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Everything posted by z-Sean McCline

  1. Sean listened to the two women fighting outside. He’d woken up because they were yelling but he didn’t want to get up and face either of them. His memory of breaking down all over Rebecca left him with a sick feeling of embarrassment in his gut. Kei was making it worse, trying to be nice. ,, This isn’t a place for teenagers. He wished he had a cool rebuttal to that. Maybe something like Spidey’s quote: With great power comes great responsibility. ,, God, he hated being a kid. ,, That’s when Sean made up his mind about what he was going to do. Rolling to his feet, he walked out of the tent. The image he made was troubling to Kei; his clothing was matted in blood and mud, and his young face was a mask of dried mess. His sunglasses were done, and those black and green eyes stared haughtily at her. “I’m not going back.” He spoke softly but firmly. “I came here to help people, and you can’t convince me not to.” ,, “I said we would bring you in when it was safe—” ,, “I heard, and I don’t give a shit. My life. My choices.” His hands balled up into fists as he waited the expected answer. ,, “You’re children,” Kei said, not unreasonably. Her gravitas was somewhat ruined by the fact that she had to peer up at him. ,, “I’m a nova. And if you don’t like it, tough shit.” Sean was adamant, and if necessary, he’d back up his words with force.
  2. Sean landed on the rooftop a moment after Rebecca’s nervous mutter. He was dressed in black clothing and would have looked faintly melodramatic save for the darkness that shrouded him. “Shae’s not coming. Horst literally assigned her a babysitter minutes before we would have slipped out.” ,, “And they weren’t watching you?” Rebecca asked as Sean dropped his duffel bag on the roof. ,, “Ha, no, I don’t warrant one. Yet.” His grin was grim as he opened the bag and showed her some camping equipment. “I have a feeling I’m earning one right now.” ,, “We probably both are.” Rebecca nodded at his gear. “Did you camp with your dad?” ,, “No, my dad’s still out getting cigarettes.” At her confused look, Sean said, “My father ran out on Mom. She raised me. No, this is from the Boy Scouts.” Rebecca didn’t make a “being prepared” joke, thank God, and Sean zipped up the bag before looping it over his shoulder. “The plan is to carry you up above the city, have you open a warp to high above Mexico City, and then go through there. Is that a plan?” ,, Rebecca smiled. "I can fly, you know." She said, suddenly blushing. "Unless... you want to carry me... I'll just need a minute as I look at a location... so perhaps carrying is a... good idea." The thought of being carried by Sean was... daunting. "Yes, let's go with your idea." She didn't have time to dally. She pulled out a tablet from her bag, Sean catching a glimpse of various bits of food, and some of a first aid kit. "I can extrapolate a location, and it'll take roughly a minute. More or less. It takes that long for me to quantum-entangle two locations in time-space." She takes her bag up over her shoulder. "Would you mind... taking the lead then? You probably have more training than I... I mean... I did go through that month at Langley learning some survival things and emergency response stuff... typical "what to do in case of a terrorist attack" stuff." She did it more so that her parents wouldn't worry about her. "I digress... What's important is that we get there. We can work on the details as we go. Our plans will probably fall to pieces." She starts getting herself organized. "I'm ready." ,, “I don’t have any training.” Sean shrugged at her expression of dismay. “I’m just a Boy Scout who wants to get some red off his ledger.” Needless to say, Sean had watched The Avengers a few times too many. “So you’re actually the one with all the brain-stuff that we’re going to need. I’m the brawn. And if you want to fly yourself, that’s cool. I just… uh, manage to forget that you can fly. Because I’m a self-centered jerk, ya know?” ,, “It’d be good if I can focus on the warp,” Rebecca insisted, even as a pretty blush rose on her cheeks. ,, “Right.” Sean cleared his throat and considered how you politely picked a girl up and carried her. He doubted it’d work like in that old Superman movie. Just holding her hands might result on her losing her grip and falling. Everything else seemed way too invasive, but he finally made a call between possibly fatal and possibly embarrassing. “Uh, sorry about this.” He bent over and scooped her up in his arms, like a groom carrying a bride. Soon, Rebecca was not the only one blushing, and they were high in the air. ,, Rebecca got quiet. The distraction of needing to get this right the first time was starting to take over her youthful impulses. In fact was she old enough to even have impulses was a thought she entertained for a moment before being taken high above the city. "Now note once we get the tesseract open, as soon as we're through I can fly under my own power." She finally sees a spot where there was a park. It was just far enough from the DSA base camp that they wouldn't be noticed, and that it would make a good spot to land. There wasn't any satellite intel she could access without getting caught, she she was making an educated guess with Google Earth and knowing she should pop out at about 500 feet to have some time to switch from warping to flying. She closed her eyes. When she opened them again, she could sense herself starting to connect the threads of reality between where they were to where they were going. She started to sense on the other side the ruined city that awaited them. Nothing was mofing except for trash in the wind and the occasional loose dog. "We should be careful when we arrive... there's some loose dogs." Her ability to see things on a "holographic level" as she started to get her warp in place was quite a asset for her. She took a deep breath and even Sean now could see a bluish haze as quantum energy began to swirl in front of them. Rebecca held out her free hand and focused on a small point in each dimension... 1st... 2nd... 3rd... 4th... Her eyes began to glow... 5th... 6th... Reality seemed to waver and quake as the Witch of time and space commanded her servant that was reality itself. 