Circuitry

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Mon Nov 14, 2016 11:50 pm

He did not like the looks they were giving him. He could see the spot of white hair near his forehead in a nearby window and he wanted nothing but to hide it. He was sure they were looking at it, paying attention to it. Writing it down. He was glad he had no tattoos (at least that he knew of) for them to note, as he just didn't like the idea of them knowing in detail what he looked like and to be able to specify to someone else what he looked like, also. They began to ask questions directed towards Eleanor and it took what he could only call instinctive control to keep the panic from showing on his features. No, no. Ask me, talk to me. Leave her alone... She could spoil it, tip them off to something odd, they'd have to explain themselves, be asked questions he couldn't answer, the hospital, needles, poking, prodding, people never leaving him alone--

She performed remarkably. Not only did she stay consistent with his fabricated story, she added to it, creating more layers to the lie until it felt just about real. He reacted in all the right parts of her account, particularly looking kind of sheepish and remorseful when his ex girlfriend was mentioned, and warm and affectionate when she spoke of forgiveness. She kissed him and he smiled, pulling her hand closer to himself gently. Inside he felt nothing; this was business, this was what they were doing to avoid trouble, this was their charade.

It was when she was asked if she was safe with him, if he would ever hurt her, that his almost impenetrable wall broke. Thankfully it was congruent with his role, but it was genuine and not something he planned all the same. He looked stung. Blinking and then turning to look into Eleanor's eyes, he shook his head. "No, of course I wouldn't hurt her. Not ever. I wouldn't do that..." And then recovering a little he said, "Sorry you thought otherwise..." He was certain he was not the sort to hurt her. Even if they were in a real relationship, or friends, or simply just two people who bumped into eachother on the street and were now in league with one another, he could not imagine in his wildest dreams that he would willfully hurt her, or anyone else, unless provoked. So far she'd offered him a sandwich and a place to rest, and right now he was in her debt. No, he could never hurt her. In fact, he was more concerned with making sure the opposite was true, that she was unhurt. Whoever he was, he was not that kind of man.

The brunette smiled and waved the police officers goodbye as they turned away and he promised to take care of his injuries. For a while he stood facing Eleanor, just watching with a kind of neutral expression on his face as he listened to their footsteps fade away, to the radio chatter blend into the din of the city. They were fine, this time.

After a while he nodded. "They're gone. C'mon, let's get out of here, I don't want to be out in the public eye anymore, not if I can help it." He did not fail to notice that despite the fact that the whole encounter was just a misunderstanding of sorts, Eleanor was still quite shaken. She, like him, did not want to be involved with the police but she likely had reasons why, had some kind of history. What if she was a total criminal? That was a question for closed doors, not for open air, he decided. As they walked his demeanor crumbled steadily from the cool, confident man of suave lies and convincing smiles, to the stray-cat he'd been just moments before the whole encounter. His shoulders were not quite so straight, his gait a little more wearisome and careful, and the wrinkles in his ever-so-slightly drawn eyebrows appeared like fault lines on his brow. Whatever he'd just done, it was all a curated facade and now it had been dropped and he could be himself again. He didn't even have to try, it just...did.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Tue Nov 15, 2016 12:19 pm

Eleanor relaxed a little as he stated they were gone. She stepped away, not wanting to freak him out by being in his space. She did her best to look calm. They both seemed to drop the act for the cops. He went back to looking tired and stressed.

She took his hand carefully. "This way. My place isn't far."

She tried not to let her mind freak out too much about lying to the cops. She didn't lie if she could help it. In fact she lived on the idea that if she told people just enough she wouldn't have to tell them everything.

Eleanor led him, though she varied the path a little to make sure the cops hadn't doubled back. Surely it was just because of Subway and an overzealous concerned citizen but she couldn't shake the weird feeling in her stomach and knowing he has some weird tech in his head didn't help the conspiracies she was brewing up.

Eventually Eleanor led him into a building. Only seven stories which made it small as far as apartments went for New York. She went down stairs rather than up. In a place where most people wanted to up up and away from the streets Eleanor wanted down. There were a few reasons but one of the main ones was that it was cooler and that meant her system was easier to keep cool.

She unlocked the door and stepped inside. It was dark save for the blue glow that signaled her system was on. Eleanor turned on a small light.

