Circuitry

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:08 pm

(sorry it's taken me so long to reply!)

Ace blinked, shaking his head with a small laugh. Of course. He could just call up a local impound and see if they got any bikes in, or something equally as pedestrian and normal. Some things, Eleanor would have to hack, but some things he could just ask, like a regular person. "I didn't think about any of that...wow. Shows you how complicated my brain wants to make things. Or maybe I'm just kinda fried in general and can't think straight. Probably both." Ace got himself a glass of water, downed the entire thing in one go, and then munched on some cold pizza. "We both know I'm crazy anyway, right?" Ace smiled. If he couldn't make a sad joke about his situation, then what could he do?

Eleanor was making her way towards her room, and Ace's mind drifted off to practical matters as well. The thought of a hot shower felt like a hug, or being wrapped in a blanket on a soft bed--something welcoming, comforting, and relaxing. Ace was just thinking that he was in desperate need of the use of a toothbrush and mouthwash when Eleanor stopped and suggested that maybe, just maybe, they were not memories he was recalling, but rather receiving information. His casual, bright eyed expression paled almost immediately, and his body posture subconsciously changed just slightly, tensing and coiling like he expected something bad to happen at any moment. One could almost see his paranoia in his eyes as his mouth fumbled soundlessly for a second before he breathed, "I don't...I mean I feel like it's a memory, it really feels like I've been there and done that, you know? But like...how...how do I know? How would I know? And what would that even mean??" Ace held up his hands, pizza slice still clutched between his fingers. "Wait, no, no, that can't be. I mean, ignoring the fact that the human cyborg thinks that's impossible, It wouldn't make sense. Dominic said he and I could communicate and sense each other, but only at short range and we could only convey primitive sensations, not complex thoughts. These are too...real. Too detailed."

Ace sighed, trying to release his built up tension. "Geez, I'm a mess. Can't take me anywhere," he joked with a weak smile. "Anyway, yeah, you get ready, I'm gonna shower and all that, and we'll go take a look."



After getting cleaned up and dressed, the pair left the apartment and headed back to the busy square where Eleanor first found Ace. Stepping out the door, Ace was like a bear sniffing the spring air after a long hibernation. He was not quite as caught off guard as the first time they left; He seemed ready for it this time, ready for the rush of senses and instead of being overwhelmed, began to take them in. And despite being very much 'on', anyone who didn't know him would guess that Ace was very...at ease. He didn't exactly look relaxed or happily lazy, but there was a familiarity to his focus that made it look (and feel) very natural and second nature. When his training was not kicking in, Ace had very little idea of how to navigate life at the moment. But when it did, everything was right. Everything made sense.

After finding the spot where they'd met, Ace recalled the path that he'd taken after he came to, and led Eleanor to a very unassuming park bench beside a little patch of grass and trees that was really only one city block wide. Ace stood in front of it and stared at it, his eyes distant in thought. "Well...this is it." He visibly shuddered--the feelings coming back to him were not exactly pleasant. "First thing I remember is I was laying on this bench. I remember seeing the leaves of the tree overhead but hearing the city and finding the two at odds with each other. I had to be mad to be hearing city noises where nature was...but...I guess not..." Ace stepped forward, reaching out to brush his fingers against the lacquered bench. "Why did I come here...?" he muttered to no one in particular. But then he straightened and gave a resolute nod. "Well. I guess we go walk that way and work our way around?"

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:55 pm

"I think it just means you are too immersed in it. Besides, it is happening to you so..." Eleanor shrugged a little.

They took turns showering, getting cleaned up and ready for the day that laid ahead of them. Eleanor spent some time on her computer while Ace showered. She took care of some emails, some minor work and made sure her finances were in order. She started a few background searches going and they would run in the background while she was gone. Eleanor wanted to make sure they were poking at all the places they could. She knew that meant starting surface and going deeper.

As they stepped out Ace's demeanor changed. He was ready, alert and in what Eleanor was nicknaming in her head his 'work' mode. She remained close but was careful not to get in his way. They went back to where Eleanor had found the confused Ace. From there they backtracked along a path that Ace could remember. She let him stand there and take it in. It almost seemed like he had seen a ghost. He described what he remembered. Eleanor found herself holding her breath.

"Yeah, let's walk a bit."

Eleanor strolled a bit. It was park like. "Maybe you came here because you like the outdoors. It is sort of like a park and the most like real nature in the city. Maybe there is something here...some other time you came here. A memory of a person. A woman?"

It occurred to her, as she watched couples sitting and strolling that maybe Ace had come here with a date, someone special. Maybe that vague memory drew him back.

Her eyes shifted to Ace. "Maybe it was part of a job? Maybe it was a part of a mission.."

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:03 pm

Ace pondered the bench a little longer. "No...It wouldn't have been a job. Dominic said I just up and left, like I'd gone out for a joyride. Only...I never came back. But what was I really up to? Or was that honestly it? Maybe I was off on a date. Except don't you think she would have been there? Then again, I don't know how long I was here exactly. My sense of time is um...not great." He gave a shy laugh and began looking around, scanning the area with his sharp, ever attentive eyes. It was a nice place for the middle of the city. Not great, not like it was his favorite sort of place but...well it was sorta nice?

Once again he could almost hear the little voice tickling his memory, popping up in his brain like a notification on a smartphone.

Focus. Breathe. Remember your training. Where are you?

Ace closed his eyes and stood perfectly still. Somehow, this kind of searching was best done without sight, he thought. All of Ace's senses were sharp, but none were nearly as fine-tuned as hearing and smell. So he did what he did best. Ace breathed. And he listened.

Pot. Coffee. Worse coffee. A teen girl's obnoxiously fruity body mist. A squirrel's chittering, and the dog whimpering as it longed to chase it. The incessant, needy chanting of, "mama....mama...mama...maaamaaaa!" as a little boy shook his blue balloon by the string, waving it around like he was trying to strangle it. Ace could hear the bouncy sound of the balloon stretching and the plastic ribbon snapping repeatedly. Heels. Stilettos, actually. And somehow he knew by her awkward gait that they were too tall for her, and she did not know how to properly walk in them. They scraped the ground every other step, each footfall a clumsy clomp rather than a staccato clack. Popcorn. The greasy, cheap, bright yellow variety. Someone was eating Subway. Not just a sandwich--Subway specifically. And they also had chips. Plain lays. CRUNCH. CRUNCH. The blipping of an audible crosswalk signal.

Then Ace began to think, where would I go if I were...me...?

And surprisingly, he had somewhat of an answer. "Shade," he said out loud without meaning to. Ace's gaze traveled to each of the trees in the park, looking under them. His heart nearly leapt when there was a yellow motorcycle parked under one, but he knew his was not yellow. No...his would be...would be...

Black.
That had to be it, he thought as he spotted one at the far end of the park, sitting dormant underneath a huge oak tree. Ace pointed. "Wait! That! That's it! It has to be. I just...know it is." He trotted over, immediately swinging one leg over the saddle and settling in it. The way it subtly creaked and moved felt like a well-worn shoe--familiar and right. "Yeah, this is definitely it. Dang. It's pretty. I've got good--huh...." Ace dismounted, coming around to the front of the classic black Harley Davidson, where a small cover had been opened up. He peered inside, finding the innards of the beast. He knew all the little parts just by looking at them--clearly he was familiar with a bike inside and out. Fuses, cables, the main battery, the spark plug--

"Wait...check this out." Ace pointed to the spark plug, and more specifically the black sooty stain near the little electrode that marred the ivory colored plastic. In its own way, it had the look of a burnt-out lightbulb. "That's not right. Wait. WAIT. Okay, this is just a guess, I don't remember anything specifically but like...what if my....hardware is sensitive to electric shock? And I pulled over to fiddle with my bike and caught a jolt from the spark plug and it...I don't know, messed something up? Does that even make sense? Like you're the tech expert, here. Can that even happen? Would it like...erase things? Or, well, no...I'm remembering some things so it's not...gone. Reset? Can it reset things?"