7th... 8th... 9th... 10th... 11th... Every dimension now aligned. "Gates of Reality! Gates of time! Open your doors! Let us through to help those that need us! Serve your mistress AGAIN!" She commanded, snapping her fingers. And the warp opened. A swirling cloud of white energy formed a defined ring wide and tall enough to allow the pair to fly through easily. ,, Sean blinked in confusion behind his glasses. Does she really need to say all that? That is… weird. After a second, he let it go mentally. They had bigger things to worry about right now. He zipped forward and through the warp, reflexively closing his eyes as they passed the threshold. Once he felt the change, he opened his eyes and dipped lower, getting below the point where they could be seen. ,, He didn’t go all the way to the ground; hovering about ten feet up, he told Rebecca, “We shouldn’t land unless we know the ground is stable or we need to help someone. Why don’t you fly around and find us someone to save?” Sean wasn’t sure if that was how it was supposed to work, but he didn’t have the first clue what to do beside start to dig into the rubble to find someone. ,, "Right." Rebecca started to hover, looking around, her eyes starting to glow as she turned on every sensory trick she could. She could see the electromagnetic signature of radio and wireless waves transmitting like a cloud of noise from the DSA basecamp. "At least I got a bearing on the base... I'll need a minute to reconnoiter. As I can't access the DSA's crisis network to rely on their data without getting caught, I'm a bit blind as to their plans in this spot." She adjusted her jumpsuit-like outfit. "I am very much not trained for this... but I'll try... just give me a moment. Gotta take in the X-Rays and other electromagnetic... Ah..." Rebecca was starting to see the situation, being able to see through materials, soaking in the various types of electromagnetic radiation that marinated the landscape and turn it into an almost wall-hacked overview of the scenery. But then... the X-Rays kicked in. "Oh.... oh my god..." Rebecca hovered down to a cement slab that was a solid portion of their wrecked surroundings. The scene she had a hard time relaying. "It's... Horrible... most of the... dead here... were pulverized..." She looks around and sees a huddled group of people not too far from them. The skeletons were moving. She points towards the rubble. "Wait... there is a van over there, but it's covered with debris. A couple of I-Beams are keeping the rubble from putting their weight on the Van, crushing it, but I am not too sure that this is going to be easy to extract them." Then Rebecca's eyes widened. "I can open a warp, I think I can hopefully get you in there so they can be retrieved." "There are two adults, Male and Female, and Two children, both female. The male seems to be lying on the floor of the back of the van." The creak she heard worried her. "We'll have to move fast. I think the I-Beams supporting the rubble are compromised." She didn't wait, she started concentrating to open a warp. She knew she had enough time to get it done right, and it had to be done right. That, and she had to make sure Sean could get in, assess the situation, and evacuate the survivors. She could see the 11 dimensions of reality begin to swirl to her will. ,, “Don’t spend your energy on that.” Sean closed his eyes for a moment, and called one of his own powers. Reality appeared to twist and shift around him and his body swelled. Finally toned muscles matured more, filling out more. Then he flew over to the rubble, seized a large, flat wall of concrete, and used it to scrape rubble aside. When he reached the supporting I-beams, he used more chunks of concrete to support them. Then he was able to reach the van and rip the back doors open. “Everyone out, let’s go!” Remembering that he was in a Spanish-speaking country, he added, “Vamos!” ,, Regardless of his proficiency or lack with the Spanish tongue, the people seemed to understand. Or perhaps, he considered, this was a situation that surpassed language. The children scrambled out before he was done talking, and the woman said something to him and pointed at the man. “Injured, unconscious, got it.” Sean leaned in, seized his shoulders and hauled him out. ,, By that time, Rebecca was there, looking a bit annoyed with him. “That wasn’t the best way to do that.” ,, “Look, how many warps do you have in you? Five? Ten? Twenty? We’re going to need your power more later, when my brawn can’t reach them.” Sean motioned at the guy at his feet. “Does he have any broken bones?” ,, Rebecca frowned and peered at him. “No, I think he’s concussed.” She kneeled next to him and gave him a more thorough exam before using smelling salts to revive him. “Yeah, there’s a build-up of heat in his skull that means bruising, but the bones aren’t broken. He should be fine.” She explained that he was concussed and needed to stay awake, and seek medical attention soon. ,, Sean pulled a roadside flare out of his duffel, ignited it and handed it to the mother. “Wave this around. Help will come.” He made a note to come back and check on the family later today. “Next, Rebecca?” ,, The young woman peered around and spotted another group. This time they did have to use her warps to get the five elderly sisters out of their house, and one of them had a compound fracture. Rebecca bandaged her leg and Sean flew her to a Red Cross relief station. They tried to question him, but Sean just flew back to Rebecca. After telling the four sisters where to find their sibling, they move to the next rescue. ,, The night turned into a nightmare of injured and dying people, all of them pulled from the greedy earth. The people they pulled out were all the same – haggard, in ripped clothing, with dull eyes and gray dust and mud clinging to them. They stopped looking like people at one point, and more like strange dirt-monsters. Sean had a horrible thought at one point: they all looked like mole-people, climbing up to the World Above for the first time. He choked back hysterical giggles at the thought. He also missed the fact that he was on the verge of a meltdown at that point in time. ,, Near dawn, Rebecca’s x-ray vision found not one but two groups. After pointing them out, she asked, “Which one is first? That group has twenty in it, and that one eight.” ,, Sean rubbed his eyes and mumbled, “Bigger one. Save the most people. Can I dig ‘em out?” ,, “No, they’re way down there.” Rebecca wearily began to align the dimensions again. “Wow, I’m about out of juice. These two might be my last.” ,, “Sure.” Sean was too tired to think very clearly; the only thing in his head was the desire to sleep. “We should rest anyway.” ,, “Sean, wait… the other group, the smaller one? I think they’re children.” Rebecca’s voice was tinged with sudden doubt. ,, Sean hesitated, torn. “No, the bigger. More people.” His hands were clenched in tight fists and his arms trembled. Every part of his being demanded that he should go for the kids first, but he was here to rescue as many people as possible. ,, “They’re kids, Sean.” Rebecca pleaded. ,, “They’re all people. Save the most, Rebecca.” Sean’s body was shaking and his vision blurred. Blinking helped but he wasn’t even aware that he was crying. “You warp the others out while I start digging the kids.” ,, Relief flooded her features. “Okay!” she said, turning her full attention to opening the warp. As Rebecca did that, Sean started to dig. He moved with mechanical precision: grab the top-most rock, lift and move. He repeated this over and over, giving himself over to moving the heavy debris. He opened the room they were in when the building shifted. ,, Sean screamed and braced both hands on the tunnel, trying to hold the structure up through his strength. It didn’t work, and he saw the room he’d so carefully excavated to collapse on itself, shooting a plume of dust and blood into Sean’s tunnel. For a moment, the boy was caught in shock; then the anger and grief set into his soul. His man-made entrance was largely gone and he began it dig his own way out. ,, When he broke the surface, Rebecca was waiting, shaking and crying. “Sean! I thought you’d been crushed! I would have opened the warp but…” Her eyes darted away in shame. “I had already started to make a warp the room.” ,, “They’re gone.” Sean’s voice was ragged and he was seconds away from a breakdown. “I saw it fall on them.” ,, “Oh, god…” Rebecca hugged him fiercely and told him, “We got the others… we saved the twenty.” ,, The hug was comfort he didn’t want, and that was because it ripped away the last of his self-control. Rebecca staggered slightly as Sean half-collapsed, clinging to her and breaking down into heaving sobs. He was only vaguely aware of Rebecca talking to the rescued people in Spanish. He didn’t pay any attention when she walked him over to the bags, and she had to loop his duffel around his chest. She was the one who found a place to set up Sean’s tent and got it set up; the only thing that she couldn’t do was get him to eat. Sean adamantly refused and cried himself to sleep, curled on his sleeping bag. ,, Once Rebecca was sure Sean was asleep, she walked away, making sure she couldn't be seen, particularly for what she was about to do next she felt such a show of unrestrained rage and emotion would bring too much attention. Near an already gutted building, she stood dead center in the already marked clear rubble, her eyes glowing with her last shreds of quantum. That rage built on itself, twisting and churning. She felt betrayed by the very thing that was hers to command. Time. She put on a respirator she had in her bag she had been using to protect herself from breathing in dust, as her glare transformed into a contorted expression of confused, adolescent frustration. She unleashed a primal scream. Her very mastery of space and time cutting through the building like an array of trillions of blades of compressed space-time. "DAMN IT ALL TO HELL!!!" All that remained was a cloud of dust and carefully sliced debris, falling round her, but not on her. She couldn't do it all... she couldn't halt time for one moment to give her time to think... to act... Those children died because she wasn't good enough to cheat time... not wise enough to have made a better plan. There was no such thing as no-win scenarios and this was all her fault, and Sean... Sean was paying the price. She climbed out of the perfectly carved crater she left around her. When she reached the mouth there were shocked survivors looking at her. "Leave me be..." She mumbled in Spanish wearily making her wak back to Sean's location. Then her phone rang. "Fuck..." Rebecca muttered. Of all her precautions she forgot to turn off her cell phone... Oh god, that means that her phone accessed the DSA network that was... "Ohhhh.... shit..." Out of energy to warp and now her smartphone's ID has to have been logged on the DSA network. She looks at her smart phone. It was her Mother. "H... Hello?" "Where are you, young lady? I stopped by Langley to give you some cupcakes I made for you before I go to that Neuroscience conference in Dubai. You weren't anywhere to be found! I was about to send DSA security to look for you!" "Sorry... I'm out with Sean tonight." Her mother's tone took an interested, playful tone. "Oh? How is he?" "He's... not well... I think we'll be heading back soon." "I hope so... it's late." "Don't worry, I can get us home pretty quick when needed. You know how I can't be held down." "Well, I left your cupcakes in a covered dish in your dormitory. Please call when you get back, alright?" Rebecca nodded. "I will." When the phone hung up, she muttered a number of curse words she knew from every language she understood. She didn't know that the DSA had her Mother keep enough of a conversation going on to triangulate Rebecca's GPS location. Rebecca heads back to Sean, wishing she had packed her tent. Or even a air bed. The ground was flat enough... She sits down, setting her duffle bag on the ground near Sean's tent, and lays her head on it. "I'm sooooo screwed." ,, * * * * * ,, Horst jerked out of a “power nap” on the air mattress that had turned into full-on sleep, complete with drool and a head full of cotton. His phone continued to ring without mercy, the brassy noise cutting through his headache like a drill. Still, he managed to pick up and answer without much sign of his weariness. “Horst.” ,, “Director, we have picked up Rebecca Rathbone’s phone in the disaster zone.” The technician sounded tired, too; the support crew had been up all night offering help from Langley. ,, Horst sighed and a curse word slipped out with his weary exhalation. The technician was professional enough to pretend not to notice. The director considered for a second to who send; Kei was still up. “Send the coordinates to Kei.” Hanging up before he got confirmation, Horst dialed the super-jet.
  3. “Then you better keep your ass at home, Rebecca.” Sean hadn’t said much as they’d left the room, his expression angry. “I’ve seen dead bodies. They aren’t pretty, and what you saw in the lab was nothing like a real corpse. Real corpses are bloody and messy. It won’t be a cleaned lump of meat formerly-known-as-human. It’ll be awful. It’ll be something you see in your worst nightmares for the rest of your life. If you can’t handle it, then don’t come.” His polarized sunglasses focused on Shae next. “And this isn’t a game or a sightseeing trip. If we go, we go to help. We’re not going to see the Real World, Disaster Zone edition.” The young man was staring at all three of the female teens, his expression set in a hard scowl. He was not only serious, he was absolutely adamant. “You’ve seen a lot of bodies?” Ana asked, looking skeptical. “Yeah. I’ve seen dead bodies. I made most of them, and the cops made sure I saw every damned one of them, even the babies.” Especially the babies: one of the first officers to respond was a new father had reacted viscerally to the event. He had sense been reprimanded, but the damage was done: Sean had been given more nightmare fuel. “So if you come, you’d better be damned ready to see some really fucking awful things.”
  4. “Uh, nuh-uh.” Sean had only taken one look at Rebecca but he was already shaking his head. “We’re not clubbing at a high school dance, Bekks-doll. Or a realtor’s ball; you look like you’re trying to see me a house. You’re killing me here.” As the girl stared at him in the wake of his strange nickname, he winked at her to show she should play along. Realizing a second after that he couldn’t see his eyes behind the glasses, he muttered, “Play along.” ,, Within seconds he’d resumed his role as a arrogant young exec, out for a night on the town “Here.” Sean took all the ties and stuffed them back into the bag. Then he dug in there and pulled out a thin cream scarf. “Lose the jacket and the vest—and those brown leggings, even I know that the ladies on the magazines don’t wear that stuff. You shaved those gams, right?” ,, “My what?!” Rebecca hissed. ,, “Your legs, girl, I know its winter, but you shaved right?” Sean wiggled his ass in the whitest white-man dance ever. “You got it, you should show it.” ,, “Sean!” Rebecca’s face was red. “I’m thirteen!” ,, “Shh!” He looked around to see if anyone was listening. “Not tonight you aren’t, right?”
  5. “Actually, I have a hotel scouted out.” Shae smiled at them as she led them through the night. “We don’t have to buy anything and you guys won’t smell like cheap fast food or gas.” The hotel was a five star hotel, but the staff didn’t even notice them as the four walked through the lobby and headed for the bathroom. Sean went in the men’s side and choose a stall, quickly changing. Shae had picked out a nice jacket and pants with a white shirt. There was no tie, so he wore the shirt opened. An expensive watch sat in the bottom of the bag, and Sean put it on with a swallow of trepidation. Thank you for plausible deniability. He felt bad about that for a moment before deciding that if Shae didn’t want to get in trouble for stealing stuff, she shouldn’t steal stuff. ,, If that was in fact what she’d done. ,, Sean stepped out of the stall and checked himself in the mirror. A young man wearing a nice suit and classy shades was the image in the mirror and even Sean had to be impressed. “Damn, I clean up nice,” he muttered as she checked himself out again and adjusted his hair again. ,, Aware that the girls would be waiting for him soon, Sean stopped his narcissistic gazing and headed outside. He felt more confident as he exited, his head high and shoulders back. He looked like a million bucks, he felt like a million bucks… he only hoped he wasn’t wearing a million bucks.
  6. Sean looked at Rebecca, wondering if she really thought they looked like siblings. “Right. Mom. Sure.” Then Shae saved them all by wondering up. “Oh, look. ‘Mom’. Hi, ‘Mom’. These nice guys thought we were homeless. They were going to give us a place to stay.” He turned to the men, all charming smile. “Thanks again…” His voice trailed off as the two men turned and walked away without another word. “Weird.” The teen shrugged it off and turned to the others. “Let’s go.” Shae led them back to the cab. Sean took the front seat and let the three girls have the back. Shae directed the driver to an address, letting them out a short distance from the club. “I guess we have to change into the clothing… somewhere?” He looked Shae closely, wondering if she’d planned this out, too.
  7. Sean tried to look casual on the park bench, but there were a few things working against him. First, Shae was ‘getting them money or clothing’, and Sean sure as shit hadn’t asked how or where she planned to get them. He also wasn’t going to ask her when she showed back up with stuff. Second, it was late, and he was chilling in a park with two young girls. They were both thirteen—he hoped—but he knew that as the oldest and as the guy, he was getting the blame. Third, the neighborhood wasn’t the best; they’d already had some rough-looking dark-skinned people looking at them funny. Sean was no racist, but he was aware that he was a white kid alone with two white girls, with a third white girl out in the night doing something that was probably illicit (not that he was going to ask). An older black man had been watching them for some time. He was talking to a younger black man with him, but the guy kept looking over at them with a frown. Sean shifted and sat up straighter, only half-aware of Rebecca’s chatter as she gushed on about some computer game. She didn’t like any of the games he did; she liked thinking games. He’d asked her about it to distract her and then promptly tuned her words out. The two men stopped talking and headed for the three of them. Sean leaned forward as they approached, then stood when they were within talking range. He pulled his shades down and their progress faltered at the sight of his glowing, inhuman eyes. The older man didn’t stop and asked in a deep voice, “Young man, are you and your friends all right?” “What?” Sean asked, expecting another question entirely. The man stared at him evenly. “If you and your friends need shelter, my church has ties with a youth shelter. You don’t need to be out here if you have nowhere else to go.” “I, uh… no, we’re waiting on my friend.” Sean felt embarrassed by his assumption about the man’s intentions. “She should be back soon. Uh, but… thanks? For the offer. It’s nice of you.”
  8. “Come on, Rebecca.” Until now, Sean hadn’t given any indication he’d caught their names at all. Even as he displayed his knowledge, he gave Rebecca the kind of smile that would disarm many women in the future. It was a charming smile, full of promises and all the more enticing because it seemed sincere. His voice had shifted into a cajoling tone, gently wheedling without being whiny. “You should try the club. Do you like dancing?” Rebecca found herself flushing a little from the male attention. “I’ve never been,” she admitted. “Then you gotta try it, right?” Sean’s smile warmed even more. “I can show you some moves.” Well, he hoped he could. “And I say if we’re doing this, let’s do it right. Let’s go to the good club, get the clothes we need and have some fucking fun.” They were already in trouble; they might as well make the punishment worth it. Sean matched words to action and dropped off of the landing, urging the others to follow him into adventure.
  9. Sean kept an eye on Rebecca and their surroundings as they made their way through the building and outside. The night air felt good to him as they exited the massive DSA fortress. When Shae pointed to the ledge, the young man’s feet left the ground. They came back down quickly; Sean found it far too easy to slip into flight, and he always felt vaguely ashamed when he did so. It was the powers that had killed people and landed him here. “You can fly?” Shae innocently inquired as she gestured to Ana. “Can you get the ladder?” Sean wasn’t sure what their powers were, but both of the younger girls were a bit short to reach the first rung. Shrugging, he floated up and grabbed the stairs. He slowly released his flight, letting his weight draw the metal down. As the girls climbed up, he held on, letting them reach the ledge before he floated up to join them. Taking a seat, he considered Shae’s question. “I dunno the city real well. Are their clubs that’d let us in?” Shae gave him a bemused glance. “There are clubs that will let me in, and clubs always have a way for someone inside to let others in.” Sean swallowed and looked away from the girl. She was way more worldly than him, and it made him nervous, like no matter what he said, he’d sound lame. “Club sounds fun to me.” He hoped he didn’t sound like a dweeb. “I have some money,” he added. “Not a lot, but some.”
  10. “Uhhhh… aren’t you a little young to be thinking about stuff like that? Is your mom around here somewhere?” Sean wasn’t opposed to spending more time with The Girl—as he couldn’t remember her name, that was her official name in his head. Before Rebecca could reply, Sean shook his head. “Nevermind, let’s just split. Kid, you can come if you wanna, but I don’t wanna be here any longer.” As he spoke, he grabbed several plates and started to load up on the food. “Anyone have a way to carry some drinks, or should we stop by the break room for some pop?” He was thinking ahead, wondering where the hell they could go, even as he started to scan the room for Horst or another potential caretaker. It wouldn’t do to make all these plans and get stopped somewhere.
  11. Sean’s eyes were drawn to Kitty when she entered the room. His food was forgotten as he tracked her progress across the floor, and his fingers slowly reached up and tugged his sunglasses down so he could stare at her without filters between them. Her path caused him to see Connor in the flesh for the first time and his jaw dropped open a little. Then, Ms. Muse sauntered to Connor and planted one on him. Sean was completely agape at that point. Three of the most beautiful people in the world had just made out in front of him. His grief was gone, washed away in a tsunami of lust. He’d watched one porn in his life, and it hadn’t affected him as much as this moment had. Fingers touched his chin and gently pushed his mouth closed. “Hot people generally aren’t impressed by people drooling openly.” He jerked his head around to stare at Shae, who was giving him a little teasing grin. She pulled her hand back as she added, “Just a bit of advice.” Sean blinked, seeing her for the first time. Suddenly, he realized he was showing her his eyes, and he shoved the glasses up his nose. “Ahem. Uh… so would… I was thinking… well, there’s so many… Leaving. I’d like it, if you don’t… see, it’s crowded.” He cleared his throat. “Wanna go away from here?”
  12. The teen boy watched everything behind his glasses. He was nervous; for all of his bluster when he’d walked in, he was uncomfortable in his own skin. Sean was waiting for someone to call him out on his presence here; that’s what Sean would have done. There’s no way everyone could be okay with him being there. The girl caught his eye but the red head didn’t really react to her, not in the way a teen boy should have. She was pretty, but he didn’t feel anything looking at her. No surge of lust, no desperate desire to talk to her, no incredible awkwardness flooded him and made him embarrass himself. Instead, he shrugged at her question. “Dunno. I’m here for the food, and I just got here. Plus Horst pretty much insisted that I come, so I’m getting him off my back.” “Yeah, I like giving him his way while making him sorry did as he asked,” the girl laughed, and Sean decided he liked her laugh. Impulsively, Sean reached over and grabbed a skewer of shrimp, dropping it on her plate. “These are killer. Bit spicy. The rub.” He demonstrated by picking up his own stick and using his teeth to pull the meat loose. “But good.”
  13. “Hey, son. You ready?” Horst stood in the doorway to the room, wondering when he’d let this one get under his skin. Rob had been easy to hold off at first; his smart ass ways had made it easy to play the curmudgeon and protect himself. It had taken a good two weeks to worm his way into Horst’s heart. Sean McCline was a different matter; it had only taken a couple of days to hook Horst. Sean had been crying again. The kid was sitting on his bed, knees drawn up to his chest. The boy nova glanced at Horst, his features blurred by the dimness of the room. Sean’s strange eyes wouldn’t show redness, not with his sclera stained black. The faint green glow of his iris and pupil likewise hid the irritation from tears and rubbing, but his nose was red. Even beyond that, Horst had known that he would be crying. His mother’s funeral had been last week. “Do I have to go?” Horst’s heart twisted a little at the plaintive question. He’d left the boy alone for the most part; the custody trial and the funeral had been rough on Sean. But Horst was sadly familiar with dealing with grieving boys. “No,” he said softly, turning on the light. Sean drew two reactions out of the older man. Seeing the misery clear on the boy’s face in the bright light made Horst want to wrap him in a hug and tell him it’d be all right. “But I think you should go. Get out of the room and try to have some fun.” “Why?” Sean snorted as he bounced off the bed and went to moon out the window. “So, I can kill some more people?” The second urge arose in Horst at the boy’s sarcastic, petulant whine: the urge to shake some sense into the boy. Not for the first time, Horst reminded himself that Sean was a teenage boy, and therefore prone to self-indulgence and hormone-induced idiocy. “No, so you don’t shame your mother by being a whiny baby.” Horst wanted to wince at the look of mixed anger and pain on the boy’s face but he held firm. The kid’s face almost crumbled into tears again, but he somehow pulled himself out of another bout of tears. “That was harsh. But if you can look at me, and tell me your mother wanted you to hide in a dark room for the rest of your life, then you can stay.” Sean’s eyes dropped, but not before they shone with more tears. The kid’s shoulder’s slumped and Horst knew he’s won—not that he enjoyed this victory. The teen’s voice came out in a whisper. “I’ll be there in fifteen.” “Good.” Horst nodded and left, giving Sean the privacy to wash his face and change his clothing. Sean slipped his shades over his eyes, licking his lips nervously. The fifteen year old paused in the doorway, struggling to adjust to the tumult and press of people already at the party. A ripple spread through the crowd as they noticed him, whispers and murmurs that passed through the room. I shouldn’t have come. The thought alone almost sent him running. But Horst’s words about his mother taunted him and he drew himself up taller. Fuck them. Fuck him too. I’m hungry. With a teen’s casual arrogance, Sean walked over to the buffet table and started to load up a plate.
  14. Character Sheet Attributes: Strength 4 (Stout), Dexterity 3, Stamina 4 (Enduring) Perception 5 (Astute), Intelligence 2, Wits 2 Appearance 4 (Appealing), Manipulation 3, Charisma 4 (Genial) Skills Brawl 2, Athletics 2, Drive 2, Firearms 1, Martial Arts 3, Stealth 2, Endurance 3, Resistance 3 Awareness 2, Academics 2, Computers 2, Demolitions 2, Engineering 2, Medicine 2, Rapport 3, Tactics 2, Weave 5 Style 2, Diplomacy 2, Carousing 3, Etiquette 2 Backgrounds: Attunement 5 Backing 2 (DSA, more to keep tabs on him) Dormancy 3 Eufiber 3 Node 3 Resources 1 Traits: Willpower 3, Quantum 5, Taint 0, Quantum Pool 30 Mega-Attributes Mega-Strength 1 (Lifter) Mega-Stamina 1 (Resiliency) Mega-Perception 1 (Quantum Attunement) Mega-Appearance 1 (Awe-Inspiring) Mega-Charisma 1 (Soothe) Powers: Armor 2 Entropy Control 3 (Bioentropic Storm, Breakdown, Probability Corruption) Boost: Strength 5 (extra: extended duration, must be activated with Boost Stamina) Boost: Stamina 5 (extra: extended duration, must be activated with Boost Strength) Flight 2 Hypermovement 1 (Flight) Quantum Bolt 2 (Entropic Energy) Luck 4 Body Modifications: +6 Maimed Aberrations: Aberrant eyes (because I wanna) Point Breakdown (58 points) In theme: Entropy Control, Boost, Luck, Mega-Str, Mega Stm Entropy Control 3 - 6 NP Boost 5 - 10 NP (Str, linked to Boost: Stm) Boost 5 - 10 NP (Stm, linked to Boost: Str) Flight 2 - 6 NP Hypermovement 1 – 3 NP Luck 4 – 2 NP Q-bolt 2 – 6 NP Body Mods - 3 NP Mega-Str 1 - 1 NP Mega-Stm 1 - 1 NP Mega-Per 1 - 3 NP Mega-App 1 - 3 NP Mega-Chr 1 - 3 NP 6 Attributes - 2 NP 12 Abilities - 2 NP Experience Points (Currently has 0 xp of 0)
  15. Personal Information: Identity: Sean McCline Nova name: Chaos Occupation: teenager Legal Status: United States Citizen Marital Status: Umarried Known Relatives: Margaret McCline (deceased) Allegiance(s): DeVries Physical Traits: Weight: 153 lbs Height: 6'1" Apparent age: late teen’s Age: 15 DoB: July 1, 1998 Gender: Male Ethnic Background: Caucasian (very) Eye Color: Black and green Hair Color: Red Handedness: Right Appearance: There's a word for Sean's appearance: handsome. He could be a movie star if he wanted, though his eyes would limit his success in that field. The young man is well-built with a solid frame. He looks fairly normal, save for his eyes. He has black sclera with bright green pupil and iris. They are somewhat pretty, but their unusual appearance unsettles people, so Sean often hides them in public. It's only among trusted friends that he puts away the glasses and shows who he really is. Powers, Skills, and Personality Known Powers: Chaos is chaos – his quantum exists in a state of disorder. His node can find the pattern in his chaos and impose his will upon it. Normally, Chaos presses the limits of human strength and stamina with his base abilities. He can boost these higher with ease by reordering his quantum pattern for a time, exceeding humanity with a flex of quantum muscle. Chaos can affect the rules of physics around him at times to get what he wants. Along these same lines, he can manipulate probability itself. People sometimes have bad luck around him or really good luck. He can cause breakdowns of physics in the function of bodies and machines. This latter power is the most frightening of the ones he possesses. When applied to machines, they spark, overheat and melt. When applied to humans, their organs turn inside out, their skin peels back from their muscles and cancer spontaneously erupts on their skin. It is truly horrific, and Chaos uses the power with great reluctance. Any time Chaos activates a non-permanent power, his anima banner ignites. Abilities/Special Skills: Sean is a teen boy and has a skill set appropriate to his age. He’ll need additional training to prepare him for field work. Personality: Sean is normally a laid-back young man with a genial nature. When he’s not grieving, he's usually got a small smile on his face when hanging out with his friends, as if just being around them is a pleasure. Those who have his esteem have his staunch support, a true friend in trouble. Right now, so soon after the death of his mother, he is very moody and prone to emotional outbursts, something the DSA watches for closely. Background Sean McCline was the only son of Dr. Maggie McCline. She was a doctor at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. There was no one else, other than mother and son, creating a close bond between them. Maggie’s parents had died when Sean was two, and Sean’s father hadn’t been seen since the night Maggie conceived. Sean had a fairly normal life, growing up as the only son of a successful doctor. Sean planned to go to college as a pre-med and then to medical school. He was volunteering at the hospital in preparation for that career path. Sean had the enthusiasm but not the brains, and his mother was attempting to decide how to break that to him when it became a moot point. A gunshot victim was brought into the OR and Dr. McCline stepped up to start emergency care. The man, delirious from the pain, drew out his own gun and shot Dr. McCline. Sean heard the shot and being a young man with delusions of heroism, followed the sound. He found his mother dying on the floor, the bleeding gunman standing over her. Sean erupted with an EMP burst that fried every machine inside of a hundred yards. His next attack killed the gunman and took out a portion of the hospital, adding to the carnage. When the DSA arrived, prepared for a fight, they found Sean cradling his mother and crying. Sean was arrested for a few hours, then released into DSA care. The next day, a judge awarded guardianship of the nova to the DSA, given that he had no other relatives. Sean was moved to the DSA complex outside of Washington D.C.
  16. Sean felt his stomach sink a bit, even as his reserve hardened. This sounded like an infiltration mission and he’d never done one of those. DeVries had kept him focused on combat missions—Sean was really good at those. He was a strong fighter who didn’t lose his head in combat. Maybe it was his ability to stay calm in a fight that had gotten him selected for this mission. Regardless of the reason, Sean was going to do his best. “I understand, sir,” Chaos replied. “May I ask what kind of training we’ll be receiving?” He hoped it would be security and infiltration; he sorely needed some pointers on those. And he was guessing that the others did as well, based on what he knew about them.
  17. Chaos came into the room, ready to rumble. Gone was the pleasant, flirty man who’d hosted the poker game not so long ago. In his place was an imposing figure, sculpted muscles betraying the superior strength that Chaos possessed. His signature uniform with its ever-shifting, muted colors transformed him into a vaguely sinister force, unknown and unstable. His mask was the same; his only eyes were the black-shaded holes. Chaos entered and nodded to Henry. “Golden Tiger,” he said to Dash, then took a seat at one end of the table. Silently, he waited for their leader to get here. Inside, he was nervous and eager; this was the mission that would make his career. If he nailed this one, he’d be set for life. That sounded pretty good to the young man who always sought to keep something for himself.
  18. “Oh, fresh meat? Even better!” Sean was teasing, clearly, and having a good time. He offered Sunny his arm; when she took it, he did the same to Iris. Once they’d both taken or declined his arm, he walked them over to the table and held a chair for each of them. “Can I get anyone anything to eat or drink? We have plenty to choose from.” He glanced at Dash and added, “Not you. You can start getting the chips counted out.” “Why me?” “Because you’re uglier than Sam and you know what I mean when I say, let’s go high.” By that, Sean meant that they’d reduce the amount of each chip, so that people wouldn’t have to bet a lot of real money to get a lot of chips to play with. It was a typical concession when they had newbies at the table.
  19. Sean grinned at her question; Henry answered it but the red head was still nodding when Henry trailed off awkwardly. “No problem, the more the merrier, right? Besides, my mentor taught me never to turn away a pretty lady from your door—unless she’s a Terat. So you’re welcome to come on in.” “Terats?” Madeline said, arching an eyebrow. “Have you even met one?” “Not that I know of,” Sean said easily, ignoring the uneasy feeling in his gut whenever that subject came up. Note to self… stop bringing up the Teragen. “So, Sunny, you gonna join us for Poker or another time-wasting yet worthy social pursuit?” He gave her his best crooked smile, the one that always made girls blush and giggle at him. He was hoping it would work on Sunny, too.
  20. Sean looked a little sheepish at the question. "Uh... it was like this when I bought it. I know Elitin', not interior design, so I left it alone. It didn't make me crazy, so I figured why fix something that wasn't broken?" He shrugged a little and added. "If you like it, then I guess I bought something nice."
  21. Sean raised an eyebrow at Dash, a gesture mostly wasted by his sunglasses, which were large enough to obscure the motion. They didn’t do moneyless at these games, and Sean had no idea why Dash had said that. As his mentor had once pointed out: “Poker without money is like a bra without titties. Empty.” He wasn’t going to argue with Dash about it, not in front of Sam, though he added, “We do generally play for money – not enough to make a man go broke, not even a Utopian.” He grinned at Henry to show it was all in good fun. The next knock on his door was a cute redhead, and Sean smiled and bowed as he let her in. “This is the place. Chips and sodas can be placed next to the other sacrifices, there on the counter. I’m Sean, your host. Just let me know if you need anything.” Then he turned his attention to Sunny and his smile got even wider. Asian was sexy, blonde was sexy and somehow Asian and blonde was super-sexy. But who was she? Sean thought he knew all the DeVries and Utopian second-gens. Apparently not! “You’re welcome, too! I’m Sean, your host – just lemme know if you need anything...?” “I’m Nora.” “Let me know if you need anything, Nora.” Sean did the host thing for another couple of minutes – getting a glass for Dianthus when she asked for something besides plastic to drink from, speaking with Gabriel for a bit to make he was comfortable and rearranging chairs so that Sam could sit with Celestia and Dash at her side. That done, he got a plate of finger foods and glanced at the newcomers. “So. What do you all do for Utopia? Aside from Celestia, I’m afraid I only know names.”
  22. Henry found the door opened by a smiling red-headed man wearing shades. “Oh, hey. You must be one of the Utopians. I’m Sean, one of the DVers.” He pronounced it like the initials followed by an er sound. A strong hand was offered to shake. Though Henry couldn’t see it, Sean’s eyes did dart to the side to see what the guy had done to his door. Failing to see anything out of the ordinary, Sean decided that he’d have someone come over and sweep the door just to be safe. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust the Utopians; it was because the guy had been doing something weird. But that unease didn’t translate to Sean’s smile as he drew back and waved Henry inside. “Here for the poker or just to hang? Oh, you can leave that briefcase there.” He pointed to a shelf just inside the door. It was in clear sight of the room, and clearly installed just for guests to leave their items on. “If you’re here for the game, we haven’t dealt or counted chips even. You’re just in time.”
  23. The doorbell buzzing ripped the young nova out of a vivid fantasy world of knights on clockwork horses and blunderbuss-firing princesses. Blinking a little at how much time had passed, he slipped on his shades and hopped up from his couch. Still half-lost in the land of Elieria, Sean locked his e-reader as he walked over to the door. Tucking the device into a handy, bare spot on his shelf, the young red-head peered through his peephole, frowning a little when he saw who was there. Not the people he’d hoped would show up, but it was an open invitation. And it didn’t help that Sam was there. Putting on a smile, Sean pulled open the door and waved for people to enter. “Come on in! I thought I was going to be stuck playing solitaire. Dash, Sam, Celestia – good to see you all. Hi, I’m Sean,” he added with an extended hand to the people he was unfamiliar with. “Come in, make yourselves at home. The food’s over there, and the poker table is there. The carpet and furniture are stain-resistant, and there’s games and movies and stuff if poker isn’t your thing.”
  24. The fic I started is for all DV/Topies approved for play in AHD. I know I'll be gone; assume that Sean greets you appropriately - he's a decent guy who likes his friends. Have fun - I'll catch up when I get back.
  25. For an orphan, patterns and established relationships were very important. Each child without the stability of a family went about these in different ways, but they all tried to find somewhere to belong and something stable in the way of relationships. For Sean, there was the added difficulty of what his parents had been. He couldn’t know that they were Teragen. It wasn’t common knowledge where Sean had been found as a baby, but he knew, and that knowledge was always there. He’d wondered which of his instructors had known and every time he’d failed or just misbehaved, he waited for them to blame his heritage. They never had, but the blame he’d given himself was just as damning. Still, he tried to forget and have some fun. That’s why he’d established the Sunday Night Poker and Food Party among the other DV second gens. A quiet request down the line from Anna had opened it up to their Utopian peers as well. Sean’s condo was in Otjomuise, a high-end suburb of Windhoek where many Elites lived. His place wasn’t a million-dollar mansion, but it was the entire floor of a modern high-rise. Frankly, it was more room than he needed day to day, but it had been open and the price had been right when he’d been looking. Taking this place had meant he could stop looking, too. The main area was a combination living room, kitchen, and dining room. The living area was closest to the windows with their panoramic view of Windhoek; the floor was two steps lower than the rest, clearly defining the space. The kitchen and dining room were located behind the living room. Right now, the place smelled good. Sean always catered these events; he couldn’t really cook and with his income didn’t need to cook. Tonight he’d gotten finger foods from the American restaurant down the street, which he’d set up in his kitchen. His big table in the dining room had the cards and poker chips on them, ready to be passed out when guests arrived. He’d set up his entertainment system in the living room so that if anyone’s date wasn’t interested in poker, they had something else to do. The green-eyed man looked around the room one more time, satisfied that he was ready. Now he just needed his guests to arrive.
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