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  #26  
Unread 20th of July, 2004, 02:27
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Quantum

Quantum fiddles with the base-unit of his communicator as Wreck falls into step with him. Thankfully, he'd made a point of reading this part of the manual, though half of it must've been written in English, translated into !Kung (the language of the Kalahari Bushmen), then mangled into Dena'ina, then translated back into English with a twenty-year old language website.

Tapping in the codes for the other Centinels -- Wreck, Osprey, Bolt, the Mechanic -- he lumps them into a group so that he doesn't have to go through that rigamarole again. Mashing the TALK button, he speaks out into the air; the manual barely managed to explain the microphone built into the earpiece.

"Guys, this is Quantum. I was figuring we all get together, compare notes, terminate a few beers. Any suggestions?"

Last edited by LonePaladin; 4th of August, 2004 at 15:03.
  #27  
Unread 20th of July, 2004, 06:59
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Bolt

Ryan's frown deepens as he listens to the second click.

Could someone have been listening to their conversation? Unlikely, how could they know he was going to use the telephone. No more then likely they were recording it, which means the lines were tapped.

"Now, I'm starting to sound paranoid." He thinks to himself, but the nagging feeling just won't go away. "There is something wrong here, more then just bad hiring procedures."

Ryan gets up and starts to pace while he thinks, his injury and depression forgotten for the moment. "If the lines were tapped he would have to prove it, but this was way out of his league, all he did well was run all this spy and gadgets stuff," pause "of course Robert could probably figure it out pretty easily. Now all he had to do was figure out a way to contact him."

"Guys, this is Quantum. I was figuring we all get together, compare notes, terminate a few beers. Any suggestions?"

"Maybe this is going to be a good day after all." Ryan thinks, a smile appears on his face as he activates the communicator.

Sure that sounds like a plan, I do have plans for later, he adds in glancing at the clock, "but just give me an address and I will meet you all there.
  #28  
Unread 20th of July, 2004, 07:30
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The Mechanic

The beeping in his earpiece of the communicator going active startles Robert out of his conversation with Chyler on the latest test results on fusion reacions coming out of MIT and CalTech.

A second later, "Guys, this is Quantum. I was figuring we all get together, compare notes, terminate a few beers. Any suggestions?"
Quantum...the teleporter from the other day...
Followed briefly by..."Sure that sounds like a plan. I do have plans for later, but just give me an address and I will meet you all there."
Bolt... med staff must have given him the go ahead to check out.
"Scuse me a sec, Chyler..." as he toggles the 'Open" channel on his comm.
"Gentlemen.. This is the Mechanic... I'm at Oldburghs: Downtown Westside.
I'm sure my friend Charlie down here would be happy to set us up with something. It's pretty easy to find..and quiet at the moment.. Shouldn't have any media issues. Stop on by."
He tells them the address and half listens for responses.
Switching off the comm, he addresses his employees. "Hey guys... this is tons of fun, but I've got some associates who may be stopping by... just so you know, when they get here I'll be joining them."
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Unread 24th of July, 2004, 06:56
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Undisclosed location, New York City ?.
Syndicate X Headquarters.
11:01 am, January 15th 2010.


The ‘Port and X

X allowed the richness of the brandy to swirl around his mouth, enjoying the potency and flavour of the beverage. A light one, suitable for such an early drink. Finishing it, he put the glass down just so on the polished leather of his desk, next to the three-barreled gun of his own design, the modified PDA and the syringeblade of his autochirugeon. Each item of technology so beautiful, each so deadly in its own way. Swallowing, X rolled his kevlar-blend mask back down over his aesthete’s arched lips and down his narrow chin, covering his face in black anonymity again. In the dim light that seeped through the smoky glass windows, he settled back into his pool of shadows.

