppers sound?" "Sounds great, we can make some bacon stuffed mushroom caps to go with them." Sean preferred baking - it was all math to him, A + B at X heat for Z time = delicious - but enjoyed cooking just fine, which was good, since his parents insisted all their children help around the house and Sean preferred cooking to doing the dishes. Sean prepared the red and yellow peppers and the portabello mushroom caps, and cut up the veggies and gathered the herbs and spices, while Carolyn squeezed out the innards from the casings of Italian sausages and prepped the brown rice and bacon. Son and mother worked with experienced familiarity in the kitchen, neither of his sisters having much deftness with making food beyond toast, cereal, and coffee. Sean and Carolyn just put the stuffed peppers and stuffed mushroom caps in the oven, when, almost as though it was perfectly timed, Jack Cassidy entered the house, work boots thudding on the carpet in the front vestibule. "Smells good already, guys," Jack claimed as he made into the kitchen with a smile on his face, opening a post work beer from the fridge in the garage with a twist of his strong, calloused hands. He glanced over the island as he took at seat at the worn but well maintained oak kitchen table that was almost as old as the house. "What's in the oven?" "Stuffed peppers and stuffed mushroom caps," Carolyn said with subdued serious and a caring smile as she squeezed his strong shoulder and bent over to kiss his balding head. "Sean has something he wants to speak to us about." "Does he?" "I do," Sean said firmly, turning from the sink where he'd just finished washing the pans and mixing bowls. He dried his hands with which and green checked towel, and nodded towards the living room. "There's a lot, but we can start while supper is in the oven." Sean walked briskly, plucking up his laptop in passing, his parents following more slowly with concern and curiosity. Sean could hear his mom say she didn't know what this was about either in response to his dad's muttered inquiry. His laptop was already opened and turned on on the coffee table, as was the TV, before his parents took a seat together on the couch. Some visuals aids might help besides the demonstration he was planning on making. Sean pursed his lips and spread out his awareness, very keen about any possible voyeurs or interlopers after the events of yesterday. "So... this is going to be a lot, and at first, unbelievable," Sean began, standing before his parents as though giving a presentation at school. "But bear with me. I'm going to start with Shelly itself as a bit of background. You know how there seem to be some rather... unconventionally dark and violent events in our town's history?" "Every small town in America has it secrets and shames, hon," Carolyn ventured uncertainly. "Perhaps, but Shelly has more than its fair share," Sean continued. On the TV appeared clippings of many such events Jason had collected in his research and Sean had digitized, along with some that Sean had dug into on his own. "It goes back to the beginnings of Shelly, and well before that. And it's not mere coincidence or happenstance. It's affected our directly too, before now, I believe. That's why we're the only Cassidy's left in Shelly, when we used to be one of the biggest families around. You see, these... events occur on a regular cycle, every 27 years." "Violence ain't like a swarm of locusts, of cicadas, Sean," Jack said with a frown. "In this case, it is," Sean countered with unflagging certainty. "I have an uncle you guys never talk about, your brother, dad, who left Shelly, when was it?" Jack's frown deepened as he shared a look with his wife Sean couldn't quite decipher. "I'd say it was about 26 years ago and that is about all I'm prepared to say on the matter." "Mm-hmm, hold on to that thought. 26 years, and the cycle that we've found is scheduled to start in about a year, from what we can tell. There's a reason for these events, a darkness to Shelly, a Darkness behind, beneath the land where Shelly is. But there is also a Light that has been bred here, a Shine, a... Radiance that can fight against the Darkness." Sean took a deep breath, then walked pass the point of no return, for himself and his parents. "It all started, for us, at least, during a party a few weeks before the start of school..."
  8. Sean exited the Marias Medical Center after his friends, wide exotic eyes wincing at the last sharp rays of light before the sun sunk below the horizon. The shapely intersex boy drifted over to his SUV with a loose languor, almost as though he was sleepwalking. His brain still psionically overclocked, he was hyper-aware of all the stimuli his senses were processing - the waning heat of the evening, the rustle of leaves and branches of the decorative trees and bushes, the lingering traces of exhaust and cigarette smoke permeating the parking lot, and more. Yet, when Sean reached his Grand Cherokee, he blinked in surprise at finding his parents and younger sister Laurie already there. Carolyn Cassidy swooped in and hugged her only son, ignoring the slight stiffness he always had with physical affection since he entered his awkward puberty. After a moment, he hugged her back. His mother, nor his father and Laurie, missed his long and wan expression. "Sean, are you okay?" Carolyn asked, barely suppressed worry in her tone, as she took a step back, but didn't let go of her son. "We were so worried, and they wouldn't tell us anything. ~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~ He had needed to know, and after sharing a look Giles and Taggart had agreed to his request. He had even acceded to their request and wouldn't mess their recording devices. He hadn't wanted others to hear this particular conversation, but if it was the price for access, he would play nice, for now. He had watched Dr. Cook for a time from the other side of the security glass wall fronting his cell. The slumped shouldered doctor had returned his gaze with a resigned equanimity, as though he had expected this. "It was mentioned that we - the Fellowship - weren't part of the program, yet you took a decided interest in me and my condition. Was it just to study... me, or did you have some reason to believe it had something with what I ended up being capable of?" Sean had said. He had tried to keep his voice level, controlled, but his tone rose stridently as he continued, cupping his capacious bosom crassly. "Did any of your tests or the medication I've been prescribed have anything to do with my development? Did you do this to me?!" "You were my personal side-project, Sean. I did not cause your condition any more than I caused your friend's psychopathy - both are innate to yourselves," Dr. Cook had replied, sympathetic, regretful, ashamed. "I hoped to treat you using the advanced techniques I have learned as part of Kline's project. Those with your particular collection of conditions have a very short life span, Sean. I hoped to extend it at worst, perhaps even eliminate the negative effects it will have on you as you become a full adult." Cook seemed calm, if melancholy, perhaps forlorn. Tasting the confluence of electrical impulses through his nervous system, Cook hadn't appeared to be lying. ~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~ "It's okay. I'm... okay, it's fine," Sean claimed. Laurie folded her arms and tossed her head as she glanced around at others of the Fellowship with their own families, clearly sensing bullshit. Sean gave her a minute shake of the head, noticing Laurie stood a distinct inch, inch and half taller than their mother and idly wondered if she would end up at tall as Teagan. "It's just not all what it seems," Sean added. "I'll tell you what I can, when we get home." Sean had hoped ignorance could protect his family, his parents at least once Laurie had poked her head in - and then the rest of her - but that wasn't good enough now. They had to know at least some of what was happening. Maybe add an app to their phones that could immediately contact him if the Dark came after them. He should probably do that for all the parents, at least the ones who's kids had told them what's what. "But right now, I just wanna go home, leave this place." These people, for a time, at least. "We get it kiddo," Jack Cassidy said, after sharing a look with his wife. "Home it is. We'll grill something up for supper. And just tell us... what you feel comfortable with." ~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~ "And, did you? Eliminate those negative effects, or at least some of them, enough that I'm not looking at death just after, or even before graduating?" he had demanded, leaning forward as through he could drag the answers out of Cook through his cell. Cook had looked at him somberly, obviously weighing his words, until finally sighing very slightly. "I... don't know. Perhaps I have extended the clock by a couple of years, but the sheer genetic dissonance, the warring as different genes with radically different purposes work against each other...? Your condition is fatal. I have been able to hold back the degradation of your body, but that was always a losing battle. Without being alarmist, soon you will start to experience