Once he was in she locked the door. "So...come on in. It isn't much. Bathroom is over there." A pointed finger showed the way to a room to the right of what seemed to be the kitchen area. In truth the apartment was one large room that was kitchen and living area plus two smaller rooms. Those were her bathroom and bedroom. The living area had a desk with a computer system that seemed out of place considering the rest of the furniture. Most of it was second hand and worn from the couch to the lamp. The computer however seemed new and unlike anything one could buy off the shelf.

"I sort of need a minute. Adrenaline is wearing off and I uh-" Eleanor gestured to her room. "Don't go anywhere. Sit. There might be left over chinese or pizza in the fridge. Maybe even a beer. I don't know really. I just really need a sec."

She backed up into her room where she closed the door. Eleanor pressed her back against it and let herself freak out just a little.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:16 am

Somehow the nameless man found small comfort in the fact that Eleanor's apartment was below ground. It wasn't so much about windows and people being able to see in (well...maybe a little) as much as it was about it being almost like a den. There was one way in and one way out. Only one exit to control and monitor, he thought, and then immediately wondered what on earth would compel him to think something like that. Normal people did not constantly worry about entrances and exits. What, was he a former flight attendant? Fireman? Something? It didn't make sense. So many things just didn't add up. Who was he? What happened to him?

There was something about the used, incongruent aesthetic of the furniture that gave him some comfort though. Maybe he just hated the slick, polished, plastic feel of overly coordinated hotel furniture, like it felt too corporate. Or maybe it was simply because it felt lived in. Like a place someone would call home. Home. What was home for him, and where? Was there someone waiting there for him, wondering where he'd gone? How long had he been away? The air was comfortably lukewarm and the whole place was blessedly quiet compared to the outside world, though he could still hear things faintly outside. Cars, people, horns, a door upstairs shutting and footsteps. But all of it was muted as if far away. The only thing odd was her computer. It was extravagant, the whole system, but something else drew him to it, some sense of...of...familiarity? Curiosity? He wasn't sure. But he was staring at it contemplatively when she beckoned him to sit and said she'd be right back. She closed the door; he could hear her quickened breathing. Right. She had to process this too but...he still couldn't help but feel like she knew something he didn't.

He didn't sit at first. Instead, he paced the apartment, looking at this and that, studying her computer, wondering what it was about the complex machinery that made him feel...made him almost remember...nah. Nothing. The whirring noise it made was oddly comforting; soft, unobtrusive and consistent. Then he found his way to the couch, the cushions of which ate his body and swallowed him up in a warmth and softness that he was craving without even really knowing it. It caught him off guard how relaxed he suddenly felt. All energy spent on getting out of the public eye, on being unseen or unnoticed, getting out, getting away, moving, it just...faded. Faded and left him with the terror he had suppressed since the morning. With the cold reality that his memory, his entire life, was just one big gaping maw of black emptiness. He could try to reach in, to try and grab something but there was just nothing. A profound lack of anything at all. He had no clue who he was, or why his world was now upside down.

Very quietly, as he lay on the couch, the man cried. All the stress of the day with the police and the seizures and the noises and smells and panic and the strange thoughts in his head all caught up with him and, having nothing else to focus on, he let them out. It didn't go on long, but it was enough. He sniffled, wiped his face, and took a few steadying breaths.

Focus. Breathe. Remember your training.

Okay. He was in a safe place now, he could afford some time to examine himself a bit. He had seen his reflection earlier that day, so that was covered, but he had not yet checked his body for identifying tattoos or anything of importance, nor had he checked his pockets. He'd wanted to wait until he was in a safe place to do that, and so now was the time, he supposed. The man unzipped his jacket and lifted up his long sleeved gray shirt, twisting around in the bathroom mirror to see if he had any tattoos. He didn't, but what he did have was a series of widespread pink scars around his shoulders, back, side, and he guessed they continued down to his legs, mostly on the left side. The wounds were old and long since healed, but they were so...big. Big and widespread that he wondered what would have caused them. A burn, maybe? Road rash? Acid?

Okay. So there was that.

Whoever he was, he had never been a lazy man, it seemed, because his body seemed to be in prime condition. He was fit, muscular, and well groomed, but he wasn't freakishly large or bulging like some body builder. He habitually kept his toenails and fingernails short. He was relatively clean considering he woke up on a park bench, but he could stand to shower. He had a minor burn that was now beginning to blister on his his right pointer knuckle, and some evidence that he once had surgery in many parts of his body a long time ago. Huh.