The ‘Port showed no such restraint in protecting his identity or in his drinking habits. The East European took a long, rough gulp from the bottle of vodka clutched in his bandaged hands, spilling some of it down his grimy, unshaven chin. Crouched next to him, the medic carefully wrapped a fresh bandage around the ‘Ports chest, avoiding the patients’ flailing arm - the one that wasn’t in a sling - and drunken outbursts.

X’s eyes roamed the bleak concrete room. Monitor screens and projectors scrolled endless streams of data from X’s various enterprises, fitted between plain metal shelves that were crammed with technical manuals, Tolstoy and stock market analysis documents alike. X’s broad brimmed hat hung from a stand next to the door; that wooden stand, along with the desk and chair behind which he sat were the only quality luxuries he allowed himself in this base of operations.

The medic tugged the bandages a little to tight over the ‘Port’s bruised ribs. With a snarl of pain, wheezy from his still-aching lungs, the arms dealer backhanded the young man across the room. X’s brow creased minutely under his mask, irritated at his ‘associate’s’ crudity. Taking another swallow, the arms dealer looked straight at X, dismissing the broken-nosed doctor.

“Acceptable outcome? It was not fucking acceptable, baruchya! They got that Irish moron, ruined the trade and nearly got me!” The ‘Port’s voice was rough and held a snarl as he gestured with his bottle for emphasis.

X shook his head and added a pacifying tone to his cultured voice. He was never sure how much of this carried through the vocal-pattern disguise circuit built into his collar, though. “You are thinking on too small a scale, Piotr. Seven out of ten of our deals have gone though successfully, thanks to your talent,” he added graciously. “Our objectives can be met with only five successful transactions; I ensured that there would be ample contingencies...”

“In case of mistakes?” the arms dealer grunted. “Your mistakes, not mine. You failed to account for these amateur losvarnich ‘Centinels’. And your plan, too. I’m here for the money. And I want it now.” The ‘Port placed his knuckles on the desk for emphasis, leaning forwards menacingly.

X failed to be intimidated. “Ahh, Piotr. Once again, you assume that the unfortunate event was a totally loss on our part. Certainly the Hammer’s services would have been useful in distributing the DP-9s, but the plan goes on without him. The loss of Actinic and Viscid is no great matter; I’ve already arranged for more competent mercenaries to meet us for the next phase.” X smiled, the expression hidden by his mask. “And by analyzing my remote cameras’ data, I have learned many, many useful things about our opposition. Their weaknesses are becoming perfectly visible; and that will allow us to destroy them at our leisure.”

The ‘Port scowled, clenching his fists. “Whatever, osgvanich. Mister X. Why didn’t you tell me about this fucking teleporter they have?” With a grunt, he clapped a hand to his head. “The little prick has no finesse! Every time he fucking ‘ports, it’s like there’s a gong going off in my head! I can hear him from across the damn city!”

X tilted his head, interested. “Delightful. Could you... locate him through these disturbances he creates?”

The ‘Port nodded sharply, massaging his temple. “Da. Through a Siberian snowstorm with my eyes closed.”

X placed a fingertip on his PDA, and began to will data into it via his galvanic-interface gloves. “Delightful. Another weapon in our arsenal. To paraphrase Sun-Tzu, to know your enemy’s disposition while remaining formless oneself is to know victory.

“Now. I can understand your frustration, and I will make allowances. The next phase can be delayed while we accommodate your payment requirements.” X nodded. “We will have Dr. Anderson... convinced to assist you. That may just suit both out needs, given his present employment. Rest assured, Piotr, you will be well taken care of. I keep my deals. Always.”

The ‘Port stood clumsily and retrieved his coat from the stand, draping it over his shoulders with his good arm. “You better, X.” And then he was gone, air rushing into to fill the void he had occupied.

X sighed, and thought seriously about having another brandy, but temperance and self-discipline won out. He turned to the small computer on his desk and reactivated the conference program.

“My apologies, WarGod. I believe we had just settled a price... two million per agent, plus expenses and your personal bonus, of course?”