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Thu May 03, 2018 1:43 pm

Eleanor watched as Ace tried to sort out and fill in the gaps. She didn't know what brought the man here but she was going to ask questions to help him figure it out. Her eyes moved about the surroundings and her body hummed with the constant call of all the technology around here. Even here in the park there was so much to connect to.

"Don't worry about how long. We need to know the why. Were you blowing off steam, getting away? Did someone sabotage your bike? That sort of thing. Those memories are there somewhere."

She waited. Ace was focusing. She remained quiet and as still as she could. Eleanor had already figured out that when he was focused it was best that she did as little as possible. It meant she wasn't a distraction. His comment of shade made her jump a little.

She followed him the bike. Her mouth pulled up at the corners watching Ace sit on the bike. He looked happy.

Eleanor frowned. "Yes. Computer guts...components can be super sensitive to power fluctuations. I mean I have power supplies and back ups in case of outages or surges. Need to protect your gear."

She crouched down beside him. "I guess...I don't know how that set up in your head is protected. I mean I have had my stuff reset when there are power changes so yes, entirely possible. I think you are right that it is more of a reset but..." She rested an elbow on her thigh and her chin in her hand. "Why were you checking the spark plug though? The power theory fits, it does but why did you leave on your own, why were you fiddling with the spark plug and why isn't your rig set up with some sort of protection for power surge?"

Eleanor looked at Ace. "I think we need to get your bike out of here though. I wouldn't want them to end up towing it. Plus gives you a mode of transportation if we get it fixed. I am sure this thing is tracked so we should disable that."

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Fri May 25, 2018 11:24 pm

Ace shook his head. "Sabotage doesn't...feel right. I don't know why. It just doesn't. What would someone gain by doing that? If I was going to be, let's say, attacked, and this was a reason to get me to stop somewhere or be stuck, can you even imagine the kind of person who would want to willingly square off against...against..." Ace searched his mind for the right word, though impulsively his brain came up with things like 'monster', 'freak', 'soldier', even though he knew he wasn't really one, or, more disturbingly, 'killer'. Eventually he sided with, "Me? That's not a very smart move. I'm still not sure all of what I'm capable of but...I know enough. And that person would have to be, like, in the inner circle of whatever this is, because I had my bike in the garage." Ace blinked, realizing that was new information. "There's a garage! Yes and it um...it didn't have windows because it was one of those ones that was under ground a bit. I can almost picture it. That's not important though, not for this."

Ace sat back down on the bike, merely looking around, wondering what made him stop there in the first place. Spark plugs, he recalled, did not prevent an engine from running once it was already started, but since it was a key component in the ignition process, a malfunctioning one would merely inhibit starting the engine. "It couldn't be sabotage..." he mused, still scanning the little park. "It was working when I left--it would have needed to in order to start. It must have just...worn out. I mean it looks kind of old. But that means that I stopped here. Probably on purpose. Why here?"

It felt like every thought he ever had began with 'why'. It was irritating once he thought about it. Ace only added to his list of whys when Eleanor wondered aloud if, (or why not, if he didn't) have some kind of surge protection. Now that he thought about it, that seemed fairly critical to his survival, or at least his well being. But then, the more he thought about it, the more he realized it would be incredibly difficult to do. "Now that you mention it, would it even be possible to like...protect it from shock? I mean it can't really be insulated. It's...inside me. How do you put a surge protector or a fuse in...in a body? Maybe I don't have one. Maybe there aren't any safeguards and I'm the first to run into any problems. Then again, between Dominic and I, we're probably the first to have this kind of problem to begin with so...I don't know. Feel like I keep saying that. 'I don't know'. It's irritating. It's like...that feeling when you're trying to remember the name of an actor and you just can't, only...it's me I can't remember. And all of this matters."

Ace closed the casing of the bike and flipped up the kickstand. "There's gotta be a mechanic somewhere. We can go get this fixed and ride it...home." There was hesitation there. In truth, it was not his home and Ace knew it. But he wasn't sure what else to call it, and it was the closest thing he had to home at the moment so...that just...was what it was.

It didn't take long to find a garage. It was a small one, overflowing with the earthy smell of motor oil and the tang of gasoline--scents Ace found oddly comforting, despite their strength. Even the sounds felt comfortable--wrenches clanking, air-powered impact wrenches buzzing loudly, the frustrated hammering of a mechanic on a stubborn, rusty bolt. Ace was drinking it in when he heard someone call, "Ey, boss, he's back."

Whatever moments Ace was taking to himself to drink in the scene were snuffed out like a forbidden candle, and that laser focus of his flicked on suddenly like a motion-activated light. Apparently, he'd been here before, and these people knew him. He wasn't sure how, though, and he did need his bike fixed, so he just sort of stiffened and stood his ground wordlessly as a big man with a trimmed beard and black oily smudges on his face approached, wiping his big calloused hands on a once red cloth. "Look, son, I'll tell you again. You're not welcome here if you're jacked up on something. Are you sober?"
The question caught Ace, of all people, off guard. "Whuh...?"
"Figures you wouldn't remember, you were real screwed up when you came in here a couple days ago. You look a little better now, got some color in you. You here to talk business?" The mans' posture was aggressive, warning him not to try anything stupid. As a result, and without either trying or thinking about it, Ace's posture mirrored it.
"I came to get my bike fixed. It's the...spark plug...you said I was here before?"
The man nodded. "Had to throw you out because you were so delirious you could barely stand, much less talk in complete sentences. Thought you might be drunk, but you seemed too far gone for that. You into mixing your drugs, kid? Crossfading?"
"What? No. What did I come in here for?"

The big man, realizing Ace was clearly in his right mind and, although a bit on the defensive, was not in any mood to cause trouble, relaxed his shoulders and swung the dirty rag over one shoulder. "Like, two or three days ago you came in here right before closing, but hell if I know what you wanted. Maybe you were trying to spit out 'spark plug', now that you mention it, but I sure didn't know at the time. You ran into a couple of things, broke the lamp in the office from knocking it over, and had a hell of a time finding the door. You were out of your mind. I thought you were on something really nasty. Heroin or...I don't know. You telling me you weren't?"

Ace shook his head. "I'm not the type. I mean, maybe getting drunk but...not...a-anyway, I recently had seizure, and I've been spending a few days trying to um...jog my memory a bit. There's a lot I don't remember. My girlfriend here helped me find my bike. Guess I'm glad the spark plug was out, because driving while having a seizure wouldn't have been good." Ace flashed a charming, convincing smile. "Sorry if I freaked you guys out. This isn't the first time I've had this happen, but that was...oh..." He looked back to Eleanor, as if to confirm this and guessed, "four years ago? Something like that. It was before we met. But uh, yeah, talk about embarrassing."

The man gave a small smile. "It's fine. Glad to see you're doing better. So, you need your bike fixed?"
Ace nodded, pushing the bike forward a little. "I think it just needs a new plug. But you should check it out, just in case. Speaking of," he said as he allowed someone to take the bike from him and roll it away, "have you ever been shocked by one of those? I was reading some story about a guy who got zapped by one and it screwed up his pacemaker. Can that actually happen?"
The guy gave a long nod. "Oh yeah. I've heard a few of those tales myself. I've seen watches die, fingertips burn, never known anyone with a pacemaker but I know the story and am not surprised. Those suckers are strong." Anyway, go make yourself comfortable in the lobby, Jared will have it fixed up in no time. And hey, no knocking lamps over this time, eh?"

Ace offered a polite laugh. "You got it. Thanks, I appreciate the help." And as the mechanic turned away to continue about his business, Ace glanced at Eleanor. "How similar is....'it' to a pacemaker, you think?" he posed, voice barely above a whisper.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:26 am

"Okay so not sabotage..." Eleanor frowned and watched Ace. She knew tech. Things that could process and talk to her. Machines with their engines, pistons and such were not something she understood well.

He was right though. He was someone that shouldn't be tangled with. She couldn't shake the feeling that something else was going on, something with those that put that thing in his head but perhaps this thing with his bike was simpler. No conspiracy just a malfunction.

Eleanor looked around. She wasn't sure why he had stopped here and if it held some meaning or if it was just a convenient location. She really didn't know much and at this moment wasn't feeling extremely helpful either.

Nodding slowly she listened to Ace's theory about this being a first time problem, that perhaps the hardware had never encountered a surge. He was also right that she wasn't sure it was possible to protect against that sort of thing in a person's body. "You have a point there. I don't know enough about it to counter that and it makes sense. Maybe it was never expected to encounter a big surge and this is the first time, a fluke."

Eleanor gave a crooked half smile to his 'home' statement. She knew it should make her wary, on edge. She barely knew him and what she did know was a lot of half facts, mysteries and who knew what sort of danger. Yet it didn't bother her. She had never been big on room mates or steady friends, let alone boyfriends but Ace wasn't typical and for some reason that made it all feel natural.

"Sounds good." It was all she offered as they made their way off to find a garage. She didn't want him to worry or over think it and she didn't want to overthink it either. It just was and it was best to leave it just like that. No need to dissect the statement. They had enough other puzzles on their hands.

In the garage Eleanor just listened and watched. It seemed Ace had been here before and the description of his behaviour seemed to fit with their theory that his circuitry was frazzled. He had appeared drunk or high. That would make sense if his processor was on the fritz because of a surge. After all he wasn't entirely there when she found him either. It seemed he had been aware enough to get to a garage, knew what he needed but could not fully articulate and his memory was affected. The last part wasn't a surprise.

Eleanor gave the men a look of concern and a nod as Ace described having a seizure and her, his 'girlfriend' helping him find the bike.

She moved closer and put a hand on Ace's arm. "Something like that. It is scary to witness. He is just so - " She blinked as if forcing tears back. "It has been a while but yes, not the first time."

The mechanics took the bike. She and Ace headed off to take a seat to wait for the bike. She pressed against his side, keeping up the concerned girlfriend act.

"I imagine similar if not more sensitive. I mean, if my rig takes a power surge it fucks up everything. Hell, a big enough one and it can fry the system. That is why I have surge protection on everything. I think your theory is right. You took a nasty shock and it is likely super sensitive. I mean, it would have to be right? Brain signals, nerves...it would have to detect all the little chemical changes in signals. I think that spark plug was like lightening..."

Eleanor kept her voice low. Their current closeness allowed for Ace to hear her despite the volume.

"So we figured out why you went on the fritz but not why you were out for a drive in the first place and who put that in you or why."

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:40 pm

Ace shook his head, keeping his eyes outward on his surroundings at all times. While in the front lobby, he made a mental note of how many people were in the office, how many were in the shop, and subconsciously calculated how long it would take him to escape if he needed to. And without even thinking, he made adjustments considering its was not just him who needed to escape, but Eleanor as well. He caught himself doing it and tried not to cringe.

"No...we don't know that yet do we? Hmm..But I feel confident this mishap is not intentional. It all makes sense. The spark plug, the power surge, memory loss, and Dominic wondering where I've been. He said they were worried about me. Said that I went out for a ride and didn't come back, and all that just screams unhappy accident." He gave a wry laugh. "Maybe that describes my life. Unhappy accident. But I think Norman Caldwell has something to do with all this. Dominic mentioned him. I think it's safe to say he's responsible but...I don't know...like, who he really is. What's he up to? We know this thing enhances sensory input and apparently in my case, restores some damaged brain function. But...why....it's not like people just do that for fun, or out of the goodness of their hearts. What's more, there is no doubt about the fact that I am trained. Dominic too."

Ace finally looked at her, taking his eyes off the doors and people. "Like right now. I just caught myself counting heads, counting steps, planning an emergency exit for myself if something went wrong, and then like, automatically adjusted those estimations to account for you being with me. What kind of person does that?" He felt like he asked that question a lot. "I just don't know what I was trained for. Dominic seemed to know. He seemed to know everything that I've been thinking and feeling since we met and that's...both scary and comforting. Scary because I don't like someone being able to read me like that but...well I think he does understand. I think he's got some answers and he knows...knows what all this training for and how my brain does stupid things like count steps and lay muggers flat." Ace gave a kind of disbelieving laugh as he shook his head. "Oh what a crazy world we've found ourselves in...maybe...see what you can find on Norman Caldwell. Let's see what we can find out about him."

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:45 pm

Eleanor frowned a little. She remained close to Ace, their conversation hushed and low. "I don't like accidents."

He was right, she had to admit it all sounded too much like weird timing. Accidents. But she couldn't shake the whole Ace being dead thing and now alive with tech in his head. That didn't feel like an accident. That was a little too close to someone having experiments done on themselves whether they agreed to them or not.

"Yeah, we will look into him more. Now that we have some pieces in place." Even the name Norman Caldwell sat funny with Eleanor.

She gave Ace a look that said, "No shit Sherlock." as he mentioned that he was trained. "Military, intelligence, spy, counter intelligence...all of the above. The other question is are you a good guy or a bad guy...like are you a spy for the government or is Caldwell some billionaire bent on taking control some some sort of super spy group? For the record, no matter what they trained you for I think you are a good guy."

Eleanor looked away. She didn't want Ace to try and read her. If he did he might see a slight blush form. She hated talking feelings. It wasn't that he had asked, in fact that she offered that statement without provocation felt weird to her. She wasn't one for friends and definitely not romantic anything. She had people she was attracted to and they met up occasionally for mutually beneficial fun but it was never more than that.

"So now that you have some of this figured out are you planning to contact Dominic?" She felt confused about the whole Dominic thing.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:34 am

Ace sat stolidly in the mechanic's lobby, studying a chip in the dingy tile as thoughts raced in his head. It was like he had two choices--to obsessively ponder escape routes and tactics, or to stare emptily at some insignificant spot. What he wanted was to relax. Across the room was a bored teen flipping through his phone, oblivious to the conversation being had opposite him. The lanky guy's face screamed boredom, even as his eyes scanned his phone. Distantly, Ace was envious. Why couldn't he be like that, even for a second? Relaxed, casual, even bored. He looked at Eleanor. Was that a blush? Of course it was. Nothing got by him, after all.

Finally he spoke, his voice soft and full of doubt. "I don't feel like the good guy. Good guys don't sleep with a gun and have ties with apparently clandestine organizations. Or something." And he didn't. In fact, the more they found out, the stronger his fear became that he was someone awful. He didn't want to be--he wanted life to be quiet and stable and to be able to have relationships full of trust and to make that paranoid part of his brain quiet. But he couldn't. Ace feared instead he would only get deeper into chaos as they unearthed this mystery. Right down the rabbit hole, never to come out again.

"I don't know about Dominic..." he admitted plainly. "I want to." He gave a kind of ironic, mirthless laugh and said, "He knows things and I want information. If it's a setup, it's a good one. But something tells me it isn't. And I want to trust him but I'm frankly not ready to. Not fully. I've told you about my instinct, that gut feeling that's been keeping me afloat this whole time? And it's reeling when it comes to him. He's connected to something bigger, something...awful," he admitted darkly, trying to put a word on the feeling in his chest. "And still, I'm drawn to him. I mean if we were friends, that would be a big thing, you know?" He gave a defeated sigh. "I just don't know."

The two waited. They waited longer, and longer, until Ace was fidgeting in his seat. Somehow he knew that the repairs being made would not have taken that long to complete, and that made a little seed of worry blossom in the pit of his stomach. Something is wrong. That felt silly. They were mechanics, not assassins. And yet...why wouldn't that feeling go away...? His anxiety began to show as it worsened and his eyes were very sharp, almost piercing as they scanned the room like lasers. Still, he did not vocalize his worry until he saw a man in the garage that did not belong there. His fidgeting stopped and he sat stock still, back straight and head craned to see through the little window. A man wearing jeans, a light blue button up shirt and a tailored jacket had come in and was speaking to what Ace guessed was the owner. He couldn't hear them over the whine of air tools and clanking of wrenches, but he could see from their posture that they were speaking in hushed tones. The man was too clean cut and well dressed to be an employee, and he did not have the body language of a customer. Nor did he have a vehicle.

"We need to go," He said suddenly, eyes unmoving from the new arrival. "Now." His tone was firm, confident, and assured--not at all like it was when he was conversing with her usually. His training was speaking now, not him. As Ace fell into what he had dubbed in his thoughts to be 'work mode', the confusion of his amnesia fell away and suddenly everything made sense. Everything he did felt right. He knew what he was doing.

Ace stood, taking her hand in his and making a show of going for the door, which the two men in the garage noticed as he had hoped they would. They began to move quickly and Ace whispered quickly, "Go outside and walk fast, take a right. Keep walking until I come get you. I'm gonna get that bike first." And then he slipped away, backtracking towards the door to the garage. Ace opened it fast, moved fast, thought fast. His gait was so confident that none of the other mechanics knew there was anything amiss, but he was spotted by the two men--the owner and the clean-cut stranger--and then things escalated.

"Hold on a minute there sir," the mechanic began as he approached him, but Ace quickly put a hand to his face and pushed him aside. The poor man was too flustered to do anything else, and by the time he had collected himself, he realized he was out of his league.
The stranger was on him next. "Stop right there," he barked. Ace did not heed him and made for the bike instead. The man flashed a brass badge that Ace recognized as FBI. "FBI! I said stop!" And when Ace didn't, the man took it upon himself to take a pistol out from under his jacket.

That was a mistake.

Like with the mugger, Ace just moved. He reacted so fast that he didn't even know what he was doing until after it was all finished. But his hand was on a large wrench and it sent the metal sailing at the man's face with considerable force. The man instinctively tried to flinch away and block with his hands, which gave Ace time to close the gap. He lunged to his right where the man had been on an intercepting course, one hand shot chillingly accurately out to the other man's gun-bearing wrist and twisted violently with a sickening crack; the gun clattered to the ground as the man gave a short cry of pain. Ace continued the twist, forcing the man's arm behind him uncomfortably while putting pressure on his now broken wrist, then with his free hand he snatched the man's hair in his fingers and drove him into a support beam forehead first. The guy went limp in his grasp and Ace wasted no time in snatching his federal ID before leaping onto his bike, turning on the ignition and peeling out of the garage.

The roar of an engine caught up with Eleanor and the bike skidded to a stop beside her; Ace waited only for her to climb on behind him before he sped the bike away down the street, taking a long weaving path in case anyone managed to follow. No one did. Still, he went at this for about half an hour before he was convinced that they were safe and pulled into a dark, quiet parking garage.

Ace was off the bike immediately, pacing in the nearly empty floor. He hadn't yet spoken to her or explained anything, but even as he paced, his left arm and hand contorted repeatedly and erratically in a way that was not conscious or intentional. And eventually even his pacing stopped and he looked like he'd stepped in glue and was trying to take another step but couldn't. His green eyes were empty as he twitched rhythmically.

And then, suddenly, he was back, running his controlled fingers through his hair and taking deep breaths. He did not appear to know or acknowledge that he'd had another spasm.

"I just...moved..." he said finally, his tone distressed. "Just like that thug. It just happened. I didn't know what I was doing, I just did it. That guy was FBI. And I had him down and out cold in something like five seconds flat. Eleanor..." he was shaking his head, fear in his eyes. "I can't be a good guy. There's no way." He finally realized he had the man's ID in his pocket and took it out, unfolding the leather wallet-like holder to find a very genuine, very unmistakeable FBI badge and an ID of one Tristan Bryston, a federal investigator. Ace handed it to her. "I think this guy was after me. In fact, I know he was."

---

Tristan awoke to paramedics. They were checking him over while he lay on a cold concrete floor; he could see their blue-gloved hands moving across his still-unfocused vision. With a mumbling cry, he sat up quickly in a panic but was firmly pressed back down to the ground by a female paramedic, who then started waving a flashlight in front of his eyes. "Hey there, can you tell me your name?" She asked him.
Irritated, he groaned, "Tristan Bryston, FBI. Where'd he go? I gotta--"
"Not on my watch Tristan," she offered with a smile but a firm tone. "Your guy's gone and you're in bad shape. You can call for backup if you want, but from what these guys are saying about what happened, I don't think it'll do you any good. You, however, need medical attention. You can see alright?"
"Wha--yeah--but--"
"You allergic to anything, Tristan?"
"Cats. But--"
"Is there anyone you'd like us to contact for you to let them know where you are? We're going to take you to the hospital."
Surrendering under the firmness of her tone and the pain that was beginning to come into his awareness, Tristan shook his head. "I'll call my supervisor later. What...happened, exactly?"
The paramedic looked concerned. "You don't remember?"
"Mostly. But it happened fast and I'm just a little...foggy on the details."

The owner of the shop came into his view then, kneeling down beside him. "That guy must have seen you because he came in all of a sudden and as soon as you pulled out your badge and gun, he was on you like ugly on an ape. I mean like...fast...Threw a wrench at your face and broke your wrist, then bashed your head on that beam there. And then the was gone. Like a ghost, just gone--and the girl he was with."
Tristan gave a small, humorless laugh but regretted it as the pain in his head flared. "I can't believe I got bested that easily. Tell me I at least fought back..."
"You didn't have time to, man."
Tristan pondered this as a bottle of soda was put to his lips and he hesitantly took a few shallow sips. He really didn't want to drink anything, but the paramedic kept insisting that he put a little sugar back in his system to stabilize him. "Well now I know. I found my guy."

He hadn't been sure for a while, but this confirmed he was on the right track. He was familiar with the name Norman Caldwell, so when the name came up on the report of a meter maid who had seen the motorbike and written up a ticket to the registered owner, Tristan contacted her and told the locals not to tow It--Just in case they came for it. He himself had gone to check it out and, upon seeing the bike was malfunctioning, told the tech department to watch for a bike with that info going into a garage somewhere. He was right. It had, and clearly the proper owner had come with it. He'd hoped when he called the shop and told them to stall until he got there that he could surprise the guy, but he was very, very wrong.

The paramedics, once he was stable, guided him over to the ambulance, but he stopped them midway. "I need my gun and my ID," he told them. The other EMT, a male, retrieved the gun carefully, but that was all he brought.
"I didn't see an ID, sir."
Tristan's heart sank as he sat down in the back of the vehicle, his wrist splinted and his head throbbing. "Shit. He's got my badge."

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:39 am

Eleanor could understand why he didn't feel like one of the good guys. He was right, most 'good' guys didn't sleep with a gun or have odd connections and weird tech but if action movies had taught her anything it wasn't about the past, it was about the now. Right now, he was a good man to her. He had done a lot to protect her and from what information she saw something had been done to him and it wasn't entirely clear that he had chosen for it to happen. Regardless of anything else Eleanor was sure she trusted him. A big deal for her because she trusted no one at all. She let him into her home and he knew what she could do. Those things did not happen in her world.

Eleanor listened to Ace contemplate Dominic. She didn't blame him at all, she didn't trust Dominic and she needed Ace to trust his gut because that was what she was trusting in. She hated the feeling that there was something awful behind it all but she had to admit she felt it too. No matter what she thought of Ace there was something seriously bad going on that they had not fully figured out yet.

As the wait dragged on and Ace grew restless Eleanor could feel her anxiety rising. If he was worried it stood to reason that she should be very worried. She hated this place she decided. Other than their basic net there was nothing for her to use to help them. This place, as was a mechanics job, was hands on and real world. Not her forte.

Ace seemed to hone in on people in the shop. When he told her they needed to go Eleanor felt her panic rise. She stood but didn't know what to do. Ace's hand took her own and began to lead her towards the door.

A stiff nod was all she could do in response to Ace's directions. She didn't want to leave him but she knew that if he told her to go then she should do it.

And just like that, Ace was gone. Eleanor resisted the urge to pause and look back. She began moving out. First out the door then as fast as she could away from the garage. She took the first right and kept going. She bumped into someone in her haste and as they yelled at her to watch where she was going, Eleanor put her head down and kept moving forward. She could feel the burning in her lungs as she tried not to run but to keep the pace quick. Running would just draw attention and she needed to just look like someone in a hurry. It didn't help that her heart was pounding so hard that she could hear it in her ears.

The sound of the bike skidding up beside her shocked those around her but for Eleanor it caused instant relief. She was on and holding onto Ace tightly in a matter of moments. She was pressed against his back. Eleanor felt the relief flood through her though she knew they weren't out of danger yet.

It wasn't until he stopped, the parking garage mostly empty and very quiet that Eleanor allowed herself to breathe fully. She climbed off the back and as she was about to say something she realized Ace was pacing.

She felt the knot in her throat, the heaviness in her stomach as she watched him pace and the seemingly involuntary way his left hand was moving. She could feel the electric impulses coming off of him caused by the hand and whatever was going through that processor of his. Eleanor closed her eyes a moment and tried to calm herself down. Her own emotions weren't going to help right now. She needed to be grounded in order to help him.

Her eyes opened, focused on him as the signal changed slightly. It was rhythmic then gone. Ace was looking at her, fixing his hair and explaining what happened.

Eleanor looked at him, at the badge he was holding out and then, back to his face. He didn't even seem aware of what had happened, the way he had just been pacing or the way his body was reacting. it was like to him he just 'came to' this instant.

She tried to swallow but her mouth was dry. Taking a step towards him, Eleanor could feel her hands trembling. She wasn't afraid per say but the adrenaline was really affecting her. "Look, just because you took down a guy who was out to get you, that doesn't make you bad. You know nothing about this FBI guy. Maybe he is one of the bad ones, maybe you were trained for a not good purpose but didn't follow the rules because you didn't like what you were being asked to do. Maybe that was why you needed to blow off steam that day when your bike went on the fritz. Maybe you weren't good but I can tell you this, a person with good intentions wouldn't have made sure my ass got out of there safely and would have hurt a lot more people just to get themselves out of there."

A few more steps and she was standing right in front of Ace. She was close, could feel the heat from their bodies and the signal from his head was incredibly strong. "You did what you had to do but I can tell you that your processor went a bit wonky when we got here. Also, I don't know whether to cry or throw up right now from the adrenaline so if you could do me a favour and just, I don't know, hug me or something. Because I am really not okay..I mean I am but not..."

She was trembling, her whole body as she put her forehead to his chest. This was a lot. She was a hacker, a loner who liked to go out dancing but mostly just kept to herself. She didn't do things that caused her to flee or for fights to happen. She needed a moment to let her body come down before they tackled the magnitude of the event.

Her voice was muffled a little. "If he is FBI and he was looking for you this is definitely big government tie in. We need to do more research."

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:02 am

It was all he could do to keep himself form bursting open like a piñata. None of this felt good, or looked good. It wasn’t good. Not only was he a wanted man, apparently, but instead of running like a sensible person, Ace mercilessly and efficiently beat the living hell out of an agent. Tristan Bryston. That name didn’t mean anything to him, didn’t even tickle the back of his memory like Dominic’s had.

“You’re kidding!?” His tone might have been construed as harsh, except there was an edge to it that echoed the fear in his eyes, the panic in his heartbeat. “Since when has being wanted by the FBI ever meant anything good? If I was one of them, he would have approached me like Dominic did. He wouldn’t have—did you know he pulled a gun on me? You didn’t see. He pulled a gun on me. And then I, you know, I reacted. Like I do. Eleanor, I beat the shit out of him. I broke bones! There’s no part of any of that that’s good! Just because I had a half shred of decency enough to see my one ally safe doesn’t make me good!” He was yelling now, though not necessarily at her. It was more that he was yelling, and she was there to hear it.

But he stopped dead when she said he’d had another spasm. Just then? How...? He felt an icy panic well up in him. Then again, it was no wonder he wouldn’t notice with all that was going on. He had adrenaline racing though him, and he learned by now what kind of crazy things adrenaline did to him.

All these thoughts were shoved aside when she admitted that she was not okay, and a pang of guilt sprang up inside him. A sense of assured calm snapped over him suddenly; this was territory he could handle. He knew what to do, knew what this was. He understood it. And he could shoulder someone else’s troubles. His own? That was a different story.

Deflating a little and letting his panic go in a long sigh, he reached out and drew her in, hugging her hard. It was not shy. It was not delicate. It was the sort of embrace a man gives his rescuer when he is pulled out of the ocean after being adrift for days. His grip was firm, strong, but not squeezing. The touch made him feel a little more human and a little less dangerous cyborg. Apparently, he needed it too. For a while, the two stood there like that under the dull hum of fluorescent lights that Ace was just now beginning to notice with irritation.

“We have a lot of research to do. And I might...I might meet with Dominic. I need to know if this guy is related to all this or something else, or tangentially or...I don’t know. Dominic would. And I can’t call him, not if the feds are after me. They’ll have tabs on my phone and Dominic has mine. But later. I don’t want to do that right now. I don’t wanna...push it.” He said this ominously, clearly referring to his equipment and its occasional malfunctioning. It was worse with stress, so it didn’t make sense to push it unless he had to. “RIght now...wanna just go back to home base?” He coudln’t call it home—it wasn’t his. But it was a base, a fortress of some degree of safety, and that was enough. “We can do research from there or...whatever. I dont’ know, I can’t think that far ahead without panicking.” He gave an expression that attempted to be a smile and missed the mark by a long shot.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:38 am

Eleanor understood he was afraid but his tone and reaction made her recoil a little. She tensed against him and shrunk in a little. She blinked away tears that wanted to form.

She was grateful for the way he was hugging her. She wasn't necessarily good at this sort of emotional show or physical response but right now Eleanor needed it.

The silence, the connection was nice, was needed and it helped somewhat centre them again. Ace mentioned Dominic and Eleanor found herself unsure about it but knew that it might be the best way.

"I would definitely like to go back to home base. A hot shower, something to eat and maybe a stiff drink. Let's start easy."

Eleanor looked up at him. "Let's just do that. Okay?"

She echoed the feeling of not wanting to do too much. The thought of a couple of hours, next day, next steps was a bit overwhelming and she was still coming down from the adrenaline and fear. Yes, a part of her had realistic plans, ideas but she wasn't ready to tackle that. Eleanor just wanted to let this the emotions die down first.

Very slowly she pulled away, separated herself from Ace. She didn't want to, she enjoyed the connection but she also was feeling conflicted on that what it meant. Eleanor chalked it up solely to the moment, the situation.

"Pizza or something else?"