He got dressed again and settled back down on the couch, going first through the front pockets of his jeans. All he found was a crumpled note written in quick, sloppy penmanship on the back of a torn-out chunk of what he guessed was some sort of manual. In black pen, it simply read:

1407

He was about to put the paper down and move on when a tickle of memory flirted with the surface of his consciousness, then dashed away back into the gloom. 1407. 1407. One. Four. Zero. Seven. One thousand, four hundred and seven. Fourteen o seven. Fourteen o seven. That was important but he couldn't remember how. He set it aside; he'd ask Eleanor about it when she came out. The only thing left was to investigate the heavy object in his jacket pocket. He set it down on his lap and slowly undid the brass zipper one little tooth at a time. He was nervous. Why was he nervous? The pocket was open. He peered inside warily and couldn't believe what he saw at first, not until he slowly, carefully, reached out to touch it.

The gun fit his hand like it was made for him. His finger found a resting place immediately somewhere close to the trigger but not on it. He hefted it; it was loaded. The man wanted to drop it and run but also didn't want to let it go, so instead he carefully and slowly set it down on the coffee table in front of him; he would show Eleanor that when she came back. After all, she had a right to know.

What kind of a person carries a gun? He thought through the list and decided he didn't like any one of them except for secret service agent, police man, or anything else of the legitimate sort. Seeing it made him feel suddenly like any hope of turning out to be a banker or a salesman was out of the question. He was something alright. And he wasn't sure yet if it was good. He paled and lay back down on the couch, trying to shut the information out for just another minute so he could process it.

A gun. Who carries a gun?

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:21 am

Eleanor rested her head against her door. Her hands were shaking. What had she done? What was she thinking?

Okay so he has something in his head and it is not good. Cool, very cool but not good. So I lied to the cops, it isn't the end of the world. We didn't actually do anything wrong. She felt her shoulders drop. They weren't in trouble, never had been. Not really. The cops were checking up on a reported abuse call. So they lied that they were a couple. That wasn't a crime.

Suddenly she felt incredibly stupid. Sure what she could do would land her in a research lab and things she had done to live and survive could land her in jail but in this instance there had been no reason to panic.

Eleanor ran a hand through her hand and left her room.

"So I am thinking I will start doing some looking for people who look-" She stopped dead at the sight of the gun on her table. Her eyes lifted to him as if gauging what his actions might be.

Had he been playing her? Was he here to take her away? Kill her? Was that planted on him? Was he some sort of criminal?

Eleanor's mind was going a mile a minute and so was her heart. So much for calming down.

She put her hands up a little and took a step back. "Why do you have that?" Her eyes moved from his head and the shock of white hair down to his legs. She was watching for a sign that he was moving to the gun, that he intended to do something.

At the same time she opened up her block and felt for the thing in his head again. Maybe the signal could give her some sort of clue of what was going on. She needed to touch him to actually talk to the thing but she had been able to tell earlier when things were off because the signal was erratic and messy. Maybe it was sending him messages.

All she knew was right now he was on the couch, she was standing and there was a gun on the table between them.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:56 pm

She stopped speaking and he tracked her gaze to the gun, and then looked back at her. Oh...she thought... he watched her step back a little and put her arms up and a pang of guilt flooded his stomach and chest. He didn't know what to say as he was pretty stunned himself, so he just shook his head and put up his own hands. "No," he finally said. "It's not like that it's...it's mine, it is, but I don't know why I have it. I found it in my jacket pocket. I don't know what it's for I just know it's mine. But I wouldn't--I'm not--I--when I said back there to the cops that I wouldn't hurt you, I meant it." His eyes were wide and searching, pleading almost. He did not look angry, he did not look aggressive. He was still quite focused, as that just seemed to be his way, but he was genuine and apologetic in tone, expression, and body language. "I know it's a long shot to ask you not to be afraid of the strange amnesiac with a gun in your living room, I get it, but I won't hurt you. I don't want that, I just want some peace to figure things out. Besides, you've done nothing but favors for me. You've shown me more kindness than I deserve and I wouldn't do that to you. I don't know why I have it but I know it's not for you. I mean it, I wouldn't."

The man pushed his jacket, which had the pistol nestled on top of it, down the coffee table closer to her. He even scooted down the couch the opposite direction to make it clear that he had no intention of using it on her and that she was free to take it if she wanted, though quietly he preferred she didn't. He wasn't sure why, he'd established now that she was not there to hurt him and he would have no reason to use it...but he thought he wanted to have it nearby. Just in case.