negative symptoms, whether I keep helping you or not." He had shaken his head with a sense of defeat. "Perhaps more than this whole black project nonsense, that is the failure I feel worst about." "Bummer." Terse and tight, he hadn't been able to keep the anger out of his voice. He had just thought it a matter of controlling his hormones, not a death sentence. Dr. Cook had motioned for him to lean closer to the glass, conspiratorially. He had glanced back, only to see the door still closed, then had sidled up to the glass, willing to hear what Cook had to say. "Site B," Cook had hissed. ~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~ Sean climbed up into the driver's seat of Little Bigfoot, Laurie climbing the passenger side rather than riding with their parents. He sat still, jaw tight, fingers white-knuckled on the steering will, just staring ahead without even turning his vehicle on. His mother gave him a concerned look from the passenger side of his dad's work truck, and he forced a smile on his face, giving her a wave and a nod that he'd see her at home. As their parents drove away, Laurie saw something she couldn't remember the last time she saw. A single tear sliding down the enviable curve of her brother's cheek. "What is it?" she asked softly, no demand or teasing in her voice, just deep concern for her very strange brother. Sean was silent for a long moment, then slumped back against the seat. "It's killing me." "What is?" "My lips, my hips, my tits, everything that makes me more girl than boy," Sean admitted in low, snarling fury. He slammed his hand on the steering wheel, then the other. "I'm finally starting to be okay with it, even liking it some, in someways, and fucking Cook tells me its gonna fucking kill me. A few years, symptoms showing up soon than that." Laurie swallowed a surprised gasp. Nothing Sean, or their parents, had told her had ever mentioned suggested this, nor anything she had painstakingly overheard. "He... Cook could be lying. He's lied about so much else." "Not about this," Sean countered sharply. "Nor about having a cure, having a fix." For the first time, Sean turned his head to look at his sister, his strange eyes almost incandescent with a furious resolve. "But there might be somewhere to find one." ~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~ "There is technology at Site B - it is the reason Site B exists, Sean - to try and crack open a trove of technology so advanced that it might as well be magic," Cook had said in conspiratorial honesty. "A vessel. A massive ship, like a space-going Ark, caught somewhere between our plane of existence and another one, phased into the rock surrounding it. No terrestrial medicine can help you. But perhaps something there can, if you can find a way in. The quantum surge that this 'Dark' used for it's own purposes? That was the Key, a cyclotron device Site B is using to try and open the door." Cook had sighed and sat back on the spartan cot of his cell. "I am already in trouble, so I lose nothing by telling you all this. Kline has Site B entirely under his control. He has for years." Huh. That hadn't been at all what he had expected Cook to say. "I know most of my friends hate you, or at least hate and are disgusted by what you've done. I am too, to some degree. But thanks for what you've tried to do for me, at least." He had glanced over his shoulder to see if the guards were coming, but the door was still closed. "You - they - haven't found a way in yet? You've must've gotten something from it, to have developed some of this tech." "As I understand it, initially the vessel welcomed people aboard. We made some light-year jumps in technology from that early phase. Then, for reasons I am unclear about, it sealed itself off. You must appreciate that Site B was never my focus." "I appreciate it less now that you say it's only something there that'll have save me from a shortened, if over-endowed, life." "Perhaps. If such a technology exists anywhere, then it is there. A slim hope at best, I know." "If a slim hope is all there is, I guess I'll take it." The door had opened behind him at that moment and an Airman told him his time was up. He hadn't put up a fuss, just given Dr. Cook a nod, thanking him for what he had tried to do at least, then followed the Airman out. He had stopped by to see Giles and Taggart before leaving, giving them a hard, brittle look. They had returned it unwaveringly, though their eyes was tight. When he had asked if they could provide him a spare holoprojector, just to look at and try to figure out, they had denied him, all of them knowing he had really wanted to asked about something else, and while his patience might have been greater than, say, Jason's, it was still finite, especially considering it might be the only way he might have a full life. ~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~+~~ "Site B," Sean said firmly as the SUV bloomed to life with a though. "One way or another, I'm going to Site B." "You really plan on telling mom and dad about all weird in Shelly?" Laurie asked. There was no doubt in her voice that he would tell her everything. "Most of it. Not the dying part. Not until every option or far-fetched idea is exhausted and there's nothing left. And you aren't either. You better not, Laurie. But the rest, yeah, most of it. Shame and secrets, I think they just make the Dark stronger."
  9. Sean couldn't suppress a smirk of his own at Sophia's burn, though he didn't notice the look on the equally busty redhead's face after Marissa smiled at her. His awareness focused more on cyber space, he waved a negligent hand in the air, and one of the holographic displays shifted to move into line with his gesture. "The team is coming back with a pair of rescues in addition to Eddy," Sean said for Kat's benefit, a tightness to his sweet voice, large vivid gem-hued eyes focused elsewhere. "Mother. Fucker! It's the same guy," Sean suddenly cursed, banging the table with a small fist, sitting taut and straight in his chair. "Who is?" Ms. Giles asked with affected cool calmness as she shared a glance with Taggart. "The guy, girl, thing, whatever they have trying to regain control of the system," Sean explained, as he swam and dove around digital streams of prismatic light and multi-hued shadows, skirting around the other presence in the system, evading it's notice as he tried to find out where it came from, trying to get a hint of what it was. "It paid my place a visit once while I wasn't there... just looked around from what I could tell, like a damned creeper trying to sneak a peek." "And he is like you, Miss...ter Cassidy?" Taggart asked, slipping slightly, at the sight of the striking, shapely Sean straining in conflict with an unseen opponent. "Has the same capabilities?" "Yes. No," Sean replied tersely. "He can do something similar, but in a different way. This isn't just a hacker with super special gear and codes. He's in the system, like me. Sort of." Sean sighed in frustration, trying to explain a phenomena that really needed to be experienced to understand. "He's... strong. This is going to sound conceited, but think of it this way. I'm an artist here, subtle and, uh, elegant. This guy? He's in demolitions. I'm dancing around him, but soon, there isn't going to be anything left for me to dance on, and he's gonna take control of what's left." For a moment, Sean's awareness flicked from the digital realm to the realm of meat and blood, his gaze going to Giles and Taggart. "Do you guys have any idea of what the hell Kline was doing over there?" Annette Giles shook her head, her expression tight with anger as she calmly answered "Until today, we didn't even know of the existence of a Site C." Taggart was less restrained verbally as he muttered "Fucking Kline." even as his eyes tracked the action going on on the monitors.
  10. Sean nodded without looking away from the monitors he was monitoring, keeping eyes on any approaching bogies while the Exfiltration Team did... whatever they were doing in the kitty room. "How about this? I'm swiping what I can from their network to look over later, but if you want to start skimming now, in case there is something more specific I or they should look for..." Sean fingers danced over the keyboard of his laptop like a master pianist's over the ebony and ivories - though he hardly needed to use them - and one of the Holographic displays shifted over in front of Cassie, showing mostly text, with certain words highlighted. "I set up a keyword search for you dad, the experiment he was in, and Site B, if you want to skim the files to look for the ones that are actually pertinent." Sean's melodious voice was tight and focused, at he kept the majority of his attention on his friends, who were still in the middle of a dangerous situation. Looking from where they were, Etienne was, and where the guards were, he started priming certain doors in between to lock them down with a thought. He could burn them out, so it they couldn't be unlocked, but didn't want to block off any options yet for his friends. "What are you guys doing?" Cade heard Sean insistently demand through the earpiece. "Get Etienne. Get out. You guys have incoming from the East... The left... Your left."