From the speakers came a low, metallic chuckle.
  #30  
Unread 24th of July, 2004, 06:58
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Oldburghs Bar & Grill, New York City.
At the tables.
11:17 am, January 15th 2010.


The Mechanic

Your friends and employees drift out back to RisSun as your new teammates arrive one by one. Some of them seem kind of awed, even frightened by the parahuman pseudo-celebrities that you’ve become associated with. Chyler, the last to leave, gets up as a thunderclap and flash of purple light flares through the window.

“See you back at work, Rob...” she murmurs, her hand laying on yours for a moment.

Quantum

Teleporting across the city gets easier every time you do it, learning the layout and cartography, not to mention the delicate interplay of magnetic, electrical and gravitic fields that affect your power. Entering the cozy bar and eatery, you pause and look up at the skyline. A couple of blocks away, you see a figure launch from the roof of the building and disappear into the smoggy New York horizon. Someone watching you? Been too much of that lately, you think with a shudder.

Wreck

The chairs in this place are way too small. The beer’s import, which is okay, but the waitress looks like she should be selling Ma’s Homebake Cookies, not cramming herself into a Hooter’s tee as she shakes her way through college. Wrecks thick fingers fumble with the knife and fork; he’s not used to eating anywhere where the cutlery is more sophisticated than a moist towelette and cob-holdin’ forks.

It’s hard for the meathammer to avoid shooting the Mechanic a reproachful scowl; is it any surprise the geek chooses to eat here rather than a good, honest strip club.

Bolt

You’d almost forgotten what it was like to be in the back seat of a taxi, you’re so used to being in the drivers seat. Stopping off at your room at the Foundation hospital, you found the bag of clothes and toiletries someone had picked up from your apartment, and managed to slip into some comfortable civvies.

Oldburghs seems like a nice enough place; quiet. The materteral* waitress bobs back to the table, dropping off the plates you each ordered. In your case, a bowl of bland tomato soup; doctors orders. The thought of eating anything that needs a lot of digesting or, ahh, passing, makes your really uncomfortable. As it is, you have to hold one hand over your bruised stomach, Napoleon-like.

Osprey

Stop picking at it, or it’ll never get better.

But you can’t help it. Your tongue runs over the eight plasti-ceramic teeth in the front of your mouth, feeling out the gaps and joins, tasting the chemical foulness of the dental adhesive. They’ll do, you guess - like you’ve got a choice. It’ll take at least a fortnight for the dentists to culture the stem cells they extracted from the roots of the broken teeth into buds suitable for reimplantation, even if the Foundation decides to go to that expense on your behalf. You suppress a surge of indignation; while you can’t help but feel that they should do everything they can for you after what you suffered on their behalf, that kind of negativity can’t be good for the healing process. Plus, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering and all that. Always kinda weirds you out when Fong starts quoting Yoda.

Flying to this bar was kind of a relief; motion without stress of pain, drifting at your own speed. Kinda nice. Anyway, all five of you are here now...

* Aunt-like, similar to avuncular.
  #31  
Unread 24th of July, 2004, 16:40
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Quantum

As his... aw, hell, he'd better think of something to call it. Psychokinetic? No, that implies that he can move things around with it. In a sense, he can, but that's getting away from the point. Tsk. Until he thinks of something better...

As his warping field fades from existence, its affect on his appearance is a little drastic. His hair stops waving around in a nonexistent breeze; his eyes lose the blue-purple glow, and his clothing -- a pair of black denim pants, long-sleeved white shirt, and nice, heavy work-boots -- becomes their normal colors. As gravity reclaims its hold on him, dropping him to the pavement in a huff, he catches something out of the corner of his eye.

Glancing upward, he just catches someone launching themselves from a building and flying away. No one immediately familiar... then again, he hasn't seen one familiar face in the week since he was run through the microwave on defrost mode. With a sense of loss, he realizes that his old drinking buddies probably believe him dead. Shaking his head and trying not to let angst get into the picture, he enters the bar.

