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z-Kitty Price

Aberrant: Infinite Earth - Cosmos Nova - A New Day

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The wind blew cold and hard outside the Kauffman Center for the Arts; Midwest winters were always unfriendly. The other members of the charity committee board were straggling out in twos and threes, but Kitty was well ahead of them, moving briskly toward her rented car. She was eager to get away before Connor caught up with her.

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It had seemed a pleasant commitment last November; a charity for cancer, featuring a nova auction. It was still in the formation stages, which meant they had a long time before this duty would be over. Before Christmas, Kitty had looked forward to it. Now the long months of planning seemed to drag on interminably.

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It was so hard to see him and know that they weren’t together. It was harder to look at him and feel disappointment. Kitty felt tears sting her eyes. She’d lost Harley, her best friend, and now it felt like she’d lost the friend she’d made since Harley’s death. Damnit, Connor, why? I thought we knew where we were…

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Kitty lifted her chin and blinked back tears. No. No more crying over Connor. She was done with moping over a man. It was a new day for Kitty Price.

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Connor of course didn't miss Kitty's departure. Anyone else, he'd have let her go. This was Kitty though, and Connor had resolved to not screw this reunion up as well. Half the reason he'd come out to this meeting was due to her being there.

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He was quite fleet of foot even when not running, and quickly managed to catch up to her, at least to where he didn't have to actually yell.

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"Hey. Kitty, wait up abit, will ya?"

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He hadn't seen her face, only her from behind, and was rapidly closing the distance. Not quite smiling, but clearly something was on his mind, and hers from the look of things..

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Kitty sighed and rolled her eyes, turning back to Connor with her exasperated expression. “Why, Connor?” The beautiful woman crossed her arms and stared at him. It wasn’t a glare; it was a moue of resignation. “We said everything we needed to say in the meeting.” They hadn’t talked about anything personal in that meeting. The only topics had been pertinent to the upcoming charity.

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"Well maybe I wanted to talk, and perhaps see if you wanted to go to dinner?" His words wouldn't be innocent coming from anyone else, but to know him was to understand that when he wanted to imply other things, he did.

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This wasn't one of those times, and he looked at her hopefully.

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"it's been a couple months, I wanted to see how you're doing."

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“I’m not comfortable being your friend.” The words poured out; weeks of anger had festered and built pressure until it burst forth. “You’re dating or whatever that woman – do you know who she is? She makes dirty comics and sleeps with everyone. Jesus, Connor!” Kitty stopped, aware that they were in public and that the other members of the committee would soon be in earshot.

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Kitty visibly restrained herself. “This isn’t the time, I know. I’m sorry about unloading. I just… I never thought that you’d take up with someone like her.” The disappointment was clear in her voice. “I shouldn’t have said that. I’ll see you around, Connor.” She spun gracefully on her heel and started to leave.

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"Wait." He reached out to her, his large han coming to rest genlt on her shoulder. "i'm not dating anyone Kitty. Whatever what was between Sasha and I has been done since the end of the year."

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He moved in closer to her. "We really need to talk I can see, and just that, talk." He let go of her shoulder. "That way we can both clear the air, like you just did, and not give the tabloids anymore than they already have."

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he nodded. "There's a little Restauraunt on the north side of town. I'll be waiting for you at Seven, tonight. It's something that's very appropriate."

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"Please come, Kitty, I really don't want to lose you."

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Kitty sighed, her shoulders sagging as she felt the impact of Connor on her. It wasn’t his quantum; it was the fact that he was Connor, honestly. He’d always been able to get his way with her, no matter what it was. She should be stronger, but she wasn’t. “All right. I’ll be there.” Kitty started to stalk away, only to pause and add, “Don’t make me regret it, or I’m going to twitter that regret.”

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Connor smiled, confident that she’d never be so public with her anger. Then he remembered that she’d never threatened to do that before either, so maybe this time she was serious.