  11. "That was less than subtle," Sean muttered, watching the sudden appearance of the infiltration team inside the storage closet, wincing as he could practically see the exclamation points appear over the heads of the passing guards, who suddenly stopped, alerted to the sounds and moved to cover the doorway. He gave Courtney a warning glare as she went to offer Kat 'help' but he didn't have time to deal with her with his friends in danger, his vivid eyes jumping back to the series of holographic displays giving him an overview of the Secret Crossroads Complex. He harrumphed crossly as he went to warn them about the guards outside, and realized they hadn't established a secure means of communication, and cellular transmissions were blocked - of course - so he couldn't send a simple text. "Weeeellll... shit." A telepath would be useful just about now... Sean figured he could use the PA system, it wouldn't be a discrete as he'd like, but it was something. Also of course, the storage room didn't have a speaker for the PA system he could purloin. "Oh no you don't!" Sean retorted to the guard who couldn't hear him, nor even knew he was being overheard. The transmission went out, but died before it could reach its destination as Sean shut down the entire comm network, finagling it through HVAC subsystem to make it more difficult for them to regain control. Sean believed he couldn't have disrupted the system entirely, but he might need it to warn his friends, so didn't burn down that bridge, just yet. "C'mon guys, move it, move it, move it," Sean urged insistently, gaze flicking from reddish-orange-yellow blobs his friends in the storage room and the guards outside to the corridor outside the Control and Security rooms, ready to lock down any doors reinforcements would have to go through to reach them or the room Etienne supposedly was tied up in.
  12. Sean's slender shoulders shifted under his friends' hands as he interlaced his fingers and stretched out his arms, cracking his knuckles. His blue laptop - sequestered from his other devices, as he used it for more... greyhat activities - flickered to life with a mere glance, his fine fingers hovering over the keyboard. He didn't really need the laptop for psionic chihackery, but it was familiar and comfortable, providing him a convenient path to his destination even though he could fly overhead. It also gave him a second, more conventional avenue of penetration, so he could go one way or the other, or even both, or use one route to benefit the other. Plus, he could use the laptop to show others the feeds he was tapping into, and store any paydata for later review and exploitation. Y'know, just in case. Sean dove back into the panoramic and prismatic streams and rivers of data that his mind perceived as cyberspace, the Matrix, whatever you wanted to call it. The experience was as exhilarating as every other time he had done so, under the influence of Jase's and Charlie's personal Shine, it was also... heightened. The landscapes that stretched up and down from the pools the streams and rivers flowed into and out of seemed to have more... structure, more detail readily apparent. And Sean was far more intuitively aware of himself and his place and connection to this digital Wonderland. It didn't take the voluptuous redhead long to find Crossroad Prison's network, and he barely slowed as he seeped unobtrusively through it's conventional firewalls. Its digital protections were more than decent, but still, Sean expected they would be way better than there were, when so much of the Prison Complex was controlled and automated electronically. He could cause plenty of chaos right now, before they had a chance to flip any manual overrides. As he skulked confidently through the Crossroad Prison Network, various feeds bloomed on his laptop monitor. He shared a look with Jase when it was mentioned that the trailer was Kline's. That needed a lot of followup, but right now, what Sean really wanted was those holographic displays. Well, there were some right there, embedded into the table, not even being used at the moment. "Mind if I borrow your fancy holo-projectors?" Sean asked somewhere between Taggart and Giles. "By the way, I totally want to take a look at those, later. And if you have any extras laying around... " "Pardon?" Annette said, with an immaculate raised brow. "Never mind. I got this, give you guys a look at what you're dealing with." Sean made a gesture as though grabbing something from his laptop and throwing it over the conference table. The holo-projector switched on with a muted hum, holographic screens shivering into existence above the table, blown up feeds from his laptop. He continued his digital strutting through the network, learning over his laptop with his eager intensity, even though he wasn't really using it. When he found the backdoor into the Secret Complex below, he slammed the table with a small fist in victory. "Found you, motherfuuu..dger," he crowed, adjusting his victorious curse for all the adults in the room out of habit. The security about the backdoor was considerably more sophisticated than that of the Prison Complex above. CIA/NSA/whatever Alphabet agency you wanted to name - level, at least. He'd taken a look at such before, out of unbridled curiosity, but hadn't dared tried penetrating something of that level before, just lower key government systems. Sophisticated and robust as it was though, it was still designed to deal with conventional electronic shenanigans, not Psi-hackery. Sean had looked at coding after manipulating things technokinetically. At first, it had looked normal, but on closer inspection, it was so much more, and beautiful. Like a Mandelbrot set, that revealed ever finer recursive coding the closer you looked, fantastic fractal patterns hidden in plain sight if you didn't know how to perceive them. The best digital protection could slow him down, but it was blind to what he was actually doing. "I'm in. " Many more holographic projections appeared with the plethora of info Sean now had access to. He leaned back in his chair, considering them. This place was state-of-the-art, maybe even beyond what was commonly believed to be SOTA in most cases. And yet, it seemed to be a weakness when there was someone like him that could do what he could do. Thermal sensors, Ultrasonic detectors, Infrared cameras... It let him pinpoint practically everyone in the complex. And he could control access to nearly any section of the place, not mentioning what he could do with fucking around with the safety systems in place required for an hidden, underground complex. "Halon fire suppression..." Sean mused idly. He wouldn't really, but if things went super sideways, and it was the only option.... Could he? "Technically Halon is banned. People use FE-13 now - but it works the same way: interrupting the chemical process of combustion. It's non-lethal," Jason commented offhandedly. "If the system does use Halon, then it was probably installed before 1989." Several teenagers and adults turned to look at him. Jason returned to looks with reptilian blandness. "Which, considering Crossroads was constructed in the 90's, raises some interesting questions." Autumn huffed. "...You could have led with 'Hey guys, I think the underground complex is older than the prison and here's why'. But no, you have to give a lecture." "Learning is a process." There was tiniest curve to one side of Jason's lips. "There's a lot we're learning," Sean growled, which didn't sound nearly as disgusted as he'd like with his decidedly feminine voice. Across the table and through the holographic displays, Sean shot daggers of hate at Courtney, not at all comfortable with Devin playing white knight to the malicious turncoat. Even before the advent of psionic aptitude - And when did Courtney first develop her own powers? - she had made his life hell, and Sean wasn't nearly ready to offer any hint of forgiveness. If she was a telepath, it's not like the Project could really lie to her. She was just switching sides because it was convenient. He didn't trust the bitch an inch, since he was eleven and she'd pulled his layers shirts off in the middle of gym class. "Being a freak like the rest of us, doesn't give that... Courtney a pass for everything she's done," Sean said adamantly. The look he sent towards Dr. Cook however was mostly of disappointment and betrayal. He couldn't even hate him. Dr. Cook had really helped him, when most other doctors he had seen had been more interested in 'fixing' him, and not even able to promise that they could. He hadn't felt quite as disgusted as the others about the surveillance - Cook had watched him and tested him for years, even writing a paper on his combination of genetic anomalies - so it hadn't hit him as hard. And while it might have been in truth a eugenics program, it didn't seem he had forcefully directed the pairings of their parents, or grandparents, or anything like that. And if it had granted them psionic powers, he wasn't sure how angry he could be about that. If it had led to his condition on the other hand... But the man who was scrambling to defend how he had dealt with Etienne, and deflecting blame to Courtney - if that was what he was doing - seemed so small and petty, compared to the kind, intelligent, and empathetic doctor he had known.