In case of what?

"I'm trying to think of the kind of person who carries a gun. Or if I even have a permit for it. I certainly didn't find a wallet of any kind. Am I like, some kind of agent? Like FBI or whatever? Under cover cop? Nah, I'd have a badge somewhere. Gun fanatic doesn't feel quite right either. I don't think I'm a bad person...at the very least I know I don't want to be. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for..." he rubbed his face with his hands, squeezing his eyes shut as if it would help coax out some answers. Nothing. He gestured to the table and himself, "for all this. And that thing with the cops. You were just trying to help."

The signal in his head was pulsating steadily and fluidly, like the breath of a hibernating animal. Occasionally, if the man looked at something and studied it intently, there would be a small bump in activity, almost like a computer using CPU. But there were no spasms anymore, no frantic outbursts of confused signal. Just steady rhythms.

The man chewed the inside of his lip as he watched her and desperately tried to think of something to change the subject. He needed her help and he couldn't jeopardize that, so he needed her to understand he was not a threat. "I...I found some other things while you were in there," he began softly. He held up the piece of paper and handed it to her slowly. "This was in my pocket. 1407. I don't know what that is...a passcode? Pin? Address? Something else? I'll call it important because it's all I've really got. And also this..." he lifted his shirt and twisted around to show her his back, which had huge scars in massive patches consistent with road rash.

The scars were old, at least by a few years, but they had been deep. He also showed evidence of a few surgeries, about as old, on his torso. There was nothing unusual about those, and they looked random enough that they had not been pre planned but were rather done in response to some larger issue. Whoever he was, he once had a rough encounter with something, or an accident. "That's something, isn't it? Might give you something to work with when you're searching...you know..if you're still willing to do that. I know I scared you a bit with the uh...with the gun. I didn't mean to."

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:31 pm

Eleanor watched him as he struggled to explain the gun. She got the signal and nothing screamed danger. It was calm, level even. It was like as long as he didn't try to think about who he was or remember things he was okay. If he just observed and acted...then again could he fake that? Could he control the thing in his head or was it controlling him?

Stupid paranoia Eleanor knew it was good to have that, that a healthy level of paranoia and distrust of others had kept her safe but it wasn't helping her figure this situation out.

"In your pocket?" She lowered her hands but still stayed in her spot. He pushed the jacket and gun towards her. He moved as if to emphasize his words. Eleanor let her shoulders slump. He wanted her help. He needed it and she actually felt bad for being worried.

She ignored the rest of his questions, even the paper with the number as he stood showed her the scars. "Um-"

Eleanor approached him. She came close inspecting his back. "Okay. Let's uh, let's take this one thing at a time." Her fingers traced the scar before she pulled her hand away quickly. "Sorry. You don't need me going all stranger danger on you and touching you."

She frowned and began to talk mostly to herself. She was trying to put the pieces together like a puzzle. "So you have, that. You carry a gun and have a number on a paper. You have the thing in your head and I wonder if that is connected to the scars." Eleanor stopped and winced. He didn't know about the thing in his head and she shouldn't know that.

Way to fuck that up.

Her hands clenched into fists at her side and she grew tense. She watched him her face full of worry now. Now was going to come the awkward questions and likely some show and tell. She had really, really being hoping to keep it a secret for much longer than this.

Her heart pounded in her chest. Her body was getting an adrenaline work out today that much was for sure. When she did finally sleep she expected it would be the sleep of the dead. She just hoped it would be literal.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:11 pm

The nameless man nodded as he let her observe the scars on his back. Right. One thing at a time. In hindsight, he was surprised that she really focused on anything he said after the gun was brought up, because that understandably was a shock. But he was really glad she didn't immediately freak out. She was cautious, but she believed he wouldn't hurt her. But what is it for?

Right. One thing at a time.

He flinched a little at her touch but relaxed immediately afterward as his conscious brain won out over his subconscious, which was having one heck of a crazy day. He stood and tried to think of why that had made him flinch. Were her hands cold? Maybe a bit, but not uncomfortably so. It didn't hurt. He was not bothered wholly by physical contact and certainly never imagined she would hurt him. So what was it? As he pondered this quietly, he came to the conclusion that it was just stress, that he was so wound up that anything made him jumpy. And...defensive. What kind of life did he lead that would make him so defensive all the time? Counting exits, noting cameras, carrying a gun, and casually not having any form of ID on him.

