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 New Beginnings

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Razgriz
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   30/04/13, 04:40 pm

There was a ringing sound, and despite the fact that my phone was in my pocket it sounded like a low ringing in my right ear.

Incoming call our host, we have formed an ear piece and microphone for you to communicate. To begin just imagine picking up the phone.

That was cool. In a few seconds I was on the phone even as I kept running, and I was talking with Michael. "James? James you there?" Michael yelled over the phone, and I could hear the sound of people around them. "Yeah Michael, I'm here. I'm almost back home." There a barely audible sound of relief, and then he was talking to someone, something about giving them a minute. "Good, that's good James. Listen, Chris and Amanda are safe. Someone saved them and got them out, but the police want to ask them some questions first, get a statement. We're going to be here for a little while then come straight home. Remember, stay there James. Crap, I gotta go, we'll see you later." And once more, he hung up on me.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   30/04/13, 08:19 pm

Great, that gave me some time to get home before them, so I wasn't in danger of pissing someone off. But I sure as hell couldn't walk into the neighborhood like this, so I ended up finding another alley (maybe I would make my one my base) and revted back to my public look. It was a short walk from where I was, to house and by the time I got home the sun was going down. It was maybe thirty minutes later, that Michael and Chris got home. When they pulled in I immediately opened the door and rushed out to meet Chris. Yeah, I knew she was okay and all, but a) I kinda had to put on a good show and b) she was my best friend. There was no faking the emotion behind the hug I pulled her into when she stepped out of the car.

"Oh god.....thank god you're okay." A wave of relief crashed over me as I felt her in the hug. She hugged me back, somehow tighter than I was hugging her. ""It's okay James, I'm fine. Just have one helluva headache is all."

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   01/05/13, 08:52 am

I still didn't let go. She seemed to be somewhere between worried.....and maybe welcoming, with the hug. "Jesus James, I know it was scary and all but I'm fine, really." There was something to her voice, that made me realize I was surprising her with this affection. I felt it deserved an answer, and I already had one. "Chris.....I've already lost my sister. And I was so scared I was going to lose someone else, so please, please don't ask me to let go, not yet." Even with my eyes closed, I could easily imagine the look of comprehension as she realized what I was saying. Her arms went back up and around me, holding me as close to her as I was. I could feel her breath by my ear as she gently whispered to me. "James, it's okay. I promise, I'm not going anywhere, and you're not going to lose anyone else. That's a promise from a friend." She tightened her grip on me, though it wasn't painful. Just warm. "Okay," I said, my voice shaking with barely suppressed tears. I let go, though it took a lot of effort, and it surprised me a little at how sincere I was being. I didn't always show my feelings like this, but the reason I gave her really was the truth. Even with all my power, and even though I rescued her....I felt scared that I would lose her. And I wasn't ready for that. I don't think I would ever be ready for that.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   03/05/13, 07:29 am

A few minutes later, after I had let go of her and we walked inside, she immediately started talking, words coming out of her mouth at a hundred miles an hour. "So this is unbelievable! While we were stuck in there, the two gunmen were taken out by that hero guy. He came in, crashing through the roof with some kind of giant hammer that just melted into his body, and then he took out the crooks with some power punches...." She sorta devolved into a big high speed rant about my alter ego. My first fan, yay.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   06/05/13, 07:30 pm

"And then the cops opened fire on him. The bullets just bounced right off him and he wasn't even hurt." Yeah, my slightly bruised ribs were there to dispute that, but I wasn't about to say anything. "Why did they fire on him?" I asked. "Seems like he was there to help." Michael picked that moment to join the conversation. "Because he was interfering with police business, and because he's still wanted for the previous night by the docks. The police don't tolerate vigilantes." I frowned at him. "Well, yeah okay but it looks like he got results." He shook his head. "Results don't really matter, not to the police or the politicians. It's all about due process for them, and doing things the right way."

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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Razgriz
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   07/05/13, 08:47 am

Okay, I never thought about it that way. But I wasn't really willing to back down. "And what if following due process means waiting for the bad guys to do something worse?" Michael seemed uncomfortable with the question, shifting a little. "There's always that risk, yeah. But just because the system isn't perfect, doesn't mean it doesn't work. More often than not, the bad people get punished." That seemed to end the conversation, because he then said something about the both of us having a long, stressful day and that because of it, he was ordering pizza. Something about not feeling up to cooking. With that, Chris and I both sorta walked off to our rooms.

--Five Minutes Later--

The pizza was ordered, but it would be at best another twenty minutes before it arrived. So I mostly spent my time reading, before I remembered something. In the closet, there was the briefcase my sister had left me, the one that was in the car when......Gestalt arrived. I hand't touched it, or even given it any thought until now, and that was mostly because I was bored. So I decided to take it out.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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Razgriz
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   09/05/13, 10:17 am

The briefcase was surprisingly heavy. Most of it still had burn marks, but I had a feeling it did little to damage the contents inside. The screen on the side was there, burnt but functional. A single touch from my finger activated it, and two things appeared: one, was a series of small symbols, letters and numbers, arranged in the order found on a keyboard. The second......was line of empty spaces, six in total. Meaning a six letter/number code, something I did not have. But it belonged to my sister, and if she left it to me, it would have to be a word we both knew, something that was important to us both. I began to type in the password.

F..a..m..i..l..y

There was a green light, and a chiming sound, and the case popped open. Inside, were a number of things: one, a miniature screen, hooked up to some kind of recording device or travel hard-drive. A small flash drive, with the numbers "10 TB" on the side was also inside. The screen warmed up, and it turned out to be a touch screen, with a little arrow appearing. Play. I touched it, and soon a video began playing. At first, all I saw was what looked like a lab of some kind, an empty chair......then Kat appeared, sitting down and staring at me, or at least the camera.

"James," she said. "If you're watching this, then....then it means I'm with mom and dad. I hope you're okay, and I'm so, so sorry. With luck, you're with Michael and Chris, so I know you'll be okay." Tears were starting to form, and she paused to wipe them away. "It's weird, recording a video knowing it's only going to be watched when you're dead. But I had to do this James. I had to. Everything I thought before, about Nexus, was a lie. A big giant curtain to hide what they've been doing, what they're planning. I had to do something, and I'm sure that they'll have killed me for it. The USB drive in the case, holds all the files I was able to steal from the records. It's huge James. And I know it's not what you want to hear, to know."

She was right, I didn't want to know. I was hoping for some kind of tearful goodbye, filled with a sisters love. One last time that I would get to say goodbye to her, like I never got to before. Instead, it seemed that all I was getting was a message about a conspiracy.

"I'm sorry about this. Nothing I do or say here, will ever make up for it. But please James, don't let my death be wasted. I died, to make sure what's on that drive is exposed to the world. Please, honor that wish James." She tried, but failed to hold back the tears. "I love you James. I always loved you. I'm sorry I won't be there to see you grow up, but know that no matter what.......I will always be proud of you. And I will always love you. Goodbye."

The message ended, screen frozen with my sisters face still on it. I realized there were tears running down my cheeks. Wiping them away, I stared back at the image of my sister, and quietly whispered, "Goodbye sis."

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   10/05/13, 03:22 am

Our host.....we apologize for intruding.....but the flash drive. May we?

Wiping my eyes, I nodded and reached for the small drive. Holding it in my hand, I marveled at how much trouble this thing had caused. Whatever was on here had gotten Kat killed, and nearly killed me with her. With that in mind, I would have thought it would weigh more, maybe have a menacing aura or music. None of the above though.

Please, transfer to the left hand.

I did, and was stunned to watch it get consumed by the nanites. Placing it in the palm of my left hand, which was made up of nanites, they spread over the drive and pulled it in. I didn't feel a thing though, but was suddenly aware of Gestalt concentrating on the drive, accessing it.

We are forming an interface with the drive, and attempting to gain access. However, your sister seems to have encrypted it.

Can you break it?

We can try. However, it would seem that there is a security measure in place. If the password is incorrect on the first attempt, all files get deleted.

That seems.....a bit extreme. Especially if she wanted me to use it and blow the whistle without telling me the password.

It would stand to reason, that she assumed you would know the word. Or that there was something she planned on giving you to help figure it out. Perhaps a key, or final words.

Last words.....wait, her message.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   10/05/13, 11:37 pm

Gestalt, can you display the password entry screen to me?

It answered me by having the nanomachines overlap my eyes, forming a kind of goggle. It was dark at first, then there was a screen that lit up. A window was open, with an incomplete phrase.

To raise the_______

To raise......what would be raised? What in her message would be raised......wait. Gestalt, input the word, "curtain." Suddenly, the screen read:

To raise the curtain.

And then the files were open to us, Gestalt and I. Gestalt sifted through them, easily reading them and making sense of them all at the same time. To me, it was a collection of words, images, and sounds that ran through my head in a torrent that was only measured by Gestalt. Without it to actually managed the flow, I was sure I would have gone insane from the storm of information flowing into my head.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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Razgriz
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   11/05/13, 09:33 am

At some point, the flow stopped, and the flash drive appeared once more in the palm of my hand.