  13. Sean's eyes slid towards the door Dr. Cook had left through, then he glanced at Kat from the corner of his eye. Unlikely coincidence, indeed. He was parsing what had already been said, about The Aeon Society and Branch Nine, while Cass and Giles spoke about Crossroads. Stuff was spiralling out into a much better picture, and from what Sean could tell, Annette Giles was being on the up and up. He had refocused his senses earlier, so he could feel/see the constellations of neural impulses flowing inside those around him. While he didn't have as much experience reading synapses as he did coding or wearing a bra, he still noted there was something... different about Giles. It wasn't as anomalous as Jase's neural impulses, it was just... Focus? Discipline? Jase had that too, but Giles' neural activity seemed more like everyone else's, just with little to none of the extraneous synapses most people evidenced. When Giles' mentioned eugenics, Crossroads' other activities, and Kline possibly earning two paychecks, Sean frowned, folding his arms in an instinctively protective gesture. Since he had learned of the project and Cook's involvement, it had been a fear of his that his genetic anomalies might have been inflicted rather than occurring in a more random or natural - such as it was - fashion. "If I may add a pair of questions of my own," Sean said, nodding towards the door. "While I be able to speak with Dr. Cook before we leave? He is my doctor and there's stuff I want to talk to him about, considering what's been revealed here. And following up on Charlie's question about the experiment, it was mentioned the Project being surprised by our abilities, considering we - most of us - are apparently in the control group." His frown tightened as he learned forward, uncanny, multi-hued eyes bright and intent. "What I want to know is who is in the Test group."
  14. "The Dark is our enemy," Sean injected as he sat up in his chair, hating that he thought he sounded like a shill for the other side, but not able to ignore that Dr. Cook had helped him, even if it was for his own ends. "These guys, the Project, they could be allies. But if we treat them like enemies from the start, they'll be enemies." As several pairs of protesting eyes turned his way, Sean held up his hands in surrender. "Look, I get it. I even agree - they'll try to screw us, to control us. But look at it from their end. Until now, they thought they were the only ones in the game. Now, not only do they find out there's more than one new player at the table, these other players might have better hands than them. Of course, they're gonna do what they can do to stay on top, or do whatever they can to protect themselves from unknowns. And we're gonna have to give them some reason to trust us too, at some point, if we don't want things completely adversarial - that will only help the Dark too." Hands balled into fists, Sean planted them on his knees and leaned forward. "Which doesn't mean we should be the first ones to extend that trust. I like your idea, Devin, but why make it so easy on them, while giving them a reason they see as valid for mistrusting us? Instead, we allude to weaknesses, and just tell them outright we're not comfortable in revealing those weaknesses to them, and then watch them to see if, and when, they scramble to figure them out? Easier to look out for each other when they others guy are trying to figure out how to screw with us rather than actually screwing with us."
  15. "Oh, I think it'll help foster some goodwill," Sean countered with smirk. "How they react will see if they are planning on showing us some goodwill." Sitting next to Kat a little to the side of the refreshment table, Sean shifted on his seat, organizing his thoughts, then starting giving her the quick rundown she'd requested and Jase had suggested. "So, it all started - for us - during a late summer party with a disappearing tiger and an angry, flying starfish that ate a man..." His grin faded as he recounted the tale to Kat, turquoise and jade eyes cool as he regarded Devin's scar and heard his plea to Cass and Autumn, to all of them really. Not all monsters were literal ones, and not all scars were on the surface. He might have a new regard for Devin, but it was still new. Making sure Devin knew where he - or any of his friends - were or what they were doing wasn't a natural consideration. And Sean couldn't help but note Devin hadn't mentioned doing likewise. "... at school. Autumn got clobbered by a door - I'll explain later - but our powers were starting to grow. This is when Dr. Cook first..." Sean raised his can of Pepsi in acknowledgement and nodded, while he held up an apologetic finger towards Kat, putting their conversation on pause for just a moment. His strange eyes seemed to flash with their own light for a moment, then he took a bite of his sandwich. Despite appearances, it wasn't bad. "Done." "That's it?" Cass asked dubiously, just started to reach for her phone. Sean arched a brow. "That's it. C'mon, this is child's play. Even without psionic voodoo, it wouldn't have taken much longer using NFC. I got it - keeping it secret, keeping it safe." Sean took a deep breath, plunked his empty soda can on the edge of the refreshment table, then turned back to Kat, keeping his voice low. "Cody Sikes and Liam, the Dark is no joke, but it has to have something to work with, and, well..." Recalling the darker aspects of human nature, and the Dark, and the consequences, Marissa's teasing and the laughter it brought was a relieving weight. It made talking about what had gone on before, leading into where they were going, less wearying, and even seemed to make it an easier burden for Kat to bear. "... and that pretty much brings up to now. There's more, here and there that we can go into detail later, but you have all the major points now, I think." Sean leaned back and slouched in his chair, Kat mirroring him. It was a lot in a short time, and both saying it and hearing it took something out of the red-heads. Eyes heavy lidded, Sean finished his sandwich as Kat cogitated on what he had revealed. Sean cracked an eye when Cade addressed him. "I still control the horizontal, I still control the vertical," Sean affirmed, paraphrasing the intro to an old Sci-Fi series, "but I can't tell if they're still at their TV sets. You're right, it probably isn't going to be much longer before they decide they've given us enough private time."
  16. The Project Facility - The Fellowship Studying the holographic display and the embedded device projecting it with avid interest, Sean stood with his hands clasped behind his back to hide their trembling. With the danger - okay, immediate danger anyway - and the fight with the Dark-spawn over, Sean was realizing just what he, they, had done, and how it could have gone seriously sideways. He'd backed up the hulking Mantis-Shrimp-Charlie with circular laser-blades, at the time ignoring the fact if he'd been hit by one of the Darkspawn Choker things, he didn't have Charlie's shell or Jase's Ice Armor to protect himself. Devin had been blipping here and there, Cade batted one of the damn things into the wall with a fire extinguisher, and Jase had frozen the big one solid. In a role-playing game or a video game, all that would be awesome. In real life, after the fact and without adrenaline pumping through your veins... it was still still awesome, but also damned terrifying. There were no restarts or respawning in real life. "Psionic," Sean corrected absently, "Psychic is all oui--" He chuffed in irritation as Charlie and Sophia clearly didn't care about the distinction, and then turned away with a slightly sour expression when he saw Sophia squeeze Charlie's hand and smile at him. Laser Ladyboy, indeed! "Oh, never mind." Sean sidled over to the refreshments, cracking open a Pepsi and grabbing a wrapped, dubious looking egg-salad sandwich. It wasn't so much mistrust or that they might get his DNA - they had that plenty already from all the visits with Cook and the tests he'd taken - but rather concerned he'd bring up anything he ate or drank while still dealing with the shakes. "Ugh! Warm!" Sean protested with a scowl after taking a sip of his Pepsi. The can suddenly got colder in his hand, the cola almost verging on slush. He took another sip, sighed in satisfaction, and nodded his thanks at Jase. "Not exactly what I had in mind when I wanted to show you around, Kat," Sean admitted dryly while asking her with a pointed glance at the refreshment table if she wanted anything. "But it seems like you fit right in with weird and wonder of Shelly." For the moment, he'd leave it up to the smaller redhead if she wanted to talk about her own psionic potential, if she'd known about it before or if it was a new thing cropping up from exposure. Though if her dad had been stationed at the base before... "Couple things with the plan," Sean added. "One, we still need to find out what Cook and the Major and their lot know about the Dark and all this, us, and we need to share too, so we can help each other. I had an appointment to meet with Cook at five. We're running kinda late on that, but it sure would be nice if he'd keep that appointment. We all have a lot to talk about." Like the rest of the Fellowship - still need a better name - Sean assumed they were being observed. With a minor bit of effort and recalibrating how he perceived the electromagnetic spectrum, it had been