"No no, it's alright," he assured her. "You're not being weird you're helping me out," he said despite his initial flinch. Really that's w hat it was. She was helping him and he ultimately needed it even if it was a struggle to fully relax around someone he didn't really know. She recounted the facts so far. The gun, the scar, the paper, the--

If she had ever thought his stare was intense before, it paled in comparison to the tractor beams that were his green eyes, locked solidly on her like heat seeking missiles. His body language immediately changed from casual man in a living room to a coiled snake, ready to strike if she dared move too fast. He thought for a brief second about the gun, but realized even he couldn't grab it fast enough. He stood very slowly and stepped back, head lowered like a hunting wolf.

"Thing..." he growled. "What thing? What do you know that I don't? I knew it! I knew you were hiding something. I knew there was more to this." His voice was intense, aggressive. "You know me, don't you? You know what happened to me? Why I can't remember who I am? You better start talking. What the hell is in my head? What are you talking about, how do you know?" He took another step back and his hand reached behind him to touch the first hard object within reach. If she dared move, whatever he had his hand on would go flying at her. "I said I wasn't going to hurt you and I meant it, but if I have to choose between my life and yours I know what I would choose." He was deadly serious, but his breathing quickened and his eyes reddened as they watered...just a little. "Don't make me choose."

This man was terrified. He was in full on fight-or-flight mode and was only a few notches down from hyperventilating, but his focused gaze on her was unyielding and practically solid. In a few seconds, he was mentally mapping out his escape plan--how he would push her aside, how he would get to the door, how he could defend himself if she fought him. This was a horrible idea. All of this was horrible. And what thing was in his head? How did she know if she didn't know him?

"You know me, don't you? What's my name? Who am I? What happened to me? START TALKING. And don't you dare come any closerrrrrrr--" He looked fearsome for a moment until he made an involuntary face and a small noise like air had been punched out of him; his signal went wild and dissonant for about two seconds, and then normalized.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:36 pm

The look in his eyes made her stomach drop. Eleanor shrunk in on herself. She watched as he stood very slowly.

The words, growled out at her made her blood run cold. She shook her head at every accusation but couldn't find the words. Her eyes were large and full of fear. She watched him, the fear in his voice, the tension in his body. She saw his hand move, his pleading for her not to make him choose between hurting her or not.

The glitch in his signal made her cry out and put her hands to her head. Her knees buckled as the short burst was enough to shift her focus from her fear to the mess she was getting. It didn't last long but it was enough.

"I don't know who you are." Eleanor was crying, holding her head and still on her knees. She couldn't look up at him. "I honestly have no idea who you are or why you were out there. There is something in your head and I-"

Was she really about to do this? Was she about to tell another living person what she could do? Still on the ground. Eleanor lifted her head to look at him. Her tears dripped on her cheeks and she was pressing her hands to her head. "I can hear it. Every time it messes up I can feel it in my head."

Her shoulders shook and she knew, in the end it would be easier for him to kill her and flee than believe the crazy stuff she was saying. "I can get the signal in my head. If I want to I can talk to it. Someone has put that in you. I don't know who. I am sorry, I am so sorry but I didn't want to leave you out there. I can help. I can try and figure it out but-"

Her eyes were on him and then she closed them, pressing her hands tighter to her head. "I am not crazy and I don't want to hurt you. I couldn't possibly hurt you. I am scared but I want to help."

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:20 pm

When she cried out, so did he, like the sudden raise in volume of her voice was as painful to him as his erratic signal was to her. And in that moment all he wanted to do was hide. He wanted to hide from the world, from her, from anyone else, from himself. Just hide. Hide and wake up to find this was all just a nightmare. If only it was...if only it was... The weight of a grave situation was settling on him fast as her words spilled out of her mouth like water from a leaky garden hose. There was a thing. She could talk to it, feel it. Someone put it there. It was in his head. IN. HIS. HEAD. What a thing to have violated! And truly, he felt violated indeed knowing that someone had been in there without his knowledge and put...something in there that was foreign and apparently readable by someone else...somehow.

"You can....you can talk to...it..." he panted, now pressed into the wall as much as it would allow and then some, as if he pushed hard enough he would evaporate and go right through it. He couldn't tell if he was afraid of her, or himself, or some larger unknown entity that was likely looking for him, or maybe just watching him, or what if he was some horrible, awful person? What if SHE was a horrible person? What had he done? What had he done? WHAT HAD HE DONE?