The others are already in their seats; no surprise, since he'd spent the past half hour just floating about half a mile above the headquarters. Taking the last empty chair, he starts to order a whisky sour, then reconsiders. Something, along the lines of a nagging feeling, tells him that dropping back into his old drinking habits would be a very Bad Idea. He only dimly recalls that the last time he was functioning under the effects of a fifth, he was behind the wheel of a truck.

With an apologetic shrug to Wreck, he orders a Dr. Pepper.

"Better make changes in your date-books, guys. Miss Angela is holding a press-conference in front of the house tomorrow, and wants all of us there to smile at the cameras and look heroic." He takes a swig of his soda, trying to dodge the massive amounts of ice they put in his glass. Next time, I'll ask them to remove the ice.

"So anyway, what was going on the other day? I got pulled out of cold-storage at the last minute, put under a Burger King heat-lamp, and told to 'port Mr. Lizard around and then help you. All I got to see was Meatshield here--" indicating Wreck with his free hand-- "slapping some pimp silly. I know there was more to it than that, but all I'm getting from Reptile is the cold-fish treatment. Anyone care to fill me in?"
  #32  
Unread 25th of July, 2004, 12:08
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[Osprey]

Rob swirls the iced tea in his mouth, letting the cold permeate the delicate tissues that had seen so much misuse lately. Synaptic terminals retreat from the drop in temperature and he is rewarded with a momentary absence of pain. Resisting the urge to crush the ice, he asks: "Just how long you been under, anyway?"

"The Foundation got a lead on an arms transaction that was going down in that warehouse. Not only was there a chance to block distribution of a crapload of illegal weapons, but somebody leaked out that Jerry O'Malley would be there. O'Malley, calls himself 'the Hammer', in case you don't know, is top man in the Mafia these days. Guns, drugs, women, gambling, protection rackets, petty crime, professional theft rings and grifters, everything that's gone bad in this city has their fingerprints on it. We were recruited to lead the assault, because the Foundation also heard that there would be some heavy firepower on the bad guys' side. Like the man says, 'They was RIGHT.' Heavy combat bots, costumed mercenaries, not to mention the Hammer himself. Before you got there, Wreck put one of the mercs in the hurtlocker, damn near got himself strangled by the other, Mechanic managed to overcome the doombots and get them on our side, me and Bolt kept O'Malley from escaping...but, not before he shot me and busted out a quarter of my teeth." He pauses for a moment, and swallows hard; he imagines that he can still taste blood. "Still, we got him. In the end, we...more or less pulled it off. Although, if you hadn't arrived when you did, I might not have made it out of there, and even Bolt got himself messed up a little bit. So, I owe you huge. Next time you need a haircut or something, you let me know."

Last edited by Dirigible; 25th of July, 2004 at 12:13.
  #33  
Unread 26th of July, 2004, 12:42
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Quantum

Quantum winces midway through Osprey's recap. "Ouch. Glad to see they'd got you some new fangs. My last job didn't have a dental plan."

He takes a swig of his soda, letting an ice cube drop into his mouth. Apparently oblivious of his companion's recent reluctance, he crunches the ice noisily. "As for me, I've figured out that they had me stuck in a meat-locker for the past two and a half years -- the scientists who were working with me got 'orders from on high' or some such, and had to put me on ice. I don't think I was the only one... though I do think I was the only one who could do what I can.

"Which brings up my next question: any of you willing to tell me what you're good at, that I haven't already gathered? I know Wreck could probably beat up a building and maybe scrape a knuckle; Mr. Mechanic could probably even fix my computer; Osprey here's got some major martial-arts goin' on, and Bolt -- heck, you could probably down one of those massive Big Ed's burgers before they get the stopwatch runnin'. Since I'm the Effin' New Guy, I'll fill you in. It'll be all over the news anyway.

"I have no idea how this works, or where it comes from, but I can make this weird energy spread out from me. Best as we could figure, the laws of physics -- gravity, inertia, mass, that sort of thing -- quit working once they pass into it. 'Means I can fly, stop bullets, even pop out of space and show up somewhere else. As a bonus, if I hit something while that field's up, it tends to mess it up."

He takes another drink. "I'm not talking just smashing things up, like you do, big guy. I'm talking the kind of damage that about fifty years of erosion, wear-and-tear, rust, the long-term stuff, would do. The techs back at the lab kept bitchin' at me for putting hairline cracks in the circuits of their target dummies, or making their robots rust, seize up, fall apart. I haven't the faintest idea why that works -- there's probably some complicated Star Trek-style explanation that'd make the whole thing fit."

He looks to the Mechanic. "You're probably going to have a field-day gawking at me with some high-tech gadget... if you haven't been already."
  #34  
Unread 26th of July, 2004, 14:19
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The Mechanic
Laughing at Quantum's last remark... "Only if you want me to.... though
it does sound intriguing." he pauses, taking a drink from his glass. "Seriously though... they pulled me into this cause whoever's in charge of this outfit needs somebody to think outside the box tech wise... I guess I'm one of the most accessable people to fit the bill. Speaking of which... I've been going over those drones... The drones are nothing special... standard military issue...
they seem to have disappeared from some military base over in Kenya..."
He pauses... looking into his glass swirling the melting ice around briefly then taking another drink.

Speaking in hushed tones over the growing lunch crowd he says, "I can't be sure... but I think these folks... whoever they are bringing this gear in, are using some of my people. Whoever they used to set up the control system for the drones. Were using good software... very SPECIFIC software.... MY software. I think there's something more going on here than we're being let in on. Any new developments where you guys stand?"
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  #35  
Unread 27th of July, 2004, 02:43
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Quantum

"That reminds me... I think someone's been watching me the past couple days. So no relaxing in front of the cameras tomorrow."

Last edited by LonePaladin; 4th of August, 2004 at 15:03.
  #36  
Unread 27th of July, 2004, 03:30
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Wreck

Wreck grins and takes a long pull from his beer. The memory of slapping the gangster around still tickled him. There was just something funny about it, slapping the man. Maybe it was irony; he wasn't sure. Whatever it was, it made the job a little more bearable.

"You do what?" he asks, hearing the list, but getting lost after the ability to stop bullets. It sounds good enough, flying, not getting hurt by gunshots, but the time-space popping into other spaces with teleporting punches has Wreck perplexed.

"Oh yeah, that chick's gonna live. Probably. Lizardface told me earlier today," he says, blinking defensively at their looks, "What? I didn't ask. He just told me."

He looks around at the decidedly tame atmosphere and sighs. A strip bar might've been asking much, but at least they could've gone to a Hooters. One meaty hand picks at a half-empty plate of nachos. At least the food's not bad.

Geek probably wouldn't know a woman if she slid down a pole and onto his lap. He tilts his head to the side. Not a bad idea...

"What? Cameras? We get some endorsements?"
  #37  
Unread 27th of July, 2004, 15:49
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Quantum

"That's the impression I was given. Everyone was... invited to attend. I just hope Mr. Lizard doesn't make an appearance; he might shed his skin, or change gender or some such. I wonder -- if you grab his leg and pull, will it just pop off and regrow in a month or so?"

Last edited by LonePaladin; 4th of August, 2004 at 15:03.
  #38  
Unread 28th of July, 2004, 00:06
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Bolt

Ryan eats his soup as he listens to the others talk. "Man, I hate tomato soup." he thinks to himself as he takes another spoonful. On a positive note since he hadn't started taking his medication he could at least have a beer to wash it down with, he would pay for it later but at the moment he didn't really care.

"Invited or expected to show up?" Ryan adds in somberly, "is it just me or is there something not quite right about the company that we are working for?"

Ryan fidgets a moment trying to easy the pain in his stomache. "I've been looking around a little and Ling was right about the hiring practises," he says glancing towards Robert. "Plus I think they are recording our phone messages."
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Unread 1st of August, 2004, 11:41
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Osprey

Rob chuckles at the images conjured up by Quantum, especially at the thought of Reptile Man uncontrollably vacillating between male and female. Then, after Bolt, he says: "Hmm. Well, the question then becomes 'Do you let that affect you?' Me, personally...not really. I'm not surprised that we're being watched and listened to, any more than I am that some huge organization isn't being completely politically correct. On the other hand, there's a reason I didn't join the CIA or the military: I like being the one watching, not the other way around. Still, the Foundation is holding all the cards as far as this operation goes. Doing this without their resources--and I don't mean just the money--would be a lot more difficult. I guess having a tab put on you is the price you pay."
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Unread 2nd of August, 2004, 08:46
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Bolt

"I don't know, Its one thing to keep tabs on us make sure we don't make the foundation look stupid but to actually tape our private phone calls, keep people frozen until they can be of some use, seems a little over the edge." Ryan says taking a spoonful of the soup.

"You own a company, do you tape their phone calls?" He says looking over towards the Mechanic.

Last edited by Kaos; 4th of August, 2004 at 03:06.
  #41  
Unread 2nd of August, 2004, 12:07
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The Mechanic
"No.... though I've wondered if it's a good idea." He shakes his head... wondering What would they be listening to us for? Or have us bugged... Most of the time our communications is on an open frequency... This doesn't make sense.
"Thing is, as I was saying... I've been going through that drone's systems... Someone was using software I designed for in house stuff... Just the caliber of the cracker to get in to my systems... get it, then modify it... We're talking high power talent. Or some Nova with sys-access abilities... but I haven't been able to find anything on any of those."
Picking up his glass and finishing his drink, he continues, "So... How did you find out they're keeping tabs on you? What was going on?"
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Unread 4th of August, 2004, 03:28
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"That's the thing I am not sure one way or the other. I was talking to that reporter from yesterday Ms. Ling, she wanted to get together, she said she had some information on the foundation that I just had to see."

"I agreed to see it and after she hung up I heard another click, like someone else was hanging up. I know it's pretty weak evidence but it seemed pretty suspicious, I thought maybe you had some gizmo that could tell for sure. Its just something that doesn't feel right about that place especially Mr. Lizard, he really creeps me out."

"I don't know, maybe I have been watching too many spy movies." He says with a shrug.
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Unread 4th of August, 2004, 11:13
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The Mechanic
Robert taps his fingers on the table... thinking. "Hmm.. I could put something together to monitor our systems... see who's tapping in, and to what... It might take a bit though... Maybe an hour. I'd need to see what kind of supplies I've got at my lab."

"I think in this buisness... it's good to be a little paranoid. You never know what the villians of the world are up to... a lot of them are REALLY sneaky."
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Unread 4th of August, 2004, 13:40
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Quantum

When the Mechanic gives his estimate of one hour -- one hour, to set up an entire countersurveillance system on a place as large as the Centinels base -- Quantum chokes on his Dr. Pepper. "An HOUR? That's it? Couldn't you have told us three or four hours, so that you look really good when you get it in less than half the time?"

Half a second later, a deer-in-the-headlights look crosses Paul's face. "Or are you already doing that?"

Last edited by LonePaladin; 4th of August, 2004 at 15:03.
  #45  
Unread 4th of August, 2004, 16:51
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The Mechanic
Robert smiles enigmatically. "Well, it wouldn't be much fun if I just came out and TOLD you would it?" Then laughs at the shocked look on his face. "No, honestly though, if I don't have the parts at MY lab... we'd have most of the gear we need down the hall in electronics to set it up... So best guess to get EVERYTHING I might need...'bout an hour. If I've already got some of the stuff put together 'round my lab... which is a possibility, I think I was working on a project or 3 that used some of the gear I'll need.... Maybe less... "
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Unread 9th of August, 2004, 12:22
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As the evening winds down, Rob looks at the clock on the wall and takes his leave. "Got something to work on...probably wouldn't take Mechanic ten seconds, but the rest of us have to make do with being mortal," he adds with a smile. "See you guys tomorrow."
  #47  
Unread 9th of August, 2004, 14:38
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The Mechanic
"I think he's got the right idea... plus... I need to go catch a couple hours' sleep, if I can manage it.... See if I can get a fresh look at things after some rest." He says, standing and walking over to the bar and taking care of the tab. "Right... I'll catch you guys later. Feel free to swing by my lab... I'm sure some of the staff would be thrilled to meet you guys." He offers with a grin as he searches his pockets for his keys.
An hour or so in that REM chamber we cobbled together for that "rest stop" program last year should put me back on track.... Let me get a fresh look at things. Then maybe toss something together for a group security net... Now if i used the Remote re-processor I put together a couple weeks ago.... Robert thinks to himself as he walks out to his car and heads back to the office. Already working on the latest possible problem his new associates have brought him.
  #48  
Unread 14th of August, 2004, 14:43
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The Centinel Building, New York City.
Intensive Intelligence Retrieval Room
date & time: unknown.


Standing at the threshold of Perception

"No.... no more."

Brace Scribner twisted on the angled table, trying to wriggle away from the orderly. Bad things had happened on this table; the feeling of fear and captivity and old pain administered with ice-cold detachment seeped from the leather straps and plastic surface via Scribner's psychometric senses, the memory of previous interrogations.

"You don't want another dose, Mr. Seer?" the SEASA asked in his whispery voice. The cold-eyed man sat perfectly still in the centre of the grimy basement room, dim fluorescent lights making his skin seems especially corpse-like. "In that case, I suggest you begin again. Try not to leave anything out."

Scribner gave a shuddering sigh as the orderly retreated into the shadows, tucking the syringe back into its case. The dim corners of the room were of course perfectly clear to his enhanced vision, but in this case pure distance was relieving enough. Another shot of ketradine would provide a massive boost of whatever cryptic neurotransmitters controlled Nova abilities, but the effect was a diminishing return, weaker with every dose and the side effects got progressively worse. The last injection had given him cramps bad enough to induce subdermal bleeding and vomiting. The next would be worse.

Brace Scribner had not received in relation to himself, this room or the SEASA, but he had absolutely no doubt that the man would give him as much ketradine as it took to get an answer.

For as long as he could remember, Brace's powers had never let him look more than twenty-four hours forward or backward in time. Theorists in the field of parahuman studies had noticed this was often the way pre- and postcognition worked; it was called the Causality Limit, and some thought it was the universe's way of protecting itself from significant changes to the timestream. Privately, Brace was at times a little glad about this; the dangers and terrors of being able to see unfettered over the endless vistas of past and future might be too much for him.

As much as the drug hurt, and despite the worry over the long-term damage it could be causing him, there was a part of him that exulted at all the things he had seen today. The shifting, twisted paths of cause and effect, winding out into the limitless possibilities of Tomorrowspace. But they all led to one destination, and contemplating it made him want to break down and weep like he hadn't done since he was a child.

"I'm aware of that, Mr. Seer." Brace started, almost rising up from the interrogation table where he lay. He hadn't realized that he had been putting words to his inner thoughts, but the SEASA's expression told him that was exactly what he had been doing.

"I am aware of your self-imposed limitations, and the psychological root causes." He leaned forwards, and in the dim light his face seemed especially horrible all of a sudden. "The two of the last four precognitives assigned to this project burned out attempting to solve this riddle. The other two voluntarily lowered their defenses against the psionic forces in the timestream, and allowed their minds to be snuffed out. There is no cost I will not pay to resolve this matter. No extremity I will not exceed. You know how important this is, better than I."

Brace slumped back, with a hopeless, defeated groan. "I know. I can't. I know. I... I just need to rest."

The SEASA sat back, brushing a gloved hand over his arm. "Very well." He looked up at the orderly and another man lurking by the door. "Have Mr. Seer escorted to the helijet. We will relocate Project Foresight to the upstate facility." He turned to Brace and added, "Perhaps the bucolic environment will be more conducive to your talents."

Later, at the helipad.

Bryan Lieter exchanged a glance with the SEASA as two men helped Brace Scribner out of the Centinel Building and towards the idling helijet. The Legal Affairs director had only seen the Seer in photos before, but he could tell that whatever had happened to him today had not been good for his health.

"I'll contact the dean of City College and tender Mr. Scribner's resignation for him. The Centinels have already been informed of his extended leave of absence? I suppose this will take some time?"

The corner of the SEASA's mouth twitched a fraction of an inch. "It will take as long as it takes. I am prepared to devote years to Project Foresight if necessary. That would be an insignificant investment of time, given what we've already gone through."

Across the intervening distance, the Seer jerked at these words. With a burst of manic strength, he tore free from the orderlies' hold and lunged at the SEASA. Grabbing the gaunt man's collar, he dragged himself up into his face and snarled:

"You sonovabitch sonovabitch sonovabitch! Don't you get it? Don't you SEE? We don't have years! We don't have one year, you arrogant sonovabitch!"

Brace Scribner turned his face to the pitiless sky and began to laugh. He laughed. He laughed until the orderlies descended on him, and the cold silence of sedatives washed through his tortured brain.

“We don’t even have one year left...”
  #49  
Unread 14th of August, 2004, 15:20
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Alleyway, New York City.
Nowhere in particular.
11:33 am, January 15th 2010.


Slowly, cautiously, Trisha Ling entered the narrow concrete valley, picking her way amongst the empty boxes and overflowing trash cans. Next time I come to this part of town, I'm not wearing my good shoes, she thought wryly to herself.

She was scared, no denying that. Yesterday, I came as closing to get beaten up for my work as I have since three years ago, when I started asking the wrong questions at the Water & Power Board, uncovered their ties to the Hammer's gangs. Today, I've committed bribery, blackmail and all-but-industrial-espionage. And if they catch me, I don't think they'll even wait for the courts to get through with me. She shivered.

Isn't that what I always wanted, though? She asked herself with a laugh. What did poppa used to say? "If someone isn't prepared to do anything to silence the story, it's not real journalism: it's just advertising"? And this is REAL. Real as it gets.

There used to be giants, once. Heroes. God, I remember seeing the Centurion freeing Nicaragua from the Harvester's regime when I was a girl. Starchild, sacrificing herself to deflect that solar flare away from Earth. The Mediator, when he talked down those terrorists holding the UN General Assembly.

Where did they go? All we have now are lunatics like Devolution and Rend. Mercenaries like WarGod and the Militant. God, that's all the Centinels are. Mercenaries and freaks and glory hounds and vigilantes...

No.
She snapped at herself, harshness in her mental voice. They're not all like that. The Mechanic.. and Bolt... he was so, so earnest.

She looked around the alley, clutching the heavy folder against her chest. "Ryan? Are you there?" Real dignified, Trish. You sound like a bimbo from a slasher flick...

Bolt stepped form the shadows with his fluid grace.

Last edited by Dirigible; 15th of August, 2004 at 15:40.
  #50  
Unread 16th of August, 2004, 06:45
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Originally Posted by Dirigible "Ryan? Are you there?"
Ms. Ling... Trisha, over here, he calls out to her as he steps out of the shadows. His voice is lower then normal, it just didn't seem right to speak at his normal level. "I really have to stop watching those spy films," he criticises himself mentally.

Before you show me what you got I think we should go somewhere else, I'm not entirely sure but I think someone might have been listening to our phone call. I'm probably just being paranoid, I have never done this whole cloak and dagger stuff before, so I'm not sure what to expect. He says smiling, its obvious he is tring to lighten the mood.
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