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:36 pm

All Ace knew was that this just shouldn't be happening. It couldn't be. This wasn't real life, this was something else entirely. But he could feel his heart pounding in his chest, could hear the buzzing of the fluorescents, the distant sound of someone walking to their car on the other side of the parking garage somewhere out of sight. The rhythm of her breath into his chest, the whir of the AC unit stirring to life. Gasoline, exhaust, sweat, stale water. All too clear to be normal. No. This was real, but it also wasn't normal.

They pulled away, his hand still gripping her shoulder firmly, but not hard. And as his eyes scanned everything around him, it was like he was using her as an anchor in a stormy and uncertain sea. Getting to a safe place and unwinding a bit would be good, productive, even. But he still felt spooked. No, that was too light a word. Panicked. Fearful. Paranoid.

Ace took in a deep, long breath and let it out just as slowly. He tried to offer a weak smile but it never reached his eyes. "Right. Maybe you should reintroduce me to some other food? I honestly don't remember everything that's out there. Some things, but I don't even know if I know it all...does that make sense? I don't even know what I like." He looked a little crestfallen at that but amidst the much larger problems he was facing, it didn't seem to stick to him.

"Here," Ace said, handing her the one helmet. "You take this, we can get a second one for me later." And after checking the fit on it (somehow he remembered all about that) he straddled the bike and waited for her to get on behind him. The engine roared to life and it hurt his ears terribly, but even though it was loud, it was a good sound. Not like the buzzing lights overhead, which were threatening to drive him absolutely mad any second now. It made him feel some sense of normality, and in this stormy climate he found himself in, that was the best he could hope for.

Ace took a long, circuitous route back to base. He was pretty sure nobody had been following them from the start, but after what had just happened at the mechanic's shop, he wasn't about to risk it. He also knew that they'd need to hide the bike somewhere inconspicuous, somewhere that wouldn't get picked up by a traffic cam or a meter maid, as apparently the plates were marked. He needed new ones. And he'd get them. Of course, he wasn't sure how exactly, but the assuredness of this fact both unnerved him and gave him confidence. Maybe he'd ask Dominic about it. Somehow, that seemed like the right thing to do. The drive cooled him down, too. The mechanical, pedestrian nature of the ride calmed his panicked mind and made him feel less like a rabbit hiding from foxes. He selected a tucked away parking spot near the apartment complex but not actually on the property--somewhere without a lot of through traffic and away from street lights. And the two burrowed down into the safety of their den, with all thought of foxes feeling at least slightly removed.

"If I go and meet Dominic later tonight, do you want to come? You don't have to. It might even be safer for you not to, but I'll leave that up to you. I want to talk to him and see if I can get a better read on him. And like, get more information if I can. In the meantime...what's for lunch?" That weak, false smile returned, but it was trying hard to be real.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:00 pm

Eleanor stood there, watching him as he watched the world around them. He was seeing things, checking for things she didn't comprehend. She knew that. She was careful. Ace was on another level.

"Other food. Sure. Let's try Chinese food." She smiled and tried to pretend it was a happy one, that all this was normal. They were just a pair, talking about dinner. That was all. Deep in her gut she knew it wasn't true but she needed to pretend it was for both of them.

Eleanor took the helmet and pulled it on. Ace helped her, making sure it fit and was done up properly. She stared at him through the open face shield. He was a mystery. Sometimes just a regular guy with no memory and other times, when the training kicked in...

No, he was still just Ace. Eleanor reminded herself that this was the guy she knew. Not the one before but the one slowly regaining his memory. He wasn't a bad guy to her because he had never done anything but protect her and himself.

Eleanor straddled the bike behind him and held on tightly.

When they stopped, parking nearby the apartment she removed the helmet and ran a hand through her hair. The walk was short but far enough that it wasn't obvious that the owner went to this building.

Eleanor sucked on her lower lip, contemplating his question. Did she want to go? Safer sure but she would be sick with worry if she didn't. Would it be better though if she wasn't there? Not for her but for Ace. What if his equipment spazzed out again? She was torn.

She let them into the apartment. "I will order Chinese. I will get a variety of stuff."

She was on her phone before the door closed. The order was sent and planned arrival was across the street in 30 mins.

Eleanor put the helmet down by the front door and kicked off her shoes. She sat in her chair at the computers. "You should shower, maybe change or something. You know, help you relax. I- I have something I want to work on for a bit."

She didn't want to brush him off but she wanted to run some searches and she had a thought about the glitches and wanted to see if she could design the program she was currently building as a hypothetical in her head.
****
At the 25 min mark Eleanor went across the street and waited for the delivery. Her mind was solely occupied on her design and she paid little to no attention to the road and people around her.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Sat Nov 24, 2018 12:55 am

(aa sorry I just saw your post!! sorry for the delay!)

Ace left all ordering of food to Eleanor--he didn't even need to see a menu to know he had absolutely no idea what he wanted or what any of those things even were. He pressed himself to remember what Chinese food was and the only thing he could come up with was 'egg rolls' but he couldn't accurately remember what those were like anyway, so he was at a loss. Instead, he left it to his capable cultural specialist to order him some grub. She'd also suggested a shower, which honestly sounded wonderful. He felt like he couldn't pass up an opportunity like that--not after he'd been apparently pulled from the streets.

Ace went and showered long, keeping the water hot so that the air was thick and humid. The smell of the soap was a little much, but soap smell was better than sweat smell any day. Besides, he was gradually learning how to curb his extreme sensory abilities, to 'turn things down', in a way. Dominic had said something like that, said that it took some adjusting to. He had to give him credit--Dominic did seem to understand him in a way that only someone who'd been through it could. That was kind of heartening in a way, but also disturbing. Especially now that he knew he was a wanted man. He shook off the thought of this Tristan guy and his shocked face when Ace beat the crap out of him. That wasn't going to be productive.

After he finished with his shower and was clad in fresh, brand new clothes (and especially socks--unworn socks were gloriously soft in a way he never thought possible) he rejoined Eleanor out in the living room as she worked away at her own projects, which he didn't feel the need to pry about. For one thing, he had too many of his own issues to deal with. He was also tired and just sort of mentally and emotionally exhausted, so he threw himself down on the couch and let his eyes close for a bit. Sleep actually took him, which he didn't expect, and as Eleanor moved about, he lay relatively undisturbed except for an absent move of a hand or a soft little noise. Even in his sleep he could sort of recognize her movements, her cadence now that he knew her. Besides, the sounds she made were normal ones. Putting on boots, a jingle of keys, the door casually opening and closing. Things that made sense.

in his sleep, hazy versions of a memory came to him.

"I don't agree with all his choices, Ace. There's a reason I left." The voice was male, older, and...British?
"And? Where's the 'but'?" Ace's own voice was hoarse and hitched a little like he'd only just gotten over sobbing.
"I never said there was one," the man said. "I tried to steer him away from it, but you know Norman. He does what he wants. All I can tell you to try and allay your fears is that it wasn't you. You're not that kind of person, Ace, and you know it."
"But I am, clearly. I did it, didn't I? Killed her."
"Your hand did, yes. But that doesn't mean its what you wanted."
"Still, I did it. I followed orders, I--"
"It's complicated Ace. Trust me. You're a good person. And you were meant for different work, I think. You won't have to do it again, I can promise you that. But this...it was never meant to end up like this."


-----

Outside, Dominic was carefully hidden and watching Eleanor from a short but comfortable distance away. He'd been searching for them after they left in the hopes of figuring out where he was so that if something happened, he could get to him quickly without much trouble. If Ace knew he'd been followed he would be horribly upset, Dom knew. But it was worth it. After talking with Jesse bout the feed and the strange activity it showed and from what Ace had told him, things were very much not good. And Dominic cared too much about him to let him do something stupid. It was both luck and a good instinct and a fair bit of information from Jesse that brought him around there when Eleanor came around the corner to stand and wait for something, but now that he'd found her, all his attention was fixed there.

He wanted to know who she was. When he'd threatened to make her pay if she harmed Ace in any way, he meant it. And if she was some agent of sorts trying to spoon feed him lies, Dominic was going to know about it. So he waited in the shadows, watching carefully to see what exactly she was waiting for. If she was doing something shady, he'd catch her at it now. A car pulled up and a young man stepped out, holding something in his hands that Dom couldn't yet see due to the angle of his line of sight. The man walked around the car to come give it to her.

Dominic sniffed the air, focusing hard to pick out what it was if he could. And sure enough, he did. Hot and sour sauce, he thought suddenly with a burst of recognition. Chinese food.

Oh.

Disappointed that he wasn't about to unveil something about her, he decided he wasn't going to leave this encounter without something. He waited until the delivery guy was paid and got back in his car and drove away before he stepped out into view.
"Don't panic," he said to her at first. His hands were up and visible and he did not make any signs of coming any closer. "Ace isn't here, is he...?" His tone and body language as he looked around nervously made him look like a hiker who'd come across a bear cub and was now looking for the mother. He didn't feel him around, though their last encounter had proved that that didn't mean much.

"Please don't run, I just wanna talk. Right here. I won't come any closer, not unless you ask me to. I promise--for whatever that's worth." He obviously knew something of fear, of paranoia, of distrust. He'd been there himself and knew very well how to make someone feel more at ease, or at least more confident in their control of the situation. "You're not gonna believe a word I say, I get it. I know, because I'd do the same. But you should hear me out anyway. Kay? I'm really hoping we're on the same side here and can work together because Ace clearly thinks well of you and I don't want him to be wrong. He needs friends right now more than anything. What do you say? You wanna chat real quick? I swear I won't harm you, whatever your decision. I'm not here for you, I'm here for Ace and right now he's skittish as hell and doesn't trust me, he trusts you. So..." he didn't know what else to say that he hadn't already, so he just finished with a defeated, exasperated sigh and said, "I just need to know he's safe."

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:28 pm

Eleanor juggled the bag a little, adjusting it in her arms and was about to move back towards her place when Dominic appeared. She immediately held the bag up as if it could somehow shield her from anything he might do. It was a stupid thought but it was instinctual.

Her heart was racing and she looked around. Was anyone else with him? Had he found her place? Ace - was Ace okay? She had left him sleeping. Her stuff...her work...

Eleanor's mind was racing too fast too calm it and it was making her more anxious and scared.

Dominic held his hands up as if trying to show her he was no threat. She wasn't sure she trusted him at all.

"No, he isn't. He is resting. I just-" Too much information. She was giving him too much. Eleanor struggled to breathe at some sort of even pace. She was sure he already knew she was scared of him. She didn't have Ace to help and even if she could run there was no way he wouldn't catch her.

Eleanor shook her head a little to show she did not, in fact, believe him. He asked her not to run and for right now that was about all she could agree to. Her body was ready to fight, not run. She wasn't sure she could bring herself to move even if she wanted to.

"Talk? We can try that."

He talked and unlike last time he seemed less sure, less confident but she was still wary of him. He and Ace were clearly wrapped up in something and that something meant trouble. Anything secretive, government involved was no good in her mind.

"He is safe. At least when I left to get this he was. I don't know what you are scheming up by distracting me here. What's to say this isn't a ploy?" It sounded a little dumb to her own ears as she said it. Eleanor needed time to think.

She focused on him a moment, reaching for his signal to see if that processor in his head was active. If there were others like them he might somehow be sending messages. That was something she could stop if he was.

Eleanor reached for it and sought to block any signal he was sending out. Only when she felt that he was blocked would she agree to talk to him.

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SkullsandSlippers
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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:56 pm

There was a lot about Dominic that was like Ace. Though his eyes were blue, not green, they had the same analytical quality to them that bored through ordinary defenses. It was obvious he was studying her, drinking in something about her features or mannerisms and making very educated guesses based on that information, though what he was looking for was unclear. He had a confidence, too, that made it clear he feared no one, but a caution that showed he distrusted nearly everyone. Even the way he stood, the way he moved his hands, shifted his weight--everything, right down to his signal, was very much like Ace. Dominic's signal was strong, ordered, rhythmic, though it still had the organic quality that Ace's had. His was exactly like Ace's when the other man's signal was stable. Dominic also did not need to be on full alert or display his skill for her to know that when it came to perceiving and fighting, this man was very very good.

He offered her a wry smile. "A ploy? Hah. Nothing. Nothing at all. You're right. I could be playing you like a fiddle and you'd have no way of knowing." He shrugged. "But for what it's worth, I'm not." Something about his tone and expression suggested he approved of her suspicion, of her caution. As promised, he didn't take even a half step closer to her. He kept his distance (well out of even a kicking distance) but he did begin to slowly, carefully, probe outward with his own signal. It was not broadcasting or communicating, but feeling. Like brushing his hands along a wall to find a light switch in a dark room, he seemed to be scanning for her, almost. And where he felt resistance, he prodded carefully. Not an assault, bent on breaking the barrier. Just investigating it. Curiosity. Puzzlement. Anxiety.

"I'm not asking you to trust me," he said. "But know this: Ace is one of the few people in this world I give a damn about, and if you know what's good for you, you'll take care of him. Betray him or mistreat him, and you'll regret it." He was fighting hard to keep the edge from his voice. He wasn't here to be a bully, though he wanted his point made. And he did mean it. "You know too much for your own good..." There was not menace in his tone, not like some noir-film villain cutting off loose ends. No, instead there was almost pity. Regret. "And I meant what I said back there about you not wanting to get involved in this mess. But..." he sighed. "You're going to anyway, I can tell. But what I want to know is, why? Why would you get tangled up in this? Willingly?"

He was bearing down on her with his eyes now. They were full of scrutiny, suspicion, and nothing seemed to go unnoticed by his gaze. He was watching her, trying to establish some kind of baseline in behavior and expression so that when it changed in a moment, he would know. He gave a little 'shove' on the barrier. Not enough to even hope to break it or bypass it--just enough that his presence there could be felt keenly. That quick 'tap', paired with his expression, gave the clear and unmistakeable message:

I've found you.

He knew. Nothing specific, and he was still working out the details, but he knew something was different about her. Something that was suspiciously relevant to he and Ace's equipment. And he didn't like it. Whoever she was or wherever she came from, there was no possible way they'd met by accident. That unnerved him more than anything else.

"Who are you, really? Except you won't answer that, will you? Because you're hiding something. It's best not to lie. Not to either Ace or me. We've been trained to spot that sort of thing." His tone was like a warning growl. "Knowing that, look me in the eye and swear to me that you'll keep him safe, you hear? Swear to me you won't betray his trust. And if you won't tell me who you are and what you can do," he added in a low voice, "then you better tell him."

Dominic actually took a few steps away and he paced a little, taking deep breaths. Some of his fury had burned away and his tone softened a little as he said, "He's not okay. I think you've both figured that out by now but neither of you wants to admit it. His life is on the line. I want to stress that to you. And...for some reason he doesn't want my help.." his tone was injured for a second but he quickly covered it up. "For now I'm willing to let you do that. What I came here to say, what I really wanted to say, is that if something--anything new happens, or this gets worse, I need you to contact me. Not anyone else--er, except Ritchie." He did not elaborate on who exactly that was. "Just me. And I can help you navigate the inevitable shitstorm you're up against. Deal?"

He took a few steps closer, slowly and carefully so as not to appear aggressive, and extended his hand as far as his arm would allow. Between two fingers was a piece of folded paper, presumably with his number on it. Still keeping his word from earlier, he did not get close enough to touch her and instead stopped at such a distance that even with his arm outstretched, she would have to reach out as well in order to take the paper. Dominic knew a lot about body language and how it could affect a moment, and he knew when it was unwise to approach someone further.

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Blackfridayrule
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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:50 am

He made her nervous. Eleanor kept her block up. She needed something to protect herself and she couldn't do it physically. This was all she had.

His signal was easy to read and steady. Steady was good. It made it easier for her to block and push back if she needed to. Eleanor kept her focus on Dominic.

She gave a soft huff in reply of his assurance that he was not toying with her. She knew that people weren't to be trusted on their word and simply trying to verbally reassure someone really wasn't much of a reassurance at all. Eleanor knew that Dominic was aware of how little his words meant and she also was aware of how he was assessing her.

An eyebrow lifted as Dominic spoke. It wasn't so much his statement she was reacting to but the way he was prodding at her block. Subtle, careful. He was trying to get a feel for what it was and perhaps who she was. Eleanor appreciated his caution. She knew that she might not be able to turn off the thing in his head but if she wanted to she could cause it to go a wonky enough that she could get away. That was all she needed and if he was more aggressive with his 'investigation' it was what she was prepared to do.

He kept talking, a hard edge and clear threat in his words. He was trying to restrain it but Eleanor was aware of its presence.

She felt the tap on her block, the almost 'knock' there as if telling her he knew. His eyes were trained on her. So he found it, sure but he didn't know. He didn't know much of anything and Eleanor wondered how much that actually scared him. He and Ace were well trained, well informed. It likely wasn't often they didn't have all the information. She was a little pleased that she, not trained like they were but with her own special skills could irk Dominic like this.

He still made her nervous though because in the end he could still physically do something and she had no hope of fighting back.

Dominic kept talking. He moved and held a piece of paper between his fingers, waiting for her to take it. Eleanor didn't move. Her block pushed his signal away a little more before she did anything. He had kept his distance, stretching his arm out as far as he could without getting physically closer. She could reach the paper, if she stretched for it. Eleanor sucked in her lower lip. She drew a deep breath and stretched out her free arm. The food bag balanced in the other. She took two fingers and plucked the paper from his fingers.

"I don't trust you. I don't trust many people. I have no reason to trust you. You are right, I won't tell you anything about me. I haven't lied to either of you. Ace knows things, you don't but I haven't lied. Not telling you anything isn't a lie. It is a safety precaution."

Eleanor stood straight hugging the bag once more. She stared directly at Dominic, looking him in the eye. "Use that training, go ahead. I haven't lied and all I want to do is help him figure things out. He is freaked out and scared and that-" She nodded her head and looked pointedly towards Dominic's head. "Isn't behaving. I am trying to help with that. It is sort of something I do, tech that is."

She met his gaze once more. "He already knows what I do."

It was the truth. Ace was told almost right away and that was not something Eleanor did. She hid, she didn't help but something was different about Ace and she wanted to help him. That meant he needed to know all about her and what she was capable of.

"I will let you know if I come up against something I can't take care of on my own. For now, making sure he is okay is all that matters, shit storm or not."

It was odd. Eleanor couldn't say for sure why she believed that so strongly or why Ace mattered to her. He really shouldn't. He was just some guy with tech in his head that shouldn't be there. He was some sort of trained spy/assassin/fighter type and she was just a pseudo club kid who could do messed up things like talk to anything with a processor. She had her own shit to worry about and despite that, she got herself thoroughly entangled with this. It meant a huge risk to her, she knew that. If the wrong people found her, found her ability....Eleanor pushed that thought away.

"I am going to tell him you came to see me. You should know that." Eleanor stared at Dominic. She hoped he was as good as he said and knew that she was speaking the truth.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:21 pm

(Sorry for the delay, this thing stopped telling me when I get replies..whoops.)

She didn't trust him. Dom didn't need to be trained to see that, as it was pretty obvious just from what she said, though he detected a bit of fear there too. He sighed; he had that effect on people. Ace was even worse, as he was quieter and larger than Dom, but somehow this girl trusted him just fine. Why was that? What kinds of things had he told her to set her at ease? Or maybe the better question was, what exactly was she after? A sane person would see all of this and run the other way but...then again...as he prodded the barrier some more, he decided she was not just a normal, random person. No, she wasn't. Couldn't be.

Some part of him wanted to go back to base and tell Norman about this. He would want to know after all but...did he really want to? If he found out, Dominic wasn't certain what would happen to her and he didn't like that idea. Sure, he didn't exactly trust her either, but he certainly didn't hate her. If Ace didn't, then he had reason to believe that she was at least somewhat upstanding...by their standards, anyway. He didn't really want to see her get hurt. No, he'd hold off on telling Norman unless it became absolutely necessary. Even Jesse could stand to wait, and they were close.

At least she took his phone number. It was a watery, thin gesture but it was still some kind of hint at good faith. He wanted to make sure that she had the information as well as Ace, just in case the man's condition worsened rapidly. Dominic didn't know how long it would take, or even if it would progress any further, he just knew something was currently wrong with his friend and that it could get worse.

Dom regarded her with a careful nod. "We have a common goal then, believe it or not. You don't know me, you don't trust me, and it says something about you, or maybe the effect Ace has had on you, that you don't trust someone just because they say to. That's good. Words mean little to people like us. But that's fine, I can show you I'm on Ace's side, given time. I hope you do the same." She told him that she was definitely going to tell Ace about this encounter and he laughed lightly. "I'd expect nothing less. He'd figure it out on his own anyway."

Dominic began to take a few casual steps away like he was making to leave. "Call me if you need help. I'll be there." He'd been relatively composed emotionally, except for his ferocity showing through earlier. But in that moment a pained look came across his face and he couldn't meet her eyes, staring instead at a random parked car across the street. "Remind him of that, would you?" And then he was gone, his signal fading with each step he took.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:45 am

Eleanor could feel him each time he tested the barrier. She knew he sensed it was there and he was curious. It also meant he knew she was doing it. She hoped he didn't know how. For now that was her only comfort.

All she could do was nod at his statement for before he began to walk away. Eleanor stood there, frozen to her spot with the food tucked in her arm and the paper in her hand. She remained there letting the signal get weaker. She waited, barrier up to see if he would circle around, watch her from somewhere else to follow her home. She wanted to know, to make sure he was leaving. She felt that he had some good intentions towards Ace but she still couldn't bring herself to trust him. Not yet, not until she knew more about who they worked for, what they did and why they had the processors in their heads. Ace and Dominic were different and she trusted Ace. For all she knew Dominic is the one who helped do this and was now playing nice to cover his tracks.

Eleanor closed her eyes. She was always looking for the conspiracies, the people who smiled while they tried to stab you in the back. Her paranoia could get a little out of control and times. Right now, with her heightened sense of fear it seemed to be running rampant.

When she had waited long enough to ensure he wasn't still close, Eleanor began walking a long, route back to her place. It was hard to do given she had picked up the food just a few blocks away but she managed to wander, circle back and get in a couple of crowds before being back at her apartment.

Once in she dropped the food on the counter, locked up and stood watching feet at her little windows. There was a reason she chose this place. Her heart and pulse were going a mile a minute. She held the paper with Dominic's phone number tightly in her hand.

Did he follow? Was he leading a team here now to get Ace and her? What would they do to her?

Her barrier was still up, still feeling for his signal but it was exhausting her. Eleanor took a shaky breath and let it drop. Her body felt drained. Her shoulders slumped a little and she fought the urge to cry frightened tears.

Eleanor moved over to Ace. She didn't know if he already sensed her return and the food but if he hadn't she wanted to wake him. He needed to eat. She did her best to look composed.

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