Interesting. It would appear that your sister was correct. This Nexus industries has been consorting with a number of groups and individuals that would have authorities investigate. What's more, they have been instigating a number of events around the globe, most of them leading to humanitarian violations, and war crimes. And this is just the first section. There are hundreds of thousands of files stored on the drive. We are incapable of making a copy though, the encryption prevents it.

So that means the only way to access it, is through the drive. Wonderful. My sister was right, this was big. Monstrous actually. I didn't know the details, I had to admit but still.....I always though that Nexus was a good company, that they helped the world. Not worked to destroy it. As if it read my mind, Gestalt spoke again.

In point of fact, they are not seeking to destroy the world, merely control and direct it. The instigation of wars in certain regions of the world, have led to an increase in the demand for weapons and private military companies. Nexus and their PMC group Draco, supply that demand. In the process, they begin to control the warzone, allowing it to end or continue for as long as a profit is turned out. At the sane time, they are able to field test experimental weapons and technology in these zones.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   11/05/13, 06:33 pm

And that was just the tip of the iceberg. There was more, some of it even here in New York. As I thought about all that though, the doorbell rang and Chris yelled "Pizza's here!" Oh right, the pizza. I hid the flash drive in a desk drawer, put the briefcase away, and then walked downstairs. Michael had already paid the pizza guy and had the boxes set up on the kitchen counter, some plates set up. Chris and I eagerly collected a few slices and walked over to the couch, eating with gusto.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   12/05/13, 05:25 am

Michael turned on the TV as we ate, hoping for something to watch I guess. What he got was a news station, playing footage from today. It was me again, outside the 7/11. The newswoman from before, who went over the story of me at the docks, was talking again.

The vigilante was spotted once again today, during a hostage situation outside a 7/11. Authorities stated that two armed suspects, who were fleeing arrest after an officer suspected them of dealing drugs, had barricaded themselves within the store with a number of civilian hostages. Before attempts at contact or negotiation could be made, there was what appeared to be some type or collapse inside the store. Minutes later, the hostages came running out of the store, followed by the vigilante. Police attempted to arrest the vigilante, and in the course of that fired upon him though it seems that none of the shots had any effect. The vigilante, who one of the hostages claimed was called "Shifter," immediately fled the scene, but not before conversing with the police in a heated exchange.

They then played a recording of me, shouting at the cops. My voice was still distorted, so there was no chance that anyone was going to know it was me. Then it switched back to the newswoman.

Authorities want to remind the public that whatever this individuals intentions, they are still a vigilante and therefore there is still a warrant out for their arrest. If anyone has any information on them, the police strongly urge the public to share it. This is Jessica Blanche, reporting for 64 News.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   12/05/13, 07:58 am

"What a load of bull," Chris said from my right. I turned my head and arched a brow at her. "What makes you say that Chris?" I asked her. She looked at me as if I were stupid. "James, whoever that was, he saved my life. Amanda's too. He's a hero, and the cops shouldn't be trying to have him arrested." Michael made a noise like he was clearing his throat, and then joined the conversation. "Honey, you have to understand. The law is meant to be upheld by those given permission to uphold it. It's the job of the police to enforce the law, not this....'Shifter.'" Chris didn't back down though. "What about being a good samaritan, or helping those in need? Suddenly we need to have the authority to help other people? It has to be our job and not just common decency?" To be honest, I had never seen her this fired up over a subject before. And for that matter, never one where she was close to arguing with her father. To his credit, Michael remained calm, but he looked tired. "Chris, this is different from helping someone who fell down a flight of stairs. The police are trained professionals, and they're trained for these kinds of scenarios. What if that vigilante had messed up, and gotten you hurt, or worse?" The pizza I had swallowed very nearly came shooting back up my throat. God, did that thought cross my mind over and over again before, during, and after I had saved Chris.

I was thankful both of them were too distracted to see the way I reacted. Though I suppose that even if they had, it would have been attributed to the fear of that scenario. All the same, Chris looked her dad in the eye. "Yeah, maybe he could have. But then the same could have happened with the police. There's always a risk dad, but the riskiest thing of all is to do nothing. You told me that once."

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   13/05/13, 07:53 am

She could have slapped him in the face, the way he looked right then. His mouth hung open, stunned at her statement and I guess also because she used his own saying to nail her point home. I felt a little guilty, since my whole superhero thing was kinda what led to this. But it was kinda trivial, especially given the current tension. So I figured, for the sake of things, I'd try and change topics. "So, is there anything good on right now, or are we just going to watch the news?" Both heads turned to face me, their gazes practically a palpable thing. But Chris was the first to close her eyes, release the breath she was holding, and slump back in her seat on the couch. Michael took the remote and started flipping channels, and for the most part the little argument was over.

--Six Hours Later, 11:36 p.m.--

I didn't feel like laying idle in my room tonight, especially not with what I knew about Nexus. There was a churning feeling in my stomach, and it kept me from sleeping. All my thoughts were focused on Nexus, on finding out more about what they had planned. And most of all......if they were the ones responsible for the death of my sister, I felt like sending them a message. Gestalt, armor up. We're going to pay Nexus a visit. Right as I thought the words, the armor grew over me again, engulfing my night clothes beneath the nano-epidermis. Once I was sure everyone was fast asleep, I jumped from my window, and headed for where my sister used to work. Now, the fun bit about Nexus industries was that they liked their seclusion, even when they were based in a city. Which was why they purchased Governor's Island. The island used to be something of a military base......back during the Revolutionary War. Since then, it's role had changed over the years, and before the Resource War it was once a residential area. Even had a large bridge connecting the island to the Red Hook neighborhood, in Brooklyn. When the war came to the East coast though, that area took a large amount of flack, and it seemed cheaper back then to demolish everything instead of rebuilding. Nexus moved in soon after, and over the years their facility had covered the whole island. And I had to run there. It was five and half miles away. Talk about your evening stroll folks.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   18/05/13, 12:00 am

I ended up taking a route that kept me off the streets, and on the rooftops. It was one of those moments where I was glad the distance between buildings was short enough for me to jump the gaps, especially now that the nanites made me faster and stronger. Still, it was at best almost a half hour before I reached the dock area, right where the bridge connected Brooklyn to Governor's Island. Actually, while it was still officially called Governor's Island, the local name for the place was Nexus Island. I know, original right?

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   18/05/13, 08:52 am

Governor's Island was just under a mile in length. That was just the original island though. Since then, Nexus had added to the overall size, actually growing and adding to the foundation of the island to support other buildings. Kat once told me they even went so far as to add underground levels, below the surface of the water. I doubted it, but hey, I was melded to an alien collection of nanomachines. At this point, I'd believe almost anything. Now, my first problem was getting in. There was only one way in and out of the island, and that was the bridge. Public or commercial boats were not allowed within a set distance of the island, and I was under the impression they were allowed to fire on anyone that tried to test that. Back to the bridge. It was always under guard, with spotlights, cameras, and sensors. I wondered for a moment if I could try and cloak and sneak past the security. Figured it was worth a shot. Gestalt, activate the cloak. We're going to cross that bridge.

I had to look down at my body to know it was working. I saw nothing but the roof of the building I stood on. Climbing down the fire escape, I made my way to the entrance of the bridge. No one seemed to be the wiser, though then again there was no one around. This close to the entrance of Nexus, the street was basically empty.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   23/05/13, 07:22 am

As we neared the bridge, Gestalt and I, a few things began to activate that I don't remember asking for. But I welcomed them all the same. See, apparently the sensors on the nanomachines could see what model the cameras on the bridge were, access records found on the web of their design details (especially the details Nexus no doubt wished were not available) and was able to create an overlay on my vision. Or the visor that was already over my eyes, on the HUD. Think of it this way: where the cameras were positioned, at least those that were seen, very dim cones appeared that represented where they were pointing, and the angles they could see. Not that it mattered considering I was invisible, but it was more automatic than anything else. With a thought, the cones faded away.

But just because I was invisible didn't exactly make this a cake walk for me. There were still guards paid well enough to be extra observative, and there were also who knows what kind of hidden sensors Gestalt didn't detect. So I went at a steady pace over the bridge, akin to a brisk walk. The nanites coating me served as countless sets of eyes looking in all directions, but I couldn't see what they saw unless it was an incoming threat. I mean, imagine if you lived your whole life, walking around seeing only what was in front of you, then finding you can see in all directions at once. Left, right, up and down, front and back......humans just aren't built for that, and I was sure it would drive me insane to try it.

Finally, we reached the entrance, a giant set of doors big enough to let a pair of semi's through with ease. Now, getting in was going to be tricky, since I couldn't really wait around for the doors to open. But there was a security entrance nearby that I could use, a keypad next to the door. Uh, Gestalt? How exactly are we going to get in? Not like I gave the code on me.