The fact that she could communicate and feel this thing was a secondary thought to the nameless man. It was something that he would undoubtedly lose sleep over later, but right now he had bigger fish to fry, and in the light of being told he had some kind of brain implant, the fact that she could feel it just seemed an inconsequential detail right now. Or maybe it was just that he couldn't fully process it. Or anything. Who would do that? Why him? How long had it been there? Why was it...was it spazzing out?

The focus in his eyes died, went out like a candle in a rainstorm. They became frosty, hazy windows into a panicked mind as he struggled to ground himself in any way he could. He tried being angry with her for giving him such awful news, like it was her fault. He threw whatever was in his hand--a remote--halfheartedly and missed by a mile, the little black plastic device just tumbled to the floor instead. And then panic set in, and fear, and then an inner agony so desperate it looked painful.

Focus. Breathe. Remember your training. This time the voice was clearer, more distinct. And there was more.

"I can't. There's too much..."
"Breathe. In and out. Tell me where you are."
"I can't. I'm not...I don't know."
"No, not specifically where you are. What kind of place are you in? Do you know?"
"The city. I'm downtown."
"Right. How do you know that?" When there was no response, the older man looked to the younger one. "Convince me you know where you are."
"Well I can hear it."
"Hear what?" The voice asked.
"Cars. Lots of cars moving slowly, starting up, stopping, tires grinding on concrete. Big cars, small cars, there's a truck. Diesel. There are people too, people talking on the phone and with each other and some just quiet, someone is listening to music."
"What song?"
"Huh?"
"What song are they listening to?"
"Vertigo. U2."
"Good. What else can you tell me about your surroundings?"


It was too real to be anything but memory. The other voice was too vivid but he couldn't place a face to it no matter how hard he tried. Still, he tried the technique. What did he know about the room he was in without looking? It didn't do him a whole lot of good as he was still hyperventilating and was now aware that he was crumpled on his knees and leaning against the wall like a fearful, beaten dog.

"I...I don't want you to talk to it..." he said finally. "Not right now. I don't want to. I just want to know what my name is. But what is...what is this thing?" His tone was softer now, less aggressive and more just understandably frantic. Is it why I can't remember anything?" He just watched her, somewhat captivated and also a little bit in horror. After all, she knew more than he did at this point. Not that that was saying much... "You promise you're not lying, that you don't know me and are telling me the truth? Please don't lie to me..." and he meant that truly. 'Do you have one too? How do you know--i mean, how do you feel it?"

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:05 pm

Eleanor nodded and pinched her eyes shut. She was scared he would lash out at her. She heard his voice telling her not to talk to it. "I can't talk to it directly without touching you...like interfacing with it..."

Slowly she lifted her head. "All I get right now is the signal it gives off and it goes haywire it is very uncomfortable for me too." She rubbed at her head. "I don't know what it is. I have never encountered something like it before but it seemed to be really messing up in you and that isn't right."

Eleanor shifted on her knees to face him completely. "I am not lying. I don't know you. When I walked into you was the first time I ever saw you. I think it is why you can't remember things. Every time you try it goes messy."

Then he asked the question she had been hoping to avoid. She knew it would come, of course it would be she had hoped to wait though given how this was going down she wasn't shocked.

"I am going to get up...okay?" She very cautiously stood and put her hands up defensively again. "I promise I don't know you, I don't know what it is or who did that to you. My name is Eleanor and this is the first time we are meeting."

Eleanor looked sad. "No, I don't have one of those. Something is wrong, in my like-body and I can talk to things. Well specifically technology. If it gives off a signal, if it has computer type bits in it I can feel it, talk to it and if I am good I can make it do what I want. I-"

Her hands lowered. "I hide out here sort of afraid of people finding out and wanted to turn me into an experiment and well...seems like someone did that to you. I felt like someone should look out for you."

Her voice was soft as she spoke and her tone earnest. She really wouldn't have felt right leaving him out there the way he was.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:53 pm

He could hear his own pulse in his ears. Thwoom. Thwoom. Thwoom. And for once it was the only thing he could hear. He was loosely aware of her voice speaking frantically to him, trying to plead with him or convince him or something...he hardly knew anymore. She was speaking and the room was spinning and he didn't really know if he wanted to scream and jump out a window to go sprinting off down the street, or if he wanted to nod quietly and pretend none of this was real, or if he wanted to just curl up under a blanket somewhere soft and comfortable as he tried to digest all this information. Maybe all of those things. Maybe he would throw up. That would be a pity, considering he really needed that sandwich to stay down. She kept talking. He just stared at some point on the floor. Thwoom. Thwoom. Thwoom.