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* * * * * * *

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Vito’s was unremarkable from the outside. The wood siding was painted a dull white and there were no external decorations. But the diner’s parking lot was full, a testament to its food, and the clientele were all older. The music that played was the loudest thing in the room; the geriatric set were content to enjoy their delicious food in relative silence.

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Or they had, before Kitty had entered. Now they all stared at this nova who had come down from the heavens. When she heard one of them whisper, “That’s that Kitty Price!” she smiled ruefully and approached the nearest table.

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By the time Connor had arrived, she had worked most of the room, signing autographs, talking and otherwise making nice with the public. Your turn, she mouthed, grinning at him, when he saw the situation.

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Connor chuckled, catching everyone's attention when he walked in as she had. He smiled, and much as she had, he made a circuit of the room, signing autographs, and even taking a picture here and there. "Now, I don't normally ask, but if all of you would, don't mention that we're here. Even novas like Kitty and I would like to sit and enjoy a meal in peace."

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The men gave him a knowing nod, They'd all been young too, and the women, remembering fonder times from their youth, many in this very diner, also nodded, and the unspoken reply was an affirmative.

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He finally slid into an empty booth with Kitty, though he sat across from her. "Thanks for coming."

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The waitress came, bringing them both glasses of water, and menus and leaving.

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He smiled, something he always did more around her. "How have you been?"

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Kitty gave a one-shouldered shrug without really saying anything. She’d kept herself busy so she wouldn’t dwell on things, but she didn’t want to tell Connor that. “Eh, I’ve a couple of projects in the works, and a ton of charity functions, so I’ve been running around like crazy. And I’ve been out to China to see Master Guo, too.”

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“How’s that coming?” Connor asked, looking sincere and interested.

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Kitty chuckled ruefully. “Slowly. There are six year old boys who are better at this stuff than me, which is really embarrassing. But it’s good. There’s something so peaceful about it that’s just liberating.” Her smile became serene for a moment. “What about you?”

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"I've been helping out here and there. Nothing too major, just drawing attention to issues to help them get solved." He shrugged. "I rejected two scripts so far for the Halo movie, they didn't want to pay the writers I like to do it, going for something with less plot than a Michael Bay movie, which just isn't what I want to do."

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He looked at her. "I did send you copies though, in case you wanted to read them, and weigh in as well."

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That they'd gotten past her, likely because it was Mid December when he'd done so, was evident enough to her, but to him not so much.

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"I've been proceeding there off the talks we last had, trying to find us something that we'd both enjoy."

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He took a sip of his water. "Went home for my birthday and my parents' anniversary, saw all the family, That was fun."

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There was something in his tone that suggested something had been very missing from all of that.

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"I didn't read them." Kitty glanced away, out the window of the diner for a moment. "I didn't get them until right before the party, and I didn't have time to look at them before. Then I didn't want to look at them."

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"So I guess we should talk about that." Connor's expression became reluctant but he didn't avoid the subject.

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Kitty met his eyes. "You may not want me to." Her words could have been bitter, but they were just honest.

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"No, but I meant what I said about not losing you." He held her gaze, unflinching. "If we gotta talk to get to the point that we're friends again, then I'll talk for as long as it takes. So tell me what's going on with you, Kitty."

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"What's going on is that I have a great deal of respect for you." The second she started talking, he could tell she was going to unload into him. "You're one of my closest friends. And I can't believe that you'd sleep with that woman, but you did. Once I started to actually pay attention to the tabloids, it was clear you guys were close." Disgust twisted her face as she asked, "How could you associate with someone like that, much less have sex with her?"

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They zeroed in on the heart of the matter, or at least their disagreement, so quickly. "The truth of the matter, I was lonely."

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He looked at her intently. "I'd been single since August, and even then, Karrie and I had one real date." He held her gaze. "The last time I'd been with someone was with you on the yacht, and yes, even I do have needs I can only ignore so long. My first choice didn't seem to want me."

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It was about as crass a thing she'd ever heard him say anywhere near anyone else, and he at least was looking her in the eye as he said it. Sometimes he really could be an ass about things, and his mouth could outrun his brain and common sense.