Move to the keypad, and place your hand over the surface. We shall take care of the rest.

Doing as it instructed, I walked to the door and placed my hand over the keypad, a flat touchscreen that for the most part was blank and dark. But it soon lit up the moment my hand, and my hand alone, became visible again, and tiny tendrils of nanomachines stretched out from the palm of my hand and began spreading over the screen, even working their way into the machine itself. I think I saw an anime like this once.....

Really? We were under the impression it was, "I've seen enough hen--" it is done.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   28/05/13, 09:46 am

Once the door opened, I found myself at the entrance to a hallway, the walls smooth and light grey, the floor smooth white tile. Black lines ran parallel to the floor, and the hall had only one other door, on the left at the end. So, I walked down the hall and prayed there weren't any hidden sensors. Though hey, I doubted they'd see me with the cloak still up. Hell, I didn't even hear footsteps. Uh, Gestalt? How is it I'm not making a sound while I walk?

We coat your entire body our host. On the soles of your feet, we form a sort of soft, gelatin like structure. We maintain balance while you walk, while cushioning the impact of your feet on the surface. However, we cannot compensate for high speeds such as running.

Wow. Cool. Thanks Gestalt. Once I got to the security door at the end, we went through the same procedure. I extended my hand, they spread out and hacked the lock. Door was opened, and I found myself in a security room. Now....here was my first problem. A guard stood across from the door, and their gun was drawn on me. Or rather, where they believed the threat stood, since they couldn't see me. "Who's there?" the guard called, his voice nervous but still containing that tone of bedrock authority.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   29/05/13, 06:21 am

Well, shit. I was sort of at a loss here. On the one hand, I could disable him, take the gun away and knock him out. But I didn't plan on actually hurting anyone. Then again.....he was already suspicious. And he could probably alert the whole facility. So. Dropped the cloak, and he did a double take the moment he saw me. Before he could fire a shot, I grabbed his wrist, tugged him forward and with my other hand yanked the gun out of his hands. Dropping it to the floor, I then punched him in the head with enough force to knock him out, but definitely not enough for any permanent damage.

"Sorry man. Can't risk you raising the alarm." I dragged his limp body over to the chair in front of the wall of screens, and sat him down. Figured he should at least be comfortable. This also gave me a chance to plug myself, or rather Gestalt, into the security network and download the layout of the facility.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   02/06/13, 09:29 am

Interesting. It would seem the facility is built into three sections, each named after a certain color. We are currently in the Green Section, and according to the description this is reserved for low priority projects. To the northwest, is Indigo Section, reserved for mid-level research. The south wing houses Crimson Section, and holds both the main server and records, as well as the brunt of the security for the facility. It also contains development labs and production facilities for military equipment. However, there is more that we cannot really see, as it is only mentioned but not really disclosed. There is not even a hidden file, and from here we cannot access the server room.

Damn, so if I wanted anything it was going to be in Crimson. Which meant I had to sneak through a large, security crazed facility. Should be fun... Gestalt, find a route of very minimal security for us to take. I want to get in that sector.

Charting. Done. Exit the room through the door behind you, and follow the line.

When I turned around, I came face to face with a hovering line occupying most of my vision. The line was being displayed on the little visor the nanites formed over my eyes, and it was no doubt the route I needed to take. Walking to the door, I made sure my cloak was on, and then opened the door with the push of a button. Apparently, leaving the security room took a press of a button, getting in required a code.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   02/06/13, 10:21 am

Since it was late at night, most of the building was empty save for some security guards. Now, here's where I paint a brief image of the main area I walked into. It was a large entry hall, with a central desk near the front door. The door, and the wall around it, was made of glass, maybe plexi-glass, and through it I could see a bit of a spacious parking lot. But the rest of the interior took up my attention. There were two large hallways, each labeled with the titles of their respective sector. Crimson in this case had the name in dark red lettering over the hallway, and a security checkpoint. Which I needed to get through. I couldn't jump it, not enough space. I obviously couldn't go through it, not without tripping a sensor. But that all changed when Gestalt came in.

Host, we may have a way for you to pass through the checkpoint unharmed. But we shall require someone with proper access.....there, that guard heading to the restrooms. Tail them.

Instead of arguing, I did as it said. I crossed the distance quickly, and silently crept behind the security guard as he opened the door. Gestalt gave me this weird feeling, like I should attack, knock the guy out but quietly. So when he was inside, and the door was closed, I closed the distance and got my arm around his neck in a choker, applying pressure. He struggled, clearly startled and in a panic at being choked by something invisible. But then he went limp, unconscious, and I dragged his body into the farthest stall, stuffing him inside. Okay, now what? No sooner did I ask, then there was a very peculiar sensation. It felt like my skin, or rather the armor was changing again, and I felt the cloak drop.

Look in the mirror, and you shall see.

I crawled out from under the stall, and stood up, looking at my reflection in the mirror. Or rather, I stared back at the security guard I just knocked out. Whoa...you can mimic people?

Yes. The nano-epidermis can take on many different, albeit limited, shapes and forms. In this case, for infiltration purposes, we can form a mirror image of any individual of equal or slightly large size. Anything smaller than the host though, will not be possible.

Okay, holy shit. That. Was. Awesome. To take on the form of anyone I wanted? This was one of the coolest powers Gestalt could give me.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   02/06/13, 11:03 am

A minute later, after I had crawled back under the stall to get the guards security badge and any other form of security passes I might need, I left the bathroom and headed for the checkpoint, looking to all the world like the guard. Not just his face either, but his body, his clothing, all of it was mimicked. And from what Gestalt told me in the bathroom, none of it would register on the metal detector. Something about how the material the nanites were made of was, while as strong if not stronger than titanium, not metallic in nature. I didn't understand any of it, so I really had only his word to go on for this. But it seemed to work, as I walked through the detector and found there to be no alarm going off. I kept the disguise up a little longer, moving down the hallway. Security only increased from there.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   04/06/13, 08:29 am

Gestalt, any idea why all the guards in this area are so heavily armed? They look like soldiers.

Yes. They are part of Draco Securities, which is owned by Nexus. They serve as secondary security within the Crimson Sector, and only in areas considered high value or sensitive in nature.

Oh....crap. Regular security guards would be fine if my cover was blown. But full blown ex-soldiers armed with military weapons? I had to keep the face of the guard on for a little longer. The line hovering before me took a turn to the right, and I came face to face with a group of Draco soldiers, four of them moving down the hall in my direction. One of them got a call on their radio. "All security personnel, we have a situation. Two guards are down, Jacob in front door observation and Burt in the bathroom. Be on the lo--" The message never got a chance to finish. I realized at the last second that the name on my tag was "Burt," the guard I knocked out. The guards took one look at me, and brought out their weapons. "Stay where you are!" barked one, the other three spreading out to encircle me. Well, cover was blown, might as well. I raised my hands over my head, pretending to surrender. But with a thought, I had Gestalt shift my form back to the usual dark silver muscle suit. The guard in front of blanched for one second, then fired his pistol, squeezing off two shots. Both bullets pinged off my chest, and without waiting I sprang forward and clamped a hand down over his wrist, and squeezed hard. Bones snapped and he screamed in sudden pain, but he didn't drop. Figured--he was a soldier after all, and they're usually trained to block something like this. He took advantage of my proximity and aimed a kick, knee pointed upwards, at my ribs. But the nanites hardened in anticipation, and it must have felt like he rammed his knee into a steel plate. That was enough to make the knee cap break, and this time he did go down. But that left his fellow guards to contend with.

Gestalt alerted me to one of the guards behind me charging from behind, a stun baton in his hand. I ducked under the swing aimed for my back, crouched low and spun beneath his outstretched arm. I used the opening that created to spring off my bent legs and land a strong jab to his chest. He wore a vest, padded and likely bullet proof so most of the blow was absorbed. But the strength behind it was still enough to lift him off the ground. I didn't pay attention on where he landed, too bus with the last two, both of which coming at me together. One kicked at me, the other swung his baton at my head. For the kick, my right hand went down to waist level and caught the shin of the mans leg inches from my hip, stopping him. My left grabbed the wrist of the arm holding the baton, and we all stood there frozen for a split second before I shoved the kick away, knocking the man off balance, and then followed with twisting the baton arm of the other man towards his own chest. It got to a spot that wasn't the vest, and his body jerked as it was shocked, and he crumpled to the ground. I grabbed the baton though, wanting to end this quickly, and poked the kicker while he tried to get up. He went down as well. Before I relaxed, the guy I punched had gotten back to his feet and reached for his radio. I didn't give him time to call anyone. Spinning around and rushing towards him, I backswinged the baton and aimed for his knee. It bent at an odd angle, and that led to him collapsing on the ground. And the shock from the baton also helped in shutting him up.

Well, that takes care of them. Let's move before anyone else shows up. No sooner did I say that, then the adrenaline wore off and I took note of a key thing I overlooked during the fight: the sound of blaring alarms. The facility must have been going on lockdown, so any chance I had of escaping was closing fast.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   04/06/13, 09:30 am

Hmm, it would seem we are trapped in here. Might we make a suggestion, and an alteration to the proposed route?

I figured sure, why not? Suddenly the line changed again, looping to a different direction. I followed, passing through a door and into what looked like a storage room, dozens of crates arranged in rows. It wasn't a small room, nearly the size of a high school football field. So we just hide in here until the alert goes down? Yeah, we can't stay here all night man.

We require a way out. This room provides that. The vents on the ceiling lead straight to the roof. All we need do is get up there.

That would work. But how to get up there.......I could always try climbing the crates and get to the top that way. Moving to one of the large crates, I started to climb it when I heard something other than the alarms. It was kind of like a loud bang, or impact of something heavy on the ground. Unable to resist, I stopped, dropped back to the floor, and peeked around the corner of one of the rows. And what I saw nearly made me shit my pants. It was maybe an inch shorter than me, standing on four crab like legs, each one nearly as thick as my waist and ending with a set of large "toes," three per foot. The legs were attached to a central body, and atop the body was basically a mounted turret. Oh, there were sensors, electronic eyes and even a pair of manipulator arms, but the tiny machine gun on one side, and grenade launcher on the other took up my attention. What the fuck is that thing?

Unknown. Suggest we hide. Now.

Too late. It saw me, and it spoke in an electronic voice. "Intruder detected." The chaingun spun up and fired, and I dove to one side. Sensor data from Gestalt told me that it wasn't firing bullets. They were electrically charged pellets, each one with enough charge to stun a bull. I ran for somewhere to hide, not wanting to see what effect those would have on me or the nanites. Then there was a loud pop, like the cork of a wine bottle flying out. The grenade launcher. There was a bright flash and a loud bang, and I realized that this thing, whatever it was, was meant for non-lethal purposes. Probably a riot control mech or something. But it was relentless, charging forward and knocking over some of the crates as it came at me. And it was faster than I imagined too, moving at a speed akin to a fast walk or jog. So I stopped running, turned, and headed for it. The chaingun spun up again but I was fast enough to close the distance before it fired. Letting myself fall with my legs under, I moved into a slide under the crab mech and my momentum carried me way behind it. But it simply turned its head around and moved for me again.


_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   07/06/13, 06:12 am

Well, this is great. Should we try and go cloak?

Perhaps it would be better to fight it?

Now there's an idea that escaped me. In all fairness, I was too busy shitting myself. With a thought, my left arm changed into blade, elongating and becoming sharp and diamond hard. Stopping, I turned to face the mech, charged it, and swung my arm for one of its legs hoping to cripple it. The blade swung through the air, hit the leg......only for nothing to happen, save for a loud clanging sound of metal on metal, and the sensation of my arm feeling like I just slammed it against a wall. "OWWW!!!" Where the blade struck, there was a small dent and cut in the armor of the mech.

Unexpected. The armor must be quite dense to resist the blade impact. Perhaps the equivalent of tank armor?

Who cares? Need a new plan! I moved to jump away, right as the mech fired its gun at me. A small grouping of the electrified rounds hit me in the leg, and that sent quite a jolt through me. You know that spot on your elbow, that if you hit at the right angle sends a jolt through your arm? Imagine that, but all over. The nanites insulated me from the worst of it, but still....damn. I went for an new approach, jumping high onto one of the crates and moving further up, doing my best to avoid the stun rounds. When I felt I was high enough, I jumped off the crates so that I was over the mech. Then.....I had the nanites form the hammer, the large high density block I used to smash through the floor earlier today. Both hands formed the block, combining into a single mass over my head. Which I then swung downwards at the mech.

It sent me plummeting down, and hammer landed on top of the mech's 'head.' Sparks and smoke erupted from beneath the hammer blow, and the mech crumpled beneath me. It also sent one hell of a tremor through my body. I was still shaking as I walked away from it. Something touched my foot and I looked down to see what it was. At my feet, was what looked like...well, some kind of harness. It had straps like on a backpack, but with a belt to go with it. But they were all attached to a flat apparatus. Curious, I picked it up to inspect it closer. The apparatus was made up of two large circular spools, maybe half a foot in diameter, with some kind of dark gray wire or cable spun within. The same wire was fed out of the spools, along where the shoulders would be, and then down another set of guides I suppose. There were two pairs of cable coming from each spool, and they ended at a glove like device, and those had some kind of launcher. It was all complex, but something about it....made me want to put it on. It was actually easy to do, clipping on the harness, securing it all, and then getting the cable guns (that was honestly what they looked like to me) attached. Then the nanites did the weirdest thing. They spread over the whole thing, absorbing it into the epidermis. And I was suddenly aware of everything they learned about the device.

It was a new form of climbing gear, for military forces and SWAT teams. Carbon nanofibers made of graphene, the tensile strength was unlike anything ever made, capable of hanging something like that mech from the ceiling without coming close to a snapping point. There was a computer in the harness, one that Gestalt was already interfacing with and gaining full control over, that controlled the spools and the cable guns. The spools would spin to pull the cable back in, and there was 150 feet of cable per spool. The guns used a form magnetic propulsion, like a railgun, to launch the spear points of the cables at very high speeds. And Gestalt already had the nanites coating the cables themselves, something about augmenting them even further. But I figured, might as well test it out for myself. Aiming my right fist up towards one of the vents we were planning to escape from, I thought 'fire,' and the cable shot out towards the vent. It was faster than I imagined, and in a second the cable was taut and secured. Gestalt then started up the spools, and I was pulled upwards. That too, was fast though not as fast as the actual shot.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   07/06/13, 08:37 am

Seconds later I was clinging to the ceiling, the cables on my right hand wound back in the spool, and the only thing keeping me secured to the ceiling now was the nanites forming tiny hooks. I crawled along to the vent, and then up it. It was kinda weird, to be honest. I mean, I was good at traversing rooftops and everything, but actually climbing along a wall like this? It was a little unnerving. But Gestalt was right, there wasnt any form of security over the vent. I guess Nexus figured that between all the security outside, and the fact that the vent opening was already 100 feet in the air, there was no need. Emerging out on the roof, I looked out at my surroundings. To the north, was the city of Manhattan, all bright lights, and creating an incredibly beautiful image, especially at night. But the moment was ruined by the sounds of, not just the facility alarms, but sirens. Figures. Once the alarms went off, made sense that the police wold be on their way.

Host, it would be most prudent to escape now. This investigation was a failure.

Understatement of the year. I made a break for the eastern edge of the roof, toward the bridge. Fast approaching from the same direction was one of the police gunships from the night before, searchlight sweeping over the area. Right as I jumped off the roof, I swung my arm out and had the cables shoot out from that arm. Now, here was where the augmentations the nanites made came not play. Normally, the cables weren't accurate enough to hit a small target like one of the metal bars on the gunship. But with the nanites coating the cables, the cables effectively became extensions of Gestalt, and me. As such, stabilizing fins formed, both on the tips of the cables and along the edges, guiding them through the air and helping them latch onto the gunship. The line went taut again, the spool locking down and keeping the line tight as I swung towards the shore, over the water. The nanites let go of the gunship, the spool spinning again and getting the cables back in. So for a brief moment, I flew through the air, secured to nothing and still over open water. Flinging my other arm forward, the cables shot forward to the closest building, latched onto the brick, and pulled me toward the edge of the roof.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   09/06/13, 12:53 am

Once I managed to climb over the edge and onto the roof, I broke into a run without looking back. No doubt the police were already in force, and I wanted to avoid them. Traversing the rooftops was actually faster, now that I had the cables. I'd shoot them towards a target ahead of me and then zipline over, like Spider-Man. It was so fast in fact, that it turned what would have been a half hour route, into a fifteen minute route, twenty at best. I made it back to Chris' house in no time, but was suddenly face with an odd problem: the harness. Yes, I absorbed it. But where was I supposed to hide it? At least with Spider-Man and his webshooters, he could easily stash them in a drawer or even keep wearing them. What did I do with something the size of a backpack?

We have a suggestion our host. Allow us to continue what we already have done, and completely integrate the harness with your body. Much of the bulk stems from the straps meant to secure the rig to the body, which we can eliminate and replace with ourselves. As for the device itself, both the spools holding the cables and the device that fires them can be assimilated into the epidermis. It will not exactly be perfect, but it would seem this device is too useful to let go.

Damn right it was. So I let Gestalt do what he wanted, and was aware of the fiber of the harness being eaten, the spools the cables were wound around being absorbed under a layer of nanites, and the glove like contraption being eaten and removed of non critical components, and then fully absorbed into my left arm, while the shooter on my right hand was simply enveloped under its own layer. I gave my right hand a quick look over, and was pleased to see that it didn't look deformed, or too bulky. I'd still have to drop the epidermis and see what it actually looked like but I was confident things would work out. That done, I climbed the wall to room again, and silently crept inside. But the moment I heard the phone ring, I nearly had a heart attack. Closing the window and quickly moving to the bed, I covered myself in the bed sheets and closed my eyes. And I still had the suit on. Gestalt, lose the suit now!

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke


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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   11/06/13, 08:56 am

There was a faint rippling sound and I knew the suit was gone. But that didn't matter the moment I heard Michael's voice, groggy from waking up at this hour but rapidly becoming awake, and alert. "Wait wait wait, what? An incident at the facility? What kind? How many are down? Alright alright, I'm on my way. Have a full report ready by the time I get there, keep the police out until we properly handle this. And for the love of god, make sure none of this leaks to the press without approval." Then there was the sound of a mattress squeaking, footsteps on the floor and closets doors opening. I did my best to fall asleep, but I was just so curious, even though I knew what he was woken for. And I felt a little guilty about that, making his job harder because of what I did. But I wanted to know so badly, to see if what was one the file was fabricated or not. And even that plan was wasted.

Eventually, the door closed and I heard the car start and leave, and only then did I sit up in bed. I thought I heard a noise from Chris' room, maybe her moving around in bed, waking up to the sound of her dad leaving early for work. In a way, I hoped she stayed asleep. She didn't need to know her dad was gone just yet.

Our host.....we do not believe that this will end well for us. The authorities are bound to discern that we were present, that we are responsible for the damages. They will come looking for us.

They'll be looking for Shifter, not James Martin. So we're safe on that count. But you're right.....things are only going to get harder for us now. But maybe just a bit more fun.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   13/06/13, 07:03 am

It was difficult, but I was able to get to sleep later. Though I didn't have long before my alarm clock woke me at 7 in the morning. Damn, I nearly broke the clock when I woke for the briefest of moments to slam my hand down on the snooze button. But Chris strolled into the room a few minutes later, awake and already cleaned and dressed, her voice yanking me out of my dream. Well, her voice and the fact that she wouldn't stop poking my shoulder. "James? Jaaaames? James! James! James!" The poking got a little harsher until I finally groaned and opened my eyes. First thing I saw was her, looming over me in a baseball cap, green t-shirt and cargo pants. She looked good, and sadly in my groggy state I had no control over what my mouth said next. "Wow. There's a face I wouldn't mind waking up to." Okay, someone please kill me now. Because while she wouldn't, she certainly would make me wish I was dead.

"Uhh, what was that James?" she said, taking a step back, one hand on her hip as she looked down at me with something of a grin on her face. I had to act fast, so I went with the best thing I could come up with. "Oh, sorry. Thought you were someone prettier." Wait what? That was the best I had? That was what I was going with, to save my ass? Okay, I will fire the little guy in my head who writes my stuff. But apparently, it seemed to work because Chris just chuckled and rolled her eyes. "God, how are you still single James? I mean, a man of your charms should be rolling in naked girls." Still laughing, she walked out of the room and left me to get out of bed. Well, sit up in bed anyway.

Hmm, unless we're mistaken it would seem the two of you have a thing.


Yes. Yes you are very mistaken. The only thing between us is....well, it's hard to really define. It can be summed up in one word though: friendship.


True. But there seem to be many cases of friends like yourselves be-


Those are friends with benefits, and we are definitely not that. Look, plain and simple, she's my friend. My best friend.


So, because you are already good friends, you don't want to continue the relationship further into something romantic or physical, at least by your definitions of the words?


I actually took a moment to really think on the question, and my answer. Don't get me wrong, odds were the answer was going to be the same, but the reasons behind it.....even as I tried to think on them, they were clouded and murky, hard to actually define or spell out. But I had to say something. Gestalt....Chris, is my best friend. And in some ways more than that, she's like...like...my sister. Not Kat definitely, but she and I are almost family. And I don't see myself trying to get jiggy with my sister, blood relative or metaphor.


Hmm, interesting. Oh well, what you do with your life is your business our host, but please try and understand: the bond we share goes beyond the physical. We are connected to you, your mind. Conscience and sub-conscience, we know you. Or at least, are learning more and more about you and who you are. When you are lying to us, and also when you are lying to yourself.


They shut up after that, leaving me a little creeped out by the implications. Not enough to stay stuck in bed though, so I got up and took a shower.

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What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   14/06/13, 10:17 am

Once I was clean and more awake, I got dressed and headed downstairs. There was the smell of waffles, fresh ones too not those frozen things. Chris and I both learned how to cook for ourselves, what with Kat and Michael leaving early at times. She could make waffles and I....could make something safely edible, let's leave it at that. The TV was on, and from what I could see, it was showing an aerial view of the Nexus facility on Governor's Island, with the headline "Breach at Nexus Industries." The same newswoman from before was talking, and as I sat down at the counter the full story buzzed through. "According to sources, late last night there was some sort of breach in security at the Governor's Island Nexus facility. Nexus security has remained tight lipped, but we can confirm is that the alarms were triggered and there was an intruder. Wait....yes more details are now coming in. It would seem that the vigilante known as Shifter, who recently appeared in the past few days, broke into Nexus and may have injured several employees. The same vigilante is also wanted by the police, a warrant out for their arrest concerning their involvement at the arms bust two nights ago, and the hostage situation from yesterday. And now it seems, breaking and entering and assault have been added to the list." Chris just turned off the TV then, a look of disgust on her face. I looked at her, curious. "News that bad?" I asked her.

"It's just....I don't how, but I just know that whoever this Shifter is, he's not a bad guy. Call it women's intuition or something, but he didn't seem like a bad person." She shook her head, and went back to her own waffles. "So, you're not just saying that because he saved you and Amanda?" I asked her, a grin on my face. Her cheeks reddened a little bit, though she glared at me. "If you think I'm crushing on him just because he saved my life, then you've got another thing coming buster. But I can tell he's not as bad as the cops are making him out to be."

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What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   15/06/13, 11:24 pm

Well, nice to know I have a fan, I thought to myself as I cut into my waffle. But as I saw the time on the clock, I realized there wasn't a lot of time left for me to actually eat. So I shoveled down the waffle, much to Chris' amusement. "Geez James, I know I'm a good cook and all, but there's no need to show that much enthusiasm." I didn't bother glaring at her, I was too busy wolfing down the waffle. When I was done, I got up and put the plate in the sink and grabbed my backpack. She looked a little confused. "Wow, never seen you in such a rush to get to school James. You okay?" I stopped, suddenly realizing she had a bit of a point. What the hell? Usually, I dragged my feet when it came to attending school. Why was I in such a rush now? Then it hit me. Kat....she wanted me to do better. Last wish and all. It would have been cruel to not fulfill that wish. So I turned to look at Chris, and figured it would be best to be honest. "It was something Kat and I were talking about, before.....well, everything changed. So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to be better." Maybe it was the light or something, but something changed in Chris' expression. It wasn't drastic, but her look softened a little, and she nodded her head a little, then grabbed her backpack.

"Okay. I can get behind that James." As she walked over to me, she stopped by my side, hesitated as she looked at me for a brief moment, and then hugged me, one arm wrapping around me and pulling me close. "No matter what James, I'm sure you're going to make her proud." And then the moment was over, she let go, and walked for the door. Leaving me standing in the living room, just a bit stunned by the affection.

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- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   17/06/13, 08:54 am

Recollecting myself, I slung my backpack over my shoulder and followed her out the door. As I caught up to her, I started talking. "So, going to guess your dad isn't going to be too fond of this Shifter guy. I mean, he did just make work harder for him," I said, to which she groaned and tilted her head back, eyes closed. I knew that look, that posture. It was one she saved when she knew something bad was going to happen. "Oh man, I'm sure Shifter is all he'll be talking about when he comes home. Hopefully, it won't be so bad because he saved my life, but dios mío, que sólo va a ser una noche de él quejándose y me habló de toda la documentación que necesita presentar." I wasn't sure if she realized she just trailed off into Spanish. But it was too funny to really stop, so I let her rant in Spanish, and I had to admit, she sounded....well, if we weren't friends, attractive the way she talked in Spanish.

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"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   24/06/13, 08:35 am

Her rant continued as we walked into school, and it didn't seem like she noticed (or more likely cared) that she was now cursing in public. But she quieted down when the bell rang, and the teacher walked to the front of the class. I did my best to pay attention, but during the period most of my time was taken up talking with Gestalt.

So, we are curious. You have all the powers we can grant you. What will you do with it?


Well.....I don't know. Why, you want me to use them?


Not necessarily, but they were made with a purpose in mind. Granted, that purpose cannot be completed here on your world, so a new purpose must be made.


Made? As in, there has to be some goal for the abilities, a reason for their existence?


In a sense, yes.


Then how about this: The purpose of these powers, how they're used, will fall to me. I'm the host, the one needed for you to work to your full potential, so I'll decide what we do. Deal?


Very well. Though we must admit, much of your human reading material seems to paint the goal for you quite clearly. Become a hero.

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What is a man but the sum of his choices?

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"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   25/06/13, 02:11 am

Yeah well I don't think I'm ready to turn my life into a comic book story just yet. 

Still, let's be honest.....who didn't want to be a superhero? It was almost a universal dream for every teenager, and now I had a chance to live that dream. But considering my issues with the cops.....I was certainly off to a great start. "James!" my teacher called, shaking me from my thoughts. My teacher, Mr. Phillips stood in front of the board, a math equation written in marker, the black ink in contrast to the white board. How the hell he saw me when I was sittting in the back row behind a few people up front was beyond me. "If you're not too busy slacking off there James, perhaps you could help answer this math problem," he said, gesturing to the board.  Aww man.....I hated math. Well, I didn't hate it, I just hated the fact that I sucked at math. But Phillips tended to call on students like me who were dazed and not paying attention to answer board problems, believing that in the event we failed in public, the small humiliation would encourage us to study and do better next time.

I'll let you guess how effective that tactic was. "Uh....uh...." I stammered, focusing on the numbers and doing my best to figure it out. ((4,263/7)x34)+309=? Oh......shit. I was lost and on the verge of saying I had no clue, until Gestalt spoke up in my head.

21,015. Say it, that's the answer.


"21,015," I said, and both the teacher and a few of my classmates, even Chris, blinked at me. Yes it was that surprising when you consider how often I failed at these questions. Phillips said nothing except check the book, and then he turned to the board and wrote out the rest of the equation, and came to the same answer I....Gestalt, gave. "Correct. Good job James." No there was no thunderous applause or confetti and balloons dropping from the ceiling. Just, 'Good job James.' Still, can't say it didn't have a good effect.

So.....you're can help me with math?


Help sure, but perhaps we can teach you; more effectively than time spent in class anyway.


Yeah well not like I can just skip school. I'm planning on living up to what my sister wanted for me.


A nudge on my elbow shook me from my mental conversation, and I turned to see Chris looking at me. "James, you been holding out on me?" she whispered. "What?" I whispered back, thankful that Phillips couldn't hear us. "Well, you've never been that smart James, no offense. First time I've ever seen you answer any math question like that without staring at a calculator for a few minutes."

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What is a man but the sum of his choices?

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- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   28/06/13, 09:32 am

In all honesty, she had a point. There were times I'd get stuck by an equation and get stuck staring at a calculator for minutes looking for an answer. Worst bit was that most of those times, Chris would be with me, asking if I needed help. I always refused though, because......well, I had a hard time accepting help. Call it pride, but I didn't like admitting that I wasn't smart. Though it looked like that would have to change now, especially if I had Gestalt running around in my head. "Yeah....well, I've kinda been studying, by myself. Going over some of the stuff on the data-pad and taking notes. Not perfect though." She seemed to accept that, because she went back to her own tablet, looking from the screen to the board. Still found it funny how students and teachers could use tablets, but we still used good old fashioned white boards and markers.

Math class ended soon, and around three classes later it was lunch, with me Chris and Amanda sitting at a table. The Chris and I were talking about casual stuff while Amanda read out of a book.....when trouble showed up. Now when I say trouble, I was talking about the schoolyard bully, one Dirk "Skull Crusher" Jones. And yes, Skull Crusher was his street name. Skull Fucker was taken. Not even joking. Anyway, he was in the same year as us, but stood a little bit taller than me, and whereas I was skinny but toned with muscle, he was bulky, and most of that was also from muscle. Dirk had a reputation around town as being an arrogant, sexist prick who tended to pick on people weaker than him. In fact, every now and then there would be at least one classmate walking into class with a black eye or bloody nose. No one really spoke up though, because Dirk was part of a gang. The school could keep you free of bullying on the grounds sure, but once you were out.....fair game. Today, Dirk wore a green t-shirt, blue jeans, and something of a smirk on his slightly pudgy face, some acne here and there on his cheeks. "Well hello, 'Manda." He sat down next to me, across from her. God, I hated being near him, he always smelled like cigarettes. Amanda simply shot him a cool glare. "Hello Dirk. What do you want this time?" He chuckled, and he stared calmly back at her. "Oh, nothing. Just always wanted to know; what's it like being a freak?" Uh, wow. I kinda expected that to be aimed at me, given that I was now half machine with my prosthetics. But then I remembered who he was talking to, and suddenly I felt my heart rate increase. Amanda simply sighed, closed her book and laid it flat on the table. "If you're referring to my sexual orientation, then you'll be glad to know I am perfectly happy, not that it's any business of yours." Right, Amanda was a lesbian. Yeah, I knew she was into girls and I was fine with that, mostly because it didn't seem that big of a deal to me. Live your life how you choose so long as you're not breaking any laws, that's sorta what I believed. And the world had become more accepting of that crowd, along with gays, bisexuals and transsexuals. But there were still assholes like Dirk who didn't get the message, and always decided to start something over it.

"Oh come on, don't be like that babe." I could see Chris getting angry, but she kept herself under control, for now. "It's just so strange is all, pretty girl like you being a dyke and all." Even before Chris could stand up, my waist twisted and my right elbow went up, smack dab into Dirk's nose. It caught him, and everyone else at the table, hell, even the yard off guard. His head whipped back, followed by his torso as he fell down to the ground. I quickly got up, nostrils flaring in anger and as I looked down at him I could see I gave him a bloody nose. "I'm sorry, but I don't like it when you insult my friends." I stated that all matter of factly, despite the anger I fought to reign in. He went from surprised, to pissed off in a few seconds and quickly got to his feet, and then loomed over me. "You're a cripple, so I'm going to let that one go. But you better stay outta my way from now on Conner, or disabled or not, I will put you back in the hospital." He did his best to look big and imposing, and that would have worked before. But now.....now it just made him look all the more pathetic. "How about this," I started. "Apologize to Amanda, and we both call this even. What do you say?" His beady eyes narrowed, and I could see the gears grinding in his head. "Yeah, no. No way I'm apologizing to that little dy-" he never got a chance to finish. Right as he said the first syllable of 'dyke,' my fist rammed right into his gut, and his eyes bulged in surprise. Look, I wasn't normally a violent man, nor did I go looking for fights in school. But I sure as hell wasn't the kind of guy that sat back and let someone bully my friend.


_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   02/07/13, 08:21 am

I didn't follow up with any other blow, which was probably my first mistake. It gave him time to recover and counter. As he staggered back, he recovered quickly, snarled and then lunged at me. His first blow, a fast right hook, caught me on the jaw, and it was nothing like the practice blows Chris used. This was a real punch, with all the speed and strength he had behind it, and it hurt. For a moment anyway, mostly since I was used to pain, but also because of Gestalt. I remembered that the nanites were fused to me on a cellular level. They were everywhere, in my skin, my hair, and my blood. So when Dirk punched me, they hardened my skin and blood for a brief moment. Not even hardened for the sake of my biology, just made it....a bit like putty, absorbing the punch more effectively than if I was on my own. So I wasn't knocked down, nor was I disoriented. Which was why I managed to dodge his follow up blow, an uppercut for my ribs. Sidestepping the punch, I saw how exposed his left side was and took advantage of the opening, one swift punch taking him right in the shoulder blade, followed by a sweeping kick to his left leg, making him fall to the ground.

It took all of ten seconds, and the lunch area was silent. Even Chris, who had already stood up and moved to help me, was frozen, stunned. But it was Dirk, motionless and equally silent, that had my attention. "Dirk?" I said, somewhat concerned. What? Just because I didn't like the bully, didn't mean I wanted to seriously injure him. Just wanted him to get the message: Don't be a dick. "Dirk?" I said once more, kneeling down close to him. It wasn't until it was too late that I learned he was faking. He swept his arm out, knocking out one of my legs and bringing me to the ground. I landed on my back and he got on top of me, his knees planted on my my biceps and holding them down, while his hands wrapped around my throat. "I'm going to fucking kill you!" he screamed, so enraged and manic that he was actually foaming at the mouth. Or maybe it was spittle from when he yelled, one of the two, but that wasn't my most pressing concern right now was it?

It felt like bands of iron were being clamped down around my windpipe, and it became hard to breathe. But then he flew off me, as Chris reached me and kicked Dirk right in the head, the tip of her shoe hitting him square in his cheekbone. He landed on his back, and even then it wasn't enough. She just attacked him, kicking his sides and stomping on him, and I could hear him crying out, with no dignity behind it. I got to my feet, slowly, and tried to speak but it hurt, my throat felt sore. "Chris..." I whispered, doing my best to speak up even as she continued to pummel Dirk. "You don't ever fucking touch my friends, you worthless piece of shit!" she was screaming at him, still kicking. I walked over to her, and grabbed her shoulder, to which she spun around, fist raised. But she stopped when she saw who it was. "Chris..." I said again, louder this time. "Enough. He's had it." And then the faculty swooped down on us.

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- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   02/07/13, 09:06 am

Two security guards and the principal himself, Principal Prickly, came to break up the fight, along with the school nurse. Chris and I each had a guard holding our shoulders firmly while the nurse looked over Dirk, still quivering and whimpering on the ground. It was pathetic really, seeing the most feared bully on campus reduced to whimpers and jelly, when he had done the same if not worse to other students. There was a sense of justice to it all, even if it meant he had to get beaten over it. Apparently, according to the nurse he had some bad injuries but he'd live, and that was all the excuse the principal needed to drag me and Chris down to his office. We were marched out of the lunch area by the guards and towards the doors, but all the while I noted that some, if not all of the students looked at us both with a strange look. Not awe.....but approval maybe.

A minute later, Chris and I were sat down in front of the principals desk, the door to his office closed. He stood behind his desk, a little red in the face and on the verge of yelling. But he somehow managed to keep his voice calm and controlled, until the red hue of his face died down. "Now, explain to me what happened because it seems clear that Mr. Jones is in no condition to speak," he stated, and I figured I'd start off. "Sir, it was kinda my fault. I hit Dirk in the face when he called my friend a.....well, he called her something insulting." Prickly stared at me as if I was something of an idiot. "And your response was to assault him? James, how often have I said that violence solves nothing?" To be fair, he had said it a lot. Prickly didn't tolerate violence on school grounds, so much so that he made sure everyone knew it when they entered the school. And he tended to carry out harsh punishments on anyone that started a fight. He sighed, and took off his glasses to rub the bridge of his nose. "Look, whether or not he insulted your friend is not why you're here. You and Ms. Martinez are here because you both physically assaulted a fellow stud--" Chris cut him off, her anger not as contained as the principals. "Oh come on, I only beat the crap out of Dirk because he was strangling James. If I hadn't done anything, you'd have a dead student!" Prickly blinked, first at her then at me. "This true?" he asked me, to which I nodded, and just to add emphasis massaged my throat which honestly still hurt.

He sat down then, rubbing his forehead as he worked out what to do. "Alright, so Dirk insults, you attack, he tries to choke you, and then you beat him in defense of him, am I getting this right?" Chris and I both nodded. "Okay, well I think I know what to do then. But make no mistake, neither of you are getting off scott free on this. Both of you will be suspended for a week, and Mr. Jones will be suspended for two. And this is the last time I see violence, from either of you. This happens again, then it won't be suspension. It'll be expulsion."

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"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   03/07/13, 12:23 am

We both nodded, and after that Chris and I sat in the officer lounge, waiting for her dad to come pick us up. I wasn't sure how long we had before Michael showed up, but it gave us time to talk, especially since we had some privacy. "So.." she began. "Do you want to tell me what that was all about?" She turned her head to look at me, while I stared down at the floor. "What do you mean?" I responded, never meeting her gaze. "Thought it was obvious what happened." She shrugged, and did that thing with her lips, pursed together when she knew I was skirting the subject. She and my sister had that in common, and it was kinda scary seeing it on her. "I meant the part where you very nearly took down Dirk. A real fight, and you almost won if he hadn't tried to kill you like that." I simply shook my head and leaned back into my chair, gaze now turned to the ceiling. "He called Amanda a 'dyke.' What was I supposed to do?" She all but bristled at the word, but calmed down. Sighing, she closed her eyes and shook her head. "I'm not arguing about what you did. Hell, I was going to bash his head in anyway. But there was a look on your face James, something that kinda.....scared me a little." This time I looked at her, and blinked. "What?"

"You heard me. There was this look of....excitement on your face, like you were on some kind of roller-coaster." Well, that was frightening. I admit though I felt a rush during the fight, to overpower Dirk and dish out some payback to him, the way he had dished out punishment to everyone else. It felt good, to stand over him while he was beaten at my hand......and it also felt wrong. That wasn't me.

Gestalt, did you have a hand in this?

It may have been an accident as we altered the release of certain chemicals in your body. We are not sure though.

Well, that was worrying. But at least it was good to know that whatever it was, it wasn't the machines, just me. Though that probably wasn't as good to know as I'd have liked. "I don't know what happened Chris, but I know I didn't enjoy it. I just.....wanted it to be over." She was quiet for a few seconds, until she spoke up. "Yeah well, I guess I'm hardly one to talk. I did kick his ass into a hospital after all."

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"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   12/07/13, 09:40 am

It was enough to make us both laugh. We laughed so hard it actually brought tears to our eyes and we had to lean against each other for fear of falling out of our seats. By the time Michael arrived to pick us up, we had both calmed down to the occasional giggle, but the look on his face......well, it murdered our laughter. He just looked at us, pointed with his fingers and then made that gesture where you curl your finger inward in a "come hither" gesture. It shut me and Chris up pretty fast, and we both got up and followed him out the door and into the school parking lot. His car was parked in the first row, and it was only after we left the school parking lot and got onto the street that he spoke. "Christina, James.....damn proud of you both." We both looked up in surprise. "Well, you more than James, Chris. From what I heard, you were defending him. And James.....I don't approve of starting fights, but from what Prickly told me that boy came looking for a fight. You stood up for you friend, and for that I'm proud. But next time....try to not throw the first punch."

I had to admit, I wasn't exactly prepared for.....the approval. But, Michael did teach Chris (and through her me) the value of friends and protecting them when needed. Maybe he was proud that we took those lessons to heart. "Now, you're both suspended from school, and the two of you are also grounded for the weekend. Sorry, but I gotta at least be the responsible adult here or else Chris will do it for me." Chris simply blushed and looked out the window. "Also, I'm not entirely okay with this because me coming to pick you two up meant that I had to leave work way ahead of schedule, and things at work.....well, they're not good. That vigilante not only broke in, but he stole some expensive property." Oh yay, there's the guilt.

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"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   16/07/13, 02:54 am

That same harness I stole and was currently wearing suddenly felt a lot heavier now that I knew the trouble it was causing Michael. "But I can deal with it. Since it wasn't even during my watch, they can't lay any blame on me, or my people. Whoever the vigilante is.....he's got some serious tech at his disposal." Chris' head perked up, suddenly at full attention. "Oh?" she asked. "What does he have?" Michael simply shook his head. "Sorry, can't say. That bit was withheld even from me. All I know is that he used it to take out four Draco soldiers and even a security mech."

The rest of the drive went on with Chris asking more questions and Michael unable to answer her, until finally we got back to the house, his car pulling into the driveway. We got out, but he didn't. "Look, I still have work to do back at Nexus, so I'll be home late. Chris, feel free to order a pizza, you have your card."

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"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   24/07/13, 08:49 am

Chris nodded to her dad, and he pulled out of the driveway and drove off, leaving Chris and I standing outside the house. We got inside, and immediately tossed our backpacks onto the couch. "Okay," Chris said. "We have the house and the rest of the day to ourselves. What now?" I shrugged my shoulders, and turned for the door. "I was thinking of going for a walk. Just....take some time to myself." She just jumped onto the couch and turned on the tv. "Okay, just be careful James." To most people, it would have been shocking for her to be so......okay, with me leaving the house without even offering to come with me. But she knew me, trusted me. She was fine with it. So I walked out of the house, and began heading down the street. I rounded a corner and into an alley, and once I was out of sight, I shifted, feeling the familiar tingle of the nanomachines as they oozed out of my skin and over me.

Artificial epidermis formed. Ready to go our host.

Nodding, I broke into a run down the alley, leaping upwards and grabbing onto a fire-escape. My parkour skills kicking in, I pulled myself upwards and quickly scaled the escape, reaching the roof and soon running across it. As I neared the edge, I thrusted my arm forward, shooting the cables out and across the street. They latched onto the other side, and the spool in the backpack began spinning and pulled me forward. I thought I heard some people below yelling, noticing me and pointing me out. I didn't care, continuing onward. The map on the HUD Gestalt created for me showed I was currently heading north east, once more towards the warehouse district. But I picked out a different spot to go to, not close to the area I made my....debut.

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"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   29/07/13, 10:35 am

Eventually, I reached the warehouse district, along the docks. It had been a fast trip, considering the fact I could move so fast now. The warehouse district was mostly empty, with the majority of the activity centered around the water, while areas closer to the streets were scarce. Those areas I went to, to test out more of the cable applications. I found one empty warehouse, as large as my school gymnasium and just as empty, several boxes lying around. It was as good as anywhere else, so I let myself in.

Gestalt, I've got a few ideas on how to improve the cables through the nanomachines? Mobility is fine and all, but I was thinking of upgrading them for combat.

Of course. And the ideas you are sharing are possible, however they will not be so.....large.

Grinning even beneath the mask, I shrugged and then with a thought directed the nanomachines to gather at the tips of the cables around my hands. They formed weighted tips, and soon I had formed tiny wrecking balls that soon grew in size and weight. When they got large enough, I shook my arms, releasing the cables, and let them fall to the floor with a satisfying 'clunk.'

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What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   31/07/13, 08:41 am

Okay..... I thought to myself, let's see what we can do. I swung my right arm in a horizontal arc, and the whip lashed out with the weighted ball, and impacted one of the boxes. I underestimated how much power I put into the swing, or how dense the ball had become. When it hit the box, not only did it leave a dent, but it sent the box flying. While the box wasn't exactly large, the lid popped off and I saw dozens of smaller items fly out, and they looked heavy enough that they could have weighed it down together. Plus....there was a dent in the box, bigger than my fist, right where the whip hit. Wow, so these could do a lot of damage if I wasn't careful. Another thought pulled the ships back to me, and I spoke to Gestalt again.

Gestalt, alter the tips a bit. Change them from blunt to something sharp.

I could already feel the change, how the wrecking balls flattened out into sharp blades as long as my hand, become as sharp as a scalpel, and hard as diamond. Then I flung my left arm out this time, and the whip blade shot out, and embedded itself in the wall across from me. I admit I was a bit shocked. After all, this could kill someone. But be honest.....it was a little cool.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   08/08/13, 08:36 am

A few minutes later, after I had tested a few more tip types for the whips, I heard the door open behind me, and on reflex I turned to see who was there. A group of muggers had rushed inside, two of them holding onto someone they clearly grabbed from the street. He was a little older than me, terrified, and clearly was dressed like he didn't belong here: expensive clothing, and an irresistible target. None of them noticed me, yet, since they were all more focused on the present matter. It wasn't until one of the muggers drew a knife that I cleared my throat rather loudly, and they all turned to look at me, even the guy they were mugging. "Uh, I'm not a hundred percent sure, but I don't think it's legal to mug someone." The guy with the knife glared at me, and pointed his knife at me. "You better walk away shiny, or you'll be next, right after I cut up pretty boy here." Shiny? Seriously? Wow, no manners anymore these days..... When the guy turned his back on me, turning his attention to the guy he was threatening, I whipped my arm out and shot the whip towards him. It hit him on the shoulder, and latched on to him. Which was good since I yanked him back towards me.

"Hey, I wasn't done talking to you yet," I shouted as he whizzed over to me. Honestly, I played too many video games, because the moment he got within range I kicked him with a roundhouse kick, sending him flying to my left into the boxes I used for target practice earlier. His buddies didn't even think, they just reacted, abandoning their would be target to attack me. Retracting my whip before they got too close, I crossed my arms in front of me and shot both cables out this time, aimed at both of them. When they latched on, I pulled my arms out, and the force of the pull combined with their own forward momentum sent them crashing into each other. But unlike in the movies, it wasn't enough to knock them out. They quickly got back up, and I let them. This was kinda fun.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   24/03/14, 06:38 am

"Alright asshole," one of the muggers said. "You fucking asked for it." They must have been brave, or stupid to want to keep attacking me given what I had just shown myself capable of. He held up his knife, and rushed me. "You guys never learn do you?" I said rhetorically, as I just stood there and brought my arm up. Before the knife hit, the nanites around my arm expanded in number and formed a shield that was more gelatinous than solid, and the knife sank into the barrier. Then they hardened, sealing the knife inside as the idiot tried to pull it out. The most he managed really, was tugging on my arm and nearly pulling me off balance. That was when I had the nanites turn back into jello, and the knife slid out like the shield was butter. He tumbled back to the ground, and I figured enough was enough.

Springing off my right foot, I lunged forward to the second guy, fist stretched out like a lance as I punched him square in the jaw. I swear to god, some teeth flew out of his mouth as he flew away from me, and it was clear that he went out like a candle. That left knife-boy to deal with, and I turned to look at him as he stood up. He was fucking terrified, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me grin under my mask. "Jesus...." he said. "You fucking idiot, you got no idea who you're fucking with!" he screamed. Then he turned and ran. Right before he got to the door, I shot out my cables again and they wrapped around his ankle, and I yanked back.. He tripped, and fell face first onto the concrete. I was worried for a moment when he didn't move at all, since I knew full well that if you break the nose at the right angle the bones can go into your brain and do some serious shit. So, me being the considerate human being I am......I walked over and checked his vitals. It was a lot easier than it sounded, since the nanites over my eyes actually created a kind of scanner. He was alive, though he was going to have one hell of a headache later.

I turned back to look at the guy they had been mugging, Mr. Well Dressed Victim. He stared at me, stunned and clearly unsure what I was going to do to him. So I figured I'd answer the question for him, and said "Feel free to leave, I'm not going to attack you."

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What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   08/04/14, 08:49 am

The guy stood on shaky legs, clearly still afraid despite my reassurances that I meant no harm. Then again, not like I could blame him. Hell, if the roles were reversed and I was in his spot......muggers were one thing, but a guy clad in skin-tight armor and using metallic whips? That's definitely the kind of thing that gave one pause. It took him a minute before he spoke, and even then I was thankful Gestalt was augmenting my senses so I could hear him. "Who.....who are you?" he asked. Well, the alias was working so far.....why not keep it, see how it works? "Name's Shifter," I said, my voice still slightly garbled yet understandable (thank you alien AI) "Yours?" The casual conversation seemed to make him relax, and he answered "Thomas. Thomas Vanhorne." Yay, I finally had someone to call TV.

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What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   13/04/14, 05:38 am

"Huh, Thomas Vanhorne. So, TV then. What's up TV?" I asked him, and he immediately had a disapproving frown on his face. "Besides being given a nickname I don't like? Those assholes jumped me on the street and tried to take my money. So thanks for taking care of them." Shrugging, I started walking for the door and said "Sure, no problem. Might want to stay off the streets though, TV." And just as he was about to snap a retort, I exited the warehouse through the door.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   20/04/14, 10:00 am

When the door closed, I jumped up, the enhanced strength of the nanomachines in my legs propelling me a few meters into the air before I shot my right hand forward, the harpoons shooting from my hand and latching onto the edge of the warehouse roof, reeling me in to the top. On the way up, I heard a familiar jingle playing in my ear. My cell-phone; Gestalt had plugged itself into my phone while in my pocket, and created a kind of.....blue-tooth connection, to the space on my left ear. Where the nano-epidermis covered that side of my head I mean.

All it took was a simple thought, and I answered the call. Chris' voice came over the line, as clear as if she were standing next to me......and screaming into my ear. "Ahh!" I yelled, both out of surprise and pain. I had just soared over the lip of the roof when I answered the call, so when I reacted to the pain it wasn't just vocally. My body reflexively curled up, hands cupping my ears and I fell down onto the roof with a thunking sound. "James!?" Chris nearly screamed over the line (which even if it was nearly, still hurt) and I took a moment before responding. I shot a thought Gestalt's way. Turn the goddamn volume down! "James?" Chris demanded again, and this time her voice was more bearable. Sorry, the volume was more bearable. I responded immediately, saying "Yeah sorry, didn't remember I left the volume at max."

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   22/04/14, 06:58 am

Her chuckle carried over the phone line, and Chris said "Geez, aren't we forgetful today. Listen, I ordered some pizza so feel free to get back here in a bit. I got you pepperoni...." I actually groaned in response and said "Ooh, marry me." She laughed and said "Just get your ass over here, or else I'm eating your pizza." Then she hung up on me, and I stood there for a few seconds in silent amusement.

She certainly seems.....spirited.

Heh, yeah she is, I said to Gestalt. Breaking into a run, I leaped from the edge of the warehouse roof and shot my arm forward like before, the cables shooting out across to the next warehouse and latching on before the spool spun and reeled me in.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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PostSubject: Re: New Beginnings   24/04/14, 07:48 am

It didn't take me long before I got back home (or rather, Chris' house but it may as well have been home). Finding a quiet, empty alley way in the neighborhood, I shifted back to my regular look, the nanites seeping back below my skin before I made my way back to the house. By the time I arrived, the pizza delivery car was already outside. It wasn't that surprising really; it may have been the year 2034, but pizza was still a serious business in my town. They always made speedy deliveries, and still delivered on great taste.

Chris was at the door, paying off the delivery guy when I walked up the cement path to the steps, brushing past him as he walked back holding that giant warming bag. It's funny how that thing had never changed, a perfect example of 'If it ain't broke don't fix it.' Chris was holding two boxes balanced on one hand, and I could smell the combination of blessed pepperoni, sacred cheese, and the almighty stuffed crust. Oh yes folks, pizza was a holy thing for me. Because it always delivered.

_________________
What is a man but the sum of his choices?

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Deal with the root of the problem, never the branches." - Alex CasaMadrid

"Good men mean well. We just don't always end up doing well." - Isaac Clarke
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