Something was in his head. Something like a computer. Someone put it there. He was likely some kind of experiment. She could communicate with it if she touched him. Okay. Because that wasn't weird at all. None of it. Nope.

He finally was able to tune in to what she was saying and to process the words coming at him like little asteroids in the vast emptiness of space. She was trying to assure him that she wasn't connected with him in any way and she just wanted to help. Okay. He nodded very slowly. He could believe that, after all, she'd given him no other evidence to the contrary thus far. Besides, all he wanted was a place he could feel safe in, and this was as good as he was ever going to get. Even if she was lying to him, he wasn't so sure he wanted to leave, mostly because he didn't know where else to go. And, he reasoned, he would rather deal with a potential threat he knew and understood and could watch rather than be in an unknown environment where anything and everything could be watching him. Later he would want her to investigate this 'thing' further, but right now the knowledge that it was there was enough to deal with at the moment.

"Hhhokay..." he finally breathed softly. "I believe you." Some serious self control was keeping him from hysterics, but not much else. "I just don't want to...I don't wanna talk to it now. I don't want to poke at it. I'm not...I'm not ready." He didn't get up from where he knelt on the floor, but instead shifted his position to something more settled and relaxed, even though he was far from relaxed himself. "I just want to feel safe for a bit. Get my feet under me. And I want to know my name. Who I am. Can you help me do that?" His expression and tone exuded hesitation, like he was only really ready for one step at a time.


----

The room was mostly dark. He didn't usually keep it that way, but he had reclined on the couch in his office to steal a couple hours of sleep and when the system's notification ping woke him, he didn't care much about turning on the lights. Jesse's gray eyes scanned through the data on the computer screen, the look on his face evolving from excitement to concern. He picked up the phone on the desk beside him and dialed, though he received no answer. Jesse thought about calling again, or getting up to go find Norman himself, when the older man swept through the door in a flustered flurry.

"I want good news, Jesse."
"Kind of..." he answered with a wince. "The good news is, I found him. The signal, I mean. He's back online which is promising. But...I mean look at the feed...I've never seen anything like this before."
"Tell me about it. What's your guess?" The man's voice was deep and stern; he commanded respect in an instant despite his smaller stature. And above all else, he demanded urgency. Norman was in no mood to be coy. He wanted answers. Now.

Jesse adjusted his black rimmed glasses and took another long look at the feed, which looked similar to a seismic graph but with multiple layers. "Some of this information is consistent with his working level. But here and here it cuts out, and then in these spots here it spikes. There doesn't seem to be a pattern to it...it's just...erratic. Norman..." Jesse turned to face the smaller man beside him, his brow creased in worry. "I'm only making a guess, here, but I'd say that's a malfunction. And if--"
"If it's a malfunction," Norman erupted, pounding his hand on the desk, "Then I want you to find him. At the very least, give me a city and I'll send Dominic out there to track him down and bring him back. But he can't do that until you find him. So get to it. Now."

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:14 am

Eleanor relaxed and with it came a flood of emotions. She put her head down and began to cry. Deep, shoulder shaking sobs.

He believed her. He wanted to know his name and he didn't want her to talk to it but he believed her.

She nodded and mumbled something incoherent. It took a few moments for her to get herself under control.

"Do you want a drink?" She managed to croak it out. "Give me a moment and then we can work on who you are." Eleanor stood slowly, still a little cautious of him. "Water or something stronger?"

She wiped at her eyes. She didn't know who he was but she was more convinced than ever that he was connected to the government. That scared her because he had the look of a soldier to him. She hadn't focused on it before but he had the demeanor down of someone who had some sort of military training. Then there was the whole not wanting to end up a lab rat herself. The desire to be free was a driving force. Never be caught and always be careful.

Eleanor realized helping him was the stupidest thing she could have done.

Very cautiously she moved to the kitchen and began rooting through the mostly empty cupboards as she waited for him to answer.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:01 pm

When Eleanor started to cry, so did he. Partly he felt guilty for causing someone grief, especially her since she'd helped him out so much thus far. Partly he was just as emotionally overwhelmed as she was and it just kind of spilled out of him. But his manifested more as held breath, quivering shoulders, and gushing tears rather than a true sob. And weirdly enough that put him more at ease, the fact that the two of them were able to cry in front of eachother. It made him feel human, and considering the information he was now trying to sift through, he really needed that.