easy to figure how and from where they were being watched. An enigmatic grin tugged at his full lips as he reached out with his will, and began to play with the digital transmissions of the cameras about them. "Two, I've just given them an incentive to come talk with us instead of just watching and listening for who knows how bloody long," Sean admitted. "How's that?" Autumn asked. Sean's smile widened, inordinately pleased with himself. "I'm Rickrolling them. At least, through what they have watching us here." Devin barked a laugh, clinking his can with Sean's as he passed by pacing. "Classic. Actual Rick roll, or...?" "That's getting kinda old, so updated it a bit. I Allstarred them instead." The Project Facility - Security Office Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed She was looking kind of dumb with her finger and her thumb In the shape of an "L" on her forehead "What the hell is happening?" a gruff voice demanded. "We don't know," replied a younger woman, trying to keep her tone professional, rather than frustrated. "Something, someone, has taken over the feed." Well the years start coming and they don't stop coming Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running Didn't make sense not to live for fun Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb "Get the damn feed back!" "I can't! I can't even change to the feed to another camera." A huff of annoyance. "Rather, I can, but this shit is still showing, overlaying whatever we're supposed to see and hear." So much to do, so much to see So what's wrong with taking the back streets? You'll never know if you don't go You'll never shine if you don't glow "Is it one of the kids? An outside hack?" "Yes? If it's outside intrusion, it's like nothing I've seen before." "Isn't the guy from Smash Mouth dead or something?" "Just turn it off, then," the gruff voice sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose evident through tone alone. Hey now, you're an all-star, get your game on, go play Hey now, you're a rock star, get the show on, get paid And all that glitters is gold Only shooting stars break the mold "I can't!" There was choking laughter and frustrated tears in the admission. The Project Facility - The Fellowship "Anyway, three, we aren't the first these powers, not judging by the psionically active artifacts we saw at the museum, and the tales of the Land of Upside Down Thunder," Sean continued. "If the Dark is trapped there, it was because they couldn't find a way to kill it the first time. I don't think killing it is going to be as easy as levelling up couple of times. And four, assuming we have to get to the taproot itself to Raid it or pull it out or whatever to get rid of the Dark," Sean nodded at Marissa, continuing her analogy, we don't have a reliable way to get there. The Dark or its minions seem able to pull us in." Sean pointed a finger at Devin. "And there was the time at the trailer with coochiesaurus round one. Not sure yet if that was purely outside influence, or something to do with the trailer and the radio that we might be able to use to our own ends."
  17. Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked Sean scrambled back upright, regretting he wasn't wearing a sports bra as he backed up and formed an outward-facing triangle with Marissa and Kat, wishing he was half as graceful as the female Jauntsen was in the situation, even with heels on. The throbbing red emergency lighting, the miasma of sewage staining the air, and the alien movements and alien synapses of the monsters were making his head swim. But Marissa was right. He'd been telling himself that what others thought, or said, or even did to him didn't matter to him - as much - since he'd begun to shine. He might have considered his old tormentors monsters, until he'd come face-to-face with real monsters. Monsters who weren't interested in mocking him, or harassing him, or beating him up for being an abomination in their eyes, or for just being different or weird. The real monsters wanted to eat him, eat his Shine, and those of his friends. The monsters wanted to consume them. His fear was real, but now, so too was his determination. He no longer wanted to merely endure the torments of the monsters in his life until he could escape them. Now, he wanted to fight back. Marissa's attention could be exhilarating when she wasn't being a complete bitch. He could even see, maybe, what Jase saw in her, not that he could bring himself to admit it to his disturbingly ice-coated friend, and especially not to Jauntsen herself. Not yet. "Round two, fuckers!" Sean muttered tightly, planting himself lightly on his feet, almost bouncing on his toes, hands up in an approximation of a boxer's stance, though the way he was going to fight was in no way physical. Which was well, since his form was poor, his physique more decorative than functional. Creative and bright as he was, Sean could fall for bias and tradition. He could wield photons as easily as others wielded a bat or their fists. Lasers were beams, but nothing said those photons had to be formed like shafts, like spears. Such would give greater penetration in regards to something tangible, at the cost of a smaller cross-section, but with light itself, Sean figured he wasn't bound to such constraints. Sean's hovering laser beams, shifted, melted, as though made of incandescent goo, and reformed into broad, razor thin disks, the outer rims glowing more brightly then the rest of their surfaces. His fists sprang open, fingers moving like a DJ juggling a pair of albums on turntables. The crimson disk spun around Sean, Kat, and Marissa in a tight circle, slicing into the spine - if the creature even had a spine - of the one Sean had dodged with a sharp, sizzling hiss of cauterizing flesh and the scent of burnt rubber. Sean extended an arm and the amber disk flew down the hall, curving around Devin to decapitate the one he had blinked away from, its limbs flailing, head bouncing across the floor. Sean flung out his other arm, and the veridian disk streaked past Man-Shrimp-Charlie and practically bisected one of his assailants. Vertically. "Boo-fucking-yah!" Sean crowed jubilantly, extremely gratified for having redeemed himself for his previous blunder. Over his shoulder, he flashed Marissa a fierce grin. "Better?" "That'll do, Cassidy. That'll do."
  18. Marias Medical Center - Team Fucked Sean gulped audibly at the sight of the creatures that belonged in one of his campaigns - a part of his mind filed away the wet, stagnant stench preceding to add verisimilitude for his next game - resisting the urge to run. One, he'd only be running into whatever Jason and his father were facing with these things still behind him, and without the excuse that he was ostensibly trying to find another way to help. And two, he didn't want to run again, when now there was something he could do to help his friends and Kat, even if it left him in danger. He firmed his resolve and his stance, hands balling into small fists at his side as he took a step forward to interpose himself between the aberrations and Kat's slight figure. Sean heard an odd squelching beside him, and thinking another one of the things was there, he glanced to the side, his jaw dropping open for a moment as he saw Charlie contorting and shifting into something that was definitely not a talking head from TV. Refocusing himself, he gritted his teeth, his turquoise and jade eyes blazing, his attention back on the crawling, skittering, tentacled creatures, trying to not to picture any number of anime. The inhuman flow of their neural activity - or what passed for it - was nauseating. The strange light permeating the hallway fractured into panoply of rainbow luminescence, then solidified into three smooth, distinct shafts of light, red, yellow, and green, hovering about Sean's tight, slender shoulders. The three arrows of almost tangible incandescent tinted his pale complexion, picked out incongruous highlights in his hair. His expression was a rictus of terror and fury. Always, there seemed to be something after him, after them. "Not this time!" he promised, soft, but emphatic. Sean's pet lasers zipped, curving through the air as swift and graceful as Yondu's arrow, leaving ionized trails as they streaked towards the three closest creatures... ... and missed, overshooting their slick, rubbery hide, not even singeing them, nor even causing them to swerve the volley. "Fuck," Sean cursed, having misjudged their alien gait. "You missed?!" Marissa exclaimed in disbelief. "It's my first time!" Sean retorted, voice rising sharply in protest and panic, his face almost as red as the laser beam he had made. The Yellow laser scored a scorched furrow in the ceiling. The Green laser simply stopped, hovering in mid air several meters down the hall. But the Red laser had sunk deep into the wall. There was an electric snap, the acrid scent of burnt rubber, red light seeping balefully from where it had sliced into the wall... ... Then the lights went out, Red having found something critical inside that wall, instead of something critical inside the guts of one of the creatures as Sean had intended. The Hallway went black, save for the constrained light of Sean's lasers. "Seriously?!" Marissa shouted. "Oops?" Sean added apologetically. Reddish emergency lighting came on, weird and flicking, granting light enough to see, barely, and far too many ominous shadows dancing around the hallway.
  19. Tuesday Afternoon Sean arched a quizzical brow at Kat's insouciant grin, but nodded. "Okay, then. I'd have to go anyway, I have an appointment scheduled with my doctor." Which I can't let you sit in on. Sean glanced around the milling students and faculty one final time, the press of bodies starting to break up now that the action and excitement was over, then shrugged a shoulder down the hall. "It's over for now - we should get to class before we're late." Sean tried to be a good guide during their afternoon classes, explaining the quirks and regulations of Shelly High, formal and informal, as they came up, but Kat to see he was fidgety and eager to get out of school. Only a fraction of his thoughts were on class, though he was able to answer any question when called upon. Kat caught him doodling in the margins of a notebook, strange creatures, some indistinct and amorphous, others with features suggesting features derived from rather explicit anatomy. "What're those?" the new student asked with blatant curiosity, pointed at some of the doodles. "Huh? Oh!" Sean glanced at what he'd been idly drawing. He was much better with graphic programs than sketching, but these were better than most of his drawings and he'd barely been paying attention. "Just ideas for a game." It wasn't a lie, but Kat got the sense there was more to it, especially after Sean closed the book with a snap, flashing her an apologetic smile. "Game's still in development." The bell sounding the end of class had hardly started ringing before Sean was up and out of his seat, his satchel over his shoulder, and with an emphatic, "Finally! Let's get out of here." Sean led Kat to the student parking lot at a brisk pace that made his figure move in interesting ways she couldn't help but notice, nor be aware of others noticing too, though Sean didn't seem to see, or was ignoring it. The vehicle Sean led Kat to wasn't what Kat expected, though if she questioned herself honestly, she'd have to admit she didn't know what she'd expect the dichotomous boy would drive. A jacked up, deep forest green Jeep SUV. Both of them needed the running boards to climb into the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk with any sort of grace. It was almost reversing out of the parking space before Sean got the key in the ignition or Kat got settled in the worn but plush passenger seat. "It's... big," Kat offered, looking around the vehicle, glancing inside the central compartment, scrolling through the preset radio stations. "We can get a lot of snow in Montana, and I'm not exactly built for pushing a stuck car," Sean explained, giving the steering wheel a pat. "'Sides, it was what I could snag at the auction." He grinned, he was still getting used to driving the SUV, compared to when he could borrow his mom's Corolla. "I like it. I like driving so high." Uh-huh. Kat noticed something in the back seat. "What's that? A drone?" "Yup! Built that one myself. I also have a DJI one." Sean enthusiastically talked about his drones and their respective specs, interspersed with pointing out the modest features of the small town of Shelly as they drove away from the school. Sean had a great speaking voice, fluid and animated, but his words suddenly cut off with a pursed frown, considering what he had heard about the fight and how badly Jason was beaten. "Can you hang on a sec, Kat? I gotta make a call." Before waiting for a reply, Sean had pressed a button on the central console. "Call Jase, home," Sean commanded. Do you mean Call Jase, home? came a smooth electronic query. "Yes," Sean sighed, already annoyed with the confirmation, even as he was annoyed when the car asked if he was calling some other random name that didn't sound anything like Jase, so the confirmation was necessary. Calling Jase, home. The sound of a call being made filled the SUV... and continued filling it until the answering machine came on. "This is--" Sean cut it off with a sharp jab of a finger and an irritated, "Harrumph!" His nose scrunched up as he considered, then he quickly glanced over at Kat. "Do you mind if we make a quick stop before heading to the hospital? I just thought of something." "Sure! I mean, of course not," Kat replied. Sean took a sharp turn and soon he had pulled into the small lot in front of a clothing store, Larsons Clothing. Sean hopped out of the SUV, Kat following at his side, and a bell tinkled as they stepped into the last of a breed - a small town family owned merchant with great service and excellent prices. "Good afternoon, ladies," chirped the friendly and matronly woman coming out from around the service the service counter, a warm smile on her face. She was one of the owners of the shop, Sandra Larson, as stated on her name tag. "Can I help you with anything? We sell mostly men's clothing here, which may not be a trouble for your slender friend, but it may be a little trickier for something as, hmm, shapely as yourself, miss. But let's me see what I can do..." "No, no, it's okay," Sean assured the proprietor, blinking. He'd been in here before, and recognized Sandra, but realized the last time was when he looked a great deal more like Kat than he did now. "I know what I'm looking for, shopping for a friend." "Ah, of course." There was a twinkle in her eye as she smile grew a trifle. "I'll be at the counter if you need any help." Sean took a quick look around the modest store, then strode towards one corner, Kat trailing in his wake, looking around with more casual interest. Sean knew why women took longer shopping for clothes, and it wasn't just that they generally had a lot more options to choose from. Women were a lot more varied in shape and what fit one didn't mean it would fit another, even if technically there were the same 'size'. Sean had to deal with it and was reasonably good at estimating what fit. He pictured his friend and with a critical eye, picked out a pair of grey jogging pants, a pair of socks and boxer-briefs, and a heavier shirt, with the local high school sports team, the Rangers, on the chest. It wasn't long before he heading back to the counter with his selections in his armed held to his chest. Kat raised a pair of questioning brows. "I tried calling his place, but his dad didn't answer, and I didn't want to nose about trying to get in with nobody there," Sean explained softly, not adding that Jase's dad was part of a survivalist group or something, and had access to too many guns. "I figure Jase will have been all bloody after the fight and could use a change of clothes." Sean plunked his purchases on the counter and Sandra began ringing him out, making small talk. "Shopping for a friend?" "Yes'm. He's in the hospital and could use a change." Sean usually did his shopping in Great Falls or online, and wasn't paying that much attention to retail small talk. "How sweet, I'm sure he'll appreciate it." "Um-hmm." Sandra folded the clothing neatly and placed in a plastic bag and handed it over to Sean. "You and your friend stop by again sometime soon, y'hear?" "Yes, sure, we will," Sean replied with automatic politeness, then was heading back to his Grand Cherokee, tossing the bag in the back, before climbing back into the driver's seat. "Now, the hospital." Sean was well acquainted with the Marias Medical Center, and even if this was the first time he actually drove there himself, it was with a sense of familiarity. Over the last six years, he'd been to Marias more often than most of the most accident prone athletes in school, and so knew the lay out of the place very well. Or at least, the public layout of the Marias Medical Center, now aware there was much more to the place. And much more to his personal doctor, Dr. Cook. Still, Kat noted the blithe confidence with which Sean walked through the hospital, exchanging the occasional greeting with a nurse or doctor he recognized or who recognized him. At the desk for general admissions, he asked for where Jason was - saying he was a friend - and when after giving him the ward and room number, the nurse went to give him directions, Sean waved the offer away. "I know the way, I've been here enough. Thanks, though." Sean pointed the way down the hall with his chin, the bag of clothes tucked under his arm. "This way, Kat. It isn't that far."
  20. Tuesday Lunchtime/Afternoon - Sean, Kat By the time the two redheads managed to force their way through the chaos and confusion brewing in the halls - Sean's phone starting to ping with texts and updates he didn't need to fake - the lights of the ambulances were already beginning to fade as they headed to Marias Medical with their charges. Sean watched them go with a frown. Rumours were already flying. Autumn had bitten right through Curtis' knee? What?! Turning away as the ambulances were lost to sight, Sean saw Mrs. Meyers doing the same, her own frown on her face. He might be able to get some more real, less exaggerated answers from her. Mrs. Meyers watched the extravagantly curvaceous boy approach her with a slight pixie-ish girl in his wake, a neutral expression on her face. She was well acquainted with Sean Cassidy, who had visited the nurse's office more than his fair share, though more often than not, had been reticent in revealing the reasons that had warranted the visits. She understood the reasons why students often skirted narcing on their tormentors, and she could guess why Sean might do so more than others, but it didn't mean she was pleased with it. "Mrs. Meyers, what happened?" Sean asked, a forced brashness to his tone to conceal a rising worry. It could be Jase's own... enterprises coming back to bite him, or it could be the Dark, being more direct in its tests. Or even something else.. "It is Jase?" "It's being handled by the property authorities, Sean," Mrs. Meyers replied, not ungently. She knew Sean was good friends with the introverted Jason Bannon, and had been for years. "I'm sure you'll hear more soon." Soon wasn't soon enough for Sean. He looked up at Mrs. Meyers, his large, odd eyes wide and intent. "Please, Mrs. Meyers, Jase is my best friend. If I'm worrying about how bad whatever happened to him is..." Sean pulled out his phone and gave it a small wave. "... and I can imagine a lot with all the rumours that are already going around, I really don't know how well I'll pay attention in class..." He didn't say it, but it was implicitly implied 'Or if I'll even stay...' Mrs. Meyers sighed in defeat. "Okay, Sean, I'll make an exception in this case, but you keep it to yourself." She nodded at Kat standing at Sean's shoulder. "And you too, young lady. Two seniors accosted Jason Bannon, beaten him quite severely, before Autumn Keane interceded--" "Autumn?!" Sean interrupted, his melodious voice rising into almost discordant squeak. Autumn was considerably more athletic than he was, but still, standing in the way of two seniors who could mess up Jase like that... who could have made a considerably bigger mess of them if he had been of the mind to, but had let himself be messed up instead. "The very one, and that nice, brave Keane girl didn't escape unharmed either. She'll be sporting a nasty bruise on her face if I'm to judge, though she got of light compared to the Bannon boy." The plump nurse's frown deepened in evident worry. "He's sporting a concussion at the very least, and his injuries may be more extensive than that and the bruises. The one senior on the other hand, has a broken or dislocated knee that will need to be set, and he may easily suffer lingering issues due to the damage." Sean's own frown deepened, fine brows lowering in growing anger. He had the urge to immediately follow the ambulances to Marias to see how Jase and Autumn were doing, but he couldn't actually do anything for them, other than be company. Lona might, though. "Who're the ones who jumped him, Mrs. Meyers?" Sean asked in a near growl. His friends would be hard pressed to call it threatening rather than cute. "That isn't your concern, Sean," Mrs. Meyers said warningly. "The faculty, and the Sheriff, if it comes to that, will deal with them." "Like hell it isn't my concern!" Sean retorted savagely, cheeks reddening with emotion. "Jase is my best friend. If the goons of Shelly are willing to jump him right in school, they will be willing to clobber me too. I wanna know who to look out for." And if you can't find them, maybe I can... "Well, Curtis Denicott won't be harming anyone soon, that's for sure," the nurse admitted, eyes tightening with disapproval. "As I understand it, Mark Belcher is the other student involved. He seems to be... missing at the moment, but the Sheriff and his deputies will handle that." She shook at finger at the recalcitrant teen. "Not you." "As you say," Sean said in not-quite-agreement, giving the nurse a short nod. "Thanks for telling me what you can, Mrs. Meyers." With that, Sean stalked away, forgetting about Kat for a moment until she caught up and tentatively placed a hand on his slender shoulder, and he glanced sharply back in surprise. Kat withdrew her hand with a sheepish grin. "Sorry, and I'm sorry about your... friend." There was the slightest hesitation in Kat's voice about the designation, but Sean couldn't identify why. "I hope he's okay." "Me too," Sean agree, relaxing. "I know I'm supposed to show you around, Kat, but last period is just Study Hall, so I'm skipping out to see how Jase is doing at the hospital." He paused for a moment, lips pursing, then added, "You can come too - if you want - and I can show you around town some too. I mean, if you like."
  21. Sean Cassidy Sean is part of Anonymous, or is Anonymous, or part of some other hacker collective. He's hacked the NSA, the CIA, the Pentagon, the KGB, Sony, Disney, 7/11 and who knows what else. He has to be on at least as many watchlists as Jason Bannon. Sean can build you the sweetest gaming rig for a great price, but he also builds in a backdoor to any system he builds. So weigh one against the other That hack for _____ Video Game? Sean made it. Sean can access at least half the security cameras in Shelly, and there are way more than people suspect. Sean is actually sitting on a fortune of bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency. He's earned at least some of those bitcoins as a cam-girl/cam-whore on the Dark Web. He has it, and flaunts it... in secret. He knows more about bras than anyone in Shelly High, and has spent more on them than any girl in town. Also, hidden in his closet are a whole bunch of slutty cosplay costumes and more racy lingerie and high heeled shoes than even Marissa Jauntsen owns. Sean boobs are real - we've all heard about gym class in grade 5, right, when Courtney went ballistic? - but not real real.Y'know, he has that thing where he changes testosterone into estrogen? Well, he took the stuff his beast of a sister Teagan was taking to get so jacked, and it did the opposite, so that's why he's almost built like a real life Jessica Rabbit. Sean has been taking hormone supplements to transition into a girl since he was ten. Due to a Cassidy family curse that goes back to the founding of Shelly, his parents have been forcing Sean to take the hormone supplements so there isn't another male Cassidy. Sean is part of a cabal with the other big boobed chicks in town, like Sophia Fingleman, Kimberly Kiebler, Max from Bunnee's and others, whose purposes are unknown and sinister. Though both are gamers, Sean and Sophia don't get along because neither can stand the other rivalling them as a the bustiest redhead in Shelly. Sean and Jason Bannon are secretly lovers. That's why Sean doesn't date... among other reasons. Also, Jason is the bottom when they aren't making eggplant and melons salad. Sean's dad stole his mother from his uncle, who hasn't been seen in Shelly for over twenty years. There used to a lot more Cassidy's in Shelly, but around the turn of the last century, something happened and most of the branches of the Cassidy family ended under mysterious circumstances.
  22. Tuesday Lunchtime - The Cafeteria Sean usually brought his lunch from home, but after worry about his visitor last night and his early morning creative coding frenzy, he hadn't gotten around to making himself a lunch today. Not a big deal, he'd just get something small at the cafeteria he could take out to the bleachers, and besides, after a quick question, Kat needed to get something for lunch too. Weaving through the press of student bodies with the ease of experience from being a frequent target, his smaller charge in tow, Sean overhead some of the quips and comments in passing. They might not be as common and vulgar as the comments used to be, and they didn't hurt as much as they once did - everything that was going on now inured him to it to some degree - still, his full lips turned down in a tight frown, more for Kat's sake than his own. "Is that another Cassidy sister Titboy stole his boobs from?" "... must've wandered over from the elementary school, can't be more than twelve.." "No, she's a new student, from France. Her family is on the run from assassins, I heard, 'cuz of something her dad did." "...a boyish girl or a girlish boy..." "No wonder they paired her up with the ladyboy - together they almost make a heteronormative couple." "... cock or vag..." "... eggplant! Haha! If anyone besides Sophia can give epic tittyfucks it's..." Shoving the door to the cafeteria open with a shoulder then holding it for Kat, Sean gave the slight girl an apologetic shrug, his fine features still faintly flushed. He felt a warm tingle flow up his fingers when his hand brushed Kat's back in passing. He blinked, barely stopping his mouth from dropping in surprise when he looked at her and found that Kat shone as brightly as anyone else in the Fellowship. We still need a better name than that. Sean tried to stomp down in the niggling root of suspicion that was struggling to sprout. Kat suddenly shows up, Shining like others who are displaying psionic abilities, and her father is just happens to be transferred to an Airforce base that I've found it has to be something more than just an Airforce base? What are the odds? If Sean had more information, he might have been able to calculate them, but that info was still with Dr. Cook, or whoever was behind him. "Sorry 'bout that. Rumours and comments go wild whenever there's something new at school," Sean tried to explain, straining to keep any hint of doubt from his face. "I'd say it gets better, but well... it depends..." The buxom boy shrugged expressively as he led them to start of the line. "I'm just grabbing something easy to bring outside. It's a nice day and Jase and several of my friends usually hang out on the bleachers during lunch, if you'd like to be introduced to them, Kat. They're good folk, even if some of them," One specifically, "have their eccentricities that takes getting used to." Picking several fruits and looking through which sandwiches were left, Sean shivered, brows rising as he felt a growing surge in signal traffic pinging from phone to phone (and the occasional watch and tablet). Dropping a sandwich on his tray without paying attention what kind it was, to join the apple, banana, and orange already there, Sean turned around, refocusing his senses and looking around the cafeteria, and witnessing the spreading swarm of singing fireflies of transmission signals. His dark red brows also drew down over his exotic eyes when, through the electromagnetic haze, he saw Cade sitting alone with Marrisa, still, looking entirely too much like a real couple. "What's going on, now?" Sean said, unintentionally voicing his thoughts on both the upward tick of texts and social media updates, and whatever the hell was going on with Cade and Marissa.
  23. Sean chuckled in wry amusement, his golden-red hair swaying as he shook his head. "Shows, movies, and video games is how I learned most of my Japanese." His brows rose in surprise at how soon it was Kat closed the textbook. She'd read the chapter as fast he could - there weren't that many who could. Huh. "I'm more of a tech and programming guy, but sure, I can help you with Chemistry. But if you want to get your Unabomber on..." Sean jerked a surreptitious thumb towards his fellow Fellowshippers, his lips curving sardonically. "... you should talk to Jase." Sean turned to face Kat directly, lowering his voice even more, recalling an early talk about bomb threats. "Um, you aren't serious about bomb making, right?"
  24. Tuesday Morning - Chemistry Sean looked at Kat askance as he pulled out his textbook for appearances sake - he'd already read the entire thing - and slid it across the black-topped workbench to rest in from of Kat, in case she wanted to review the assigned reading herself. Idly, he began arranging the jars and beakers Ms. Lafferty placed in front of them. Could Kat really imagine what he'd gone through? He certainly wouldn't call her masculine, but she was at least as boyish as he'd ever been until a swarm of boob fairies had paid him a visit. And while his early and excessive development often lead others to assume he was somewhat older than he was, Sean could well believe Kat garnered the opposite assumptions with her slight and short stature. "Don't worry if you haven't had a chance to do the reading, Kat," Sean assured her, Kat catching just a hint of a shadow entering his vivid, multi-hued eyes. "I'll catch you up, and it's pretty easy anyway. As for who I hang out with? Mostly my D&D group... who actually mostly aren't in Chemistry this period." He swivelled on the high stool and looked about class. He nodded at a very tall guy sitting at the front of the classroom next to a girl with glistening black hair that would shame anyone in a shampoo commercial. "There's Cade, he's a star on the school's baseball team." Sean gave a group on the other side of the classroom a small wave, two girls, another redhead and a blond, and a young man, who even at this distance, gave off a vibe of being... different. "The guy is Jase - Jason - probably my best friend. The girls aren't in the gaming group, but we've started hanging out lately... " Sean trailed off. It wasn't like he could tell Kat the real reason, that they were psychic teens in between of a waking supernatural terror-entity and a government black project who were observing them, and played some role in their creation... possibly. Speaking of which, with the chatter dying down, Sean casually rubbed the back of his neck with a hand as he circumspectly glanced around class again, this time with his senses attuned to another frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum. He gave himself a small nod, confirming what he already more than suspected was there. "My social circle has expanded this year," Sean finished obliquely, keeping his voice low and circumspectly trying to avoid giving the surveillance feeds a clear view of his lips. With a thought, he sent Cass a text, with the warning // Remember, Big Brother is Watching // followed by a simple diagram of the classroom. A rectangle, along with a couple of pizza slices indicating the likely field of view of the hidden cameras, and an arrow with the notation 'Front of Class'. "The redhead is Autumn, and the Blonde is Cass - Cassandra, intrepid reporter for the school paper. There's a couple of others not in Chem. The school's top athlete, an amazing musician, and a Drama nerd who's helping run the student production this year. It's a pretty eclectic band. I'm lucky to have them." With the subtle upturn of Sean's lips, Kat could sense how grateful Sean was for his gaming group that straddled most of Shelly High's social circles, when he had so much deal with and endure growing up. Elbow on the workbench, Sean propped his chin in the palm of a hand, waiting for class to really start. "What about you, Kat? Mrs. Kyleson said you were from France, but you speak English very well. Have you lived in the States before, or just visited a lot because of your dad?"
  25. Sean followed Kat to the desk, a natural sway to his shapely hips he no longer took pains to restrain in contrast to Kat's brisk, ducked-head swagger. A bemused grin tugged at his lips, his own fair cheeks colouring faintly. Sean was well acquainted with how men and women looked at him, both those who were aware of his condition and those who weren't. They varied, to be sure, but Kat's fleeting glances were different from nearly anyone else's he was familiar with. Kat's gaze hadn't lingered on his most obvious attributes, and he'd seen her eyes widen at they met his own, and she made her stammered comment. He knew his eyes were weird - he might even say exotic - just a one of many genetic anomalies, but few commented on them when there were easier things to remark on. He felt a small thrill of pleasure race up his spine. Sean took a seat next to Kat, his brows furrowing in puzzlement when he saw Cade and Marissa?! sitting next to each other, and seeming more than just tolerating each other's presence. He would have wondered about what the hell that was about, but kept his attention more on his petite charge. She still appeared to be embarrassed about voicing her - what Sean hoped were complimentary - thoughts. His hand twitched, but he refrained from giving Kat's shoulder a comforting pat, finding it presumptuous with a girl he'd literally found out existed all of a minute ago. "Central heterochromia," Sean murmured, and when Kat looked up from the desk with a questioning tilt to her head, he add, "My eyes. They aren't contacts or anything, but genetic mosiacism, a mutation." His lips curled with wryness, and he nodded at Kat, or rather, at her hair. "Like the one we share, red hair, among others." His hands curling into fists on his lap, Sean arched a brow at Kat, trying to affect a blasé calm he didn't fully feel. "Trust me, I get enough of the awks - awkwardness. If you want to ask about the others, feel free." Sean sighed, his eyes flicking away from Kat for a moment in reflection. "Few ever bother or want to know, when they can just assume and make wild exhortations of one sort or another."
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