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Anger roared over her like a wave of heat; her skin literally felt like it had been passed through an oven. “I’m sorry that my sister’s death and my grieving were so inconvenient to your sexual needs.” Connor flinched, because whether he was in ass-mode or not, it was clear that he’d mis-stepped there. “I’m also sorry that you aren’t man enough to go without sex for more than a few weeks. Jesus Christ, Connor, if you wanted to fuck her, just say you wanted a ride on the Muse-go-Round.”

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Kitty was just getting started. “Oh, do you know where I first heard that charming nickname? A chatroom of Muselings, those many lucky who have been granted access to her inner sanctum. And that’s just the polite name for her lady parts. Yeah, it’s an entire site dedicated to people who have gotten laid by Muse, who are there to help others connect with her and get laid by her. If you joined, you’d get the honorary status of a Museling, maybe more, depending on how many times you had sex with her. More than ten, and you’re a Musetaineer.”

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Kitty spread her hands and said, “Seriously, Connor. What the hell?”

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Okay, so, "Make an ass of yourself in an epic way" check. explain this lapse.... Even Inner Connor was silent on exactly how to pull that one off.

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He looked at her, Recovering abit, and shaking his head. "I'm sorry I was an ass there."

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Of course, there was nothing but sincerity in his apology, He didn't lie to Kitty, ever.

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"When She joined the DSA, when she was recruited, she put that behind her. She'd seen what she'd become, what damage she could do, and it terrified her, it woke her up to the reality of what she'd wrought." He looked at Kitty and nodded. "If she was still that person she was before, then she wouldn't be in the DSA."

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He slept with her, nothing would change that. They had to move past that now, if they could.

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The waitress came back at that moment, taking their drink orders, and appetizers before departing, as Connor turned his attention back to Kitty, fully.

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“Connor. Listen to me carefully,” Kitty said softly as she leaned forward. Connor leaned too, unable to refrain from the conspiratorial air she was exuding. “Fuck the DSA. I do not care about the DSA’s hiring practices, their reasons for hiring someone or any of that. The only thing I care about is you. So this is about your judgment. This is about you deciding that you needed to have sex and hooking up with the nova skank. I’m not even kidding, Connor. Her partner count is somewhere in the triple digits.

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“I thought you had more self-respect than that, Connor.” Kitty crossed her arms and straightened, frowning at him. “I can understand you finding company. I never assumed you’d wait for me to be ready; I wanted you to, but when I made the choice to not resume our relationship, I accepted the possibility that it might not happen. We left it off so well after that mess with the VR machine, and then I see you at Christmas and you’re there with someone else.” Kitty sighed. “I’ve gotten sidetracked. The main thing I wanted to say was that I could understand you hooking up with someone else. But why her? And if it’s because she’s hot… then you’re not the man I thought you were.”

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He was rarely at a loss for something witty to say, and he kept his mouth under tight supervision after earlier. "The long and short Kitty, Because\because in her I saw a sort of kindred spirit. Not in the sleeps with everyone way, but in the way that we can get whatever and whoever we could want almost without fail. That's a special kind of isolation. I deal with it by keeping things constantly in check, as I am now. Her way was different and would have proven destructive, moreso than it had. But she wanted to step back, and she did. She wants to responsible, to do real good. That's a quality, the willingness to admit mistakes and then try to rectify them, that I admire."

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Now I want to say something." He looked at her. "I did plan to wait for you, as long as it took, I still do. I have always held out hope about being with you again, not even sexually, though that's a bonus. But just knowing that when I got home, I would be sleeping next to you that night. Not that you'd stay there and wait for me, or I you. Simply that we'd have a place together that we'd call our home."

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He look seemed quite sad, but there was a hope in his eyes still. "I want that future more than anything, and I'll do whatever it takes to make it happen."

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It was a gambit, but there was no lie in his voice, or eye. He screwed up, and made a questionable call, it wasn't the best decision to sleep with Sasha, but he had, and it was done. She wanted him, but couldn't fathom why he'd chosen to share a bed and beyond with someone like Sasha, and he had only half answers for her. He'd felt drawn to her. It wasn't something that happened to him anymore, aside from when he was with Kitty.

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“So she was really hot is your answer.” Kitty looked sad. “I get that. I just didn’t think you’d give into that kind of… I don’t know.” She slumped back in the chair; even her tail drooped to the ground. “Yes, she wants to reform, but she’s not proven that yet. All she said is that she wants to; she hasn’t had time to prove that she’s sincere, and she certainly didn’t have that time when you got with her. I don’t know, Connor.”

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“About what part of what I talked about?” he asked, needing to know if she was talking about his choices or his dream.

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“About all of it. We’ve talked about how being beautiful isn’t what drew us together, and that was the best part of being with you.” It was Kitty’s turn to speak her mind. Her anger was gone and she was just sad as she talked. “I admired that about you, that you dated women who weren’t drop dead, like that Karrie girl. You seemed to see the person inside. So you may have seen something in Muse, but isn’t that a little quick?

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“Honestly, I don’t like that you slept with her.” The words came out in a rush. “It really bothers me, and I guess I need to work through it, if we’re going to do anything together.”

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“If?” Connor asked.

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If.” Kitty sighed. “I’m serious when I say that I don’t like it. Part of it is just that I don’t like her, and it really hurts to know that I’ll have to share you with her, always. Part of it is the way it went down; I was crushed when I came to the party, excited to see you, and she swept in and grabbed you like she owned you. Like you were hers. It really hurt. I felt cast off and now I’m just confused because you talk about having this dream of being with me, and then you were off sleeping with her. Even while wanting to be with me.” Kitty looked disturbingly hopeful as she asked, “Did she use quantum to seduce you?”

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He looked at her. "I don't know. I do know that she had no concept of holding back her abilities, and was she actively trying to seduce me, I'd have to say yes on that. Did Quantum influence it? I want to tell you yes definitely, but I won't lie.""

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He looked at her, and sighed. "I'm so sorry that I hurt you Kitty, I truly am." There was a great sadness in his voice, something no one had heard in a very long time.

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He looked impossibly disappointed with himself, and he knew that it was well within his power to turn this around, that all it would take would be the application of his gifts. He looked at her and smiled. "I was excited to see you too., I always have been. I was told my heart actually skips a beat when I first see you, or would speak about you."

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"There is nothing I can say to you to fix this, to mend our relationship easily. I know that, but more than anything I want you in my life. It may be hard to believe at the moment, and I know you're disappointed with me. I don't deserve it, but please give me another chance. "

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He wanted this to go better than it had. it was true he'd enjoyed his time with Sasha, it was also true she had of her own decided to do more than she was, and that up till now as it potentially cost him the relationship with the woman he loved, he had held no regrets.

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It wasn't the first time he used the L-word, but he'd not said it to her, and the moment didn't seem the time.

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Kitty stared at him a moment and finally sighed. She wasn’t satisfied with his answers, but she suspected that she’d never be satisfied. Just like her initial blow-up at the Christmas party, it didn’t make sense to her. The question was now: could she accept that she’d never be happy about Connor’s affair with Sasha. There was a petty urge to ask him which guy he hated the most and then go sleep with the man. But Kitty couldn’t be that person—not if she wanted to be someone she liked.

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“It’s going to take time, Connor.” Kitty’s voice was sad and she looked tired as she spoke. “Like I’ve said, this hurt me. I know it’s kinda silly of me – we weren’t dating or anything. At Christmas, I thought we might be going somewhere, only I got possessed and decided to be all weird and angry. I don’t suppose that’s something Muse could do, was it?” Her question was a touch too hopeful.

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“No,” Connor said, but now that he was thinking about it, there had been someone at the party who was good at manipulating emotions.

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“Too bad. It would have been easy to blame her for that.” At his look, Kitty said, “I can be honest about how much I don’t like her. It’s enough that I don’t want to think nice things about her. I’d rather learn bad things about her, so it justifies my feelings for her.”

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“That is honest.” Connor’s words were neutral and diplomatic.

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Kitty smiled sadly. “And unfair, but I guess I’m not perfect, huh?”

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"no one is, We're human Kitty." He looked at her and gave her an innocent smile. "For all our amazing powers and abilities, at the end of the day, we are fundamentally human, it's how we grew up." Helooked at the waitress coming to them. "Now, I will wait for you, as long as it takes, I'm very sorry I hurt you."

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He nodded. "Would you like to get something to eat now?"

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His smile changed slightly. "As for not being perfect, I think perfection is somewhat boring. It's the imperfections that make life interesting in my opinion. I think Wonderful and amazing better describe you."

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“I think it’s too soon to start laying on the adjectives, Connor.” Kitty’s expression and tone was one of wary regard. The waitress’s arrival forced her to have the last word until after they’d placed their food orders.

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“We’ve called each other similar,” Connor said, returning to their discussion the moment it was proper.

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“Yes but… Connor, I feel like I’ve been cheated on.” Kitty shook her head quickly, signaling to let her finish first. “I haven’t, I know that. But my heart feels betrayed. It’s dumb and I have no right to feel that. We weren’t dating or exclusive. It’s just hard for me right now to not think about it that way.”

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Kitty propped her chin on her hand and asked, “Do you understand? I hate feeling like this but I can’t shake. So maybe hold off on singing my praises until I’ve gotten this worked out in my head.”

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He nodded. "Alright Kitty." He was abit shaken by it, but resolved that it would be alright in time. He knew he would just have to wait. "The meeting for the charity went pretty well.."

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They talked about inconsequential—or at least, less painful—matters. Kitty was glad to focus on the charity and not on her feelings, or Connor’s feelings, or anything else in this nasty, complicated mess. She hated the whole thing and if she could have just forgiven Connor to the point that it was all washed away, she would have. But she’d learned on a boyfriend long before Connor had entered her life that suppressing her emotions, whether they were “right” or not, would only cause them to fester and emerge later.

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The casual conversation helped. Doing normal Connor-and-Kitty stuff was far more comforting than talking things out anymore, and the repetition of doing familiar things took away the awkward edge of discomfort. By the time that they’d eaten, conversation had turned back to the movie.

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“I’ve had a couple of people ask to be part of the movie. Kevin Bacon, for one,” Kitty said, smiling ruefully. “He’s desperate for work… but of course, most of the actors from before Refugees are.” Between green screen and someone like Connor or Kitty, there was literally no work for human actors. “He offered to produce, fund, direct—anything.”

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“You want to throw him a bone?” Connor asked.

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“Don’t put it like that.” Kitty sighed. “I just feel bad for them. You and I have it easy. There’s rumors that we’re looking at a project together and people just fly out of the woodwork to join us on it. About the only corner of the business that we aren’t holding is indie films, and by definition any film we’re a part of isn’t an indie film.”

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He smiled, "You know we could each take a camera with us, film our daily lives, and put it on the screen as a documentary, and it would still class as a blockbuster."

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"As far as Kevin Bacon, if he wants to Produce, that's fine. Maybe even a speaking roll in the show, A captain of one of the Starships, perhaps. I never meant to be the only show in town, or at least I don't want it to be that only movies with novas get watched. I've set up funding for several indie films myself, keeping my real name out of it, just so that it's not the Tarantino effect."

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"What?"

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"You know, If Tarantino has anything to do with any movie, people will go see it...Not as director, actor or anything, just some involvement, people go see those movies. They already do that with you and I."

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He finished off the first plate of his food and smiled. Kieth David and Richard Epcar approached me about doing voice work together. I was thinking we could have them voice the Sangheli antagonists."

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"Word got out fast that we'd both be involved, and we could make this a mega ensemble cast if we wanted. Warner Brothers has essentially given us the greenlight, on whatever we choose, and funding shouldn't be an issue since alot of the special effects work is cut out."

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"One thing that I did see in some of the scripts, is them wanting an AI duel. If we go that route, with you as the AI, they're going to make the enemy one fully rampant and insane. I was thinking that we could Tap Mark Hamil to provide the voice and motion capture, since you know, his version of the Joker is by far my favorite..."

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“If the AI battle involves our avatars really fighting, I’ll do it.” Kitty grinned unrepentantly as she confessed, “I really want to have an action part. It’ll be an awesome change from romances, dramas, rom coms and historical romances.” Kitty looked a million miles away for a moment, no doubt seeing her image suspended in front of an war scene or incredible explosion instead of inches from kissing a guy or gazing dramatically/sadly into the distance.

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“I don’t know if we want to use Mark Hamil, or rather have him use that distinctive of a voice. Won’t that create a dissonance with the viewers? They’re expecting an AI and they’re getting the Joker, no matter how indirectly.” Kitty frowned. “Know what I mean?”

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He nodded once and answered back. "True enough, but most anyone we use will have that sort of of dissonance. Unless we go with someone relatively unknown, which is an option."

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He nodded. "The battle would be real enough, an actual combat scene. Mark Hamil just came to mind because he has the characteristics we'd look for, he's very animated when he works, even for his voice over work."

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He looked at her. "You have someone in mind you'd like to have as your Arch Enemy?"

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“Benedict Cumberbunch.” Kitty smiled, her eyes unfocusing a little and becoming dreamy. “He’s cute, and that voice…” The last word was said was as much purr as word and Kitty added a slightly goofy smile to match her expression. “I’ve met him and he can play arrogant bastard so well, yet he’s a real sweet heart in person. He’s very professional, too.”

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Kitty looked at Connor finally, though there was a bit too much of that smile left on her face for his comfort. “He could play a mad AI very well.”

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Damn these Sherlock fangirls.....least she didn't say David Tennant...... He nodded. "Well if he's willing to do it, we can offer him the part." He looked down and set about finishing the second plate of food. "Anything else you would like to have, or anyone else you want to involve? I was thinking we could even see if Dr. Richardson would like to be in the movie, not all AI are human-looking after all, and One of the ships we're looking at is the Yamato, a Kitsune AI makes a sort of sense there."

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“That makes sense. She could copy my powers and maybe change her appearance a bit, if she was worried about the publicity.” Kitty smiled a little.

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Connor tilted his head. “You think she’d decline because of that?”

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“I don’t like people making a big deal about my tail, and she’s kinda got my tail but all over.” Kitty didn’t mean it unkindly; she was trying to empathize with someone who didn’t have a tail but a whole animal form. “Honestly, we’re doing this – we can invite anyone we want, even DSA people.” She grinned. “You could make Telluris a wizard or something. From what I’ve seen of him, he’d adore something like that.”

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“He’d probably want Karrie in it.” At Kitty’s questioning look, Connor smirked. “They’ve been dating since Christmas.”

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Kitty frowned. “Really? He seemed such a nice boy. Eccentric but nice.” The implication was that Karrie wasn’t, of course, and Connor didn’t correct Kitty.

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“They get along better than anyone would have imagined. I think they’re a perfect match… like another couple I can think of.” Connor grinned proudly as she caught his implication and blushed.

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“As much as I don’t like her, do you really want to compare their relationship to ours?” Kitty’s eyebrow arched as she stared at Connor with bemusement.

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"No, I suppose not, we're not constantly pranking each other, and there's never been handcuffs and "Pirate Booty" involved with us." He smiled happily, as if the sun shone down in that moment, and he sighed. "If we brought the two of them in, they might actually make real sets of the armor, and it would probably be functional."

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He laughed. "Horst would kill me stone dead for even considering that option."

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The attendant brought the check for them, and he paid, smirking at the look from Kitty. "My idea, my treat tonight."

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"If you want the next one, well, provided there is one, It's yours."

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"Can I take you back to your hotel?"

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The ball was in her court once again, he didn't have expectations from his tone, he was back to being his usual friendly and helpful self, the man she'd known before.

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