They both recovered a bit and the nameless man finally relinquished his place on the floor, somewhat still pressed into the wall, and returned to the sofa. For a while, he stared at the gun nestled on his jacket like it was a venomous snake. But still he felt like he needed it. For what? Not for her. No, he wasn't worried about her in that way, not anymore. He was more worried about what it would be like if she touched him, if she started communicating with this...thing in his head. Would it hurt? Would she find things out that he didn't want to know, or want anyone else to know? Then again, there wasn't anything he didn't want anyone else to know, really. He didn't know much at all.

"Water. Stronger. Both," he croaked, unable to put together a full sentence at first just due to his stunned and confused state. It had been quite a long day for him, after all. He just sort of nodded and tried to settle into the couch a bit, using the cushions to remind him that, for now, he was okay. Terrified though he was, he'd found himself a powerful ally and in truth, he wondered if he would have ever known had it not been specifically her he ran into that day.

"I'm sorry. I never meant to cause you any trouble." And what he said next was, "I don't want to hurt you," but whe clearly meant was that he did not want to see her hurt, much less be the cause of it. He couldn't explain why, at least beyond the fact that she'd helped him out and he owed her one, but even though she was the one looking out for him, he felt like he needed to make sure nothing happened to her. If any petty thief was unlucky enough to break into that apartment that night, he would be in for it, he thought with an inward chuckle.

It was then that he started to really think about his subconscious desires, drives, and instincts and tried to apply them to who he was or maybe at least what he did for a living. Fight or flight reflex was extremely strong. He had an unusually keen awareness of sensory details. He carried a gun. He counted exits. Somehow he felt responsible for other people's safety. He would have to discuss this information with her at some point so they could brainstorm, but for now he just wanted to start with his name. "If you don't find my name, we should come up with something to call me. It's a little weird to not have a nickname or anything."

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Mon Nov 28, 2016 9:46 pm

A bottle and two empty glasses in hand she moved back to where he sat. She put them down before returning to the kitchen. Next trip she brought two tall glasses of water. Eleanor placed them down and opened the bottle. It was an inexpensive whiskey. She wasn't even really sure why she had it but she did and right now she was glad.

The whiskey poured she handed one to him and picked up the other for herself. Eleanor took a deep drink.

"I-ugh, I am glad you don't want to hurt me. I would prefer if you didn't. As for a name..." She tilted her head a little. "I am thinking I will start with military databases. Do you feel military?"

She was being cautious as she didn't want to set him off again. Last time had been too much for either of them to handle.

The whiskey burned a little going down but it helped. "I am going to go and try...if you are ready. If not we can just sit here for a bit and well...you know decompress."

Eleanor was nervous and afraid. Of him, of the situation and of what she might find when she started digging. She still didn't think she could have just left him there though. Part of her was glad he was here in private as they tried to figure this out.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:55 pm

He didn't really know if he liked whiskey or not, he couln't recall right away what his previous experience was with it, but he liked the idea of it and that was enough for him. He took the water first though, drained about half the glass and then picked up the smaller glass with the dark amber liquid, stuck his nose in the cup, and took a long slow sniff of the strong aroma. It was overpowering, to say the least, but he liked the smell. More than that, it tickled at something in his mind, something like a memory that was just barely under the surface. "Huh. This reminds me..." he took a small sip and swished the liquid around. Yeah, he liked whiskey. "I guess it reminds me of...someone? Like I know I associate this with a person but I can't quite place who, or see a face or anything. Mm." He let the matter fall away as he could tell his mind was not going to give him anything more than just a tantalizing wisp and just enjoyed the stiff drink. He liked the burn, the warm feeling in his chest after he drank it.

At the mention of him causing harm (or lack thereof) he gave a strange reaction that was equal parts amused like she'd told some good joke, and also deeply pained and somewhat stung. He laughed a little, but his brows pinched up in worry. "I don't want to. I really don't. I...apparently am the sort who will if I have to, but I guess that's not entirely unusual. But I don't want to. Or anyone, really. Try not to be afraid of me, and I'll try not to be afraid of you," he said, grinning a little.

Hmm...military. He scowled, thinking as hard as he could to see if that word held any meaning for him. Nothing specific came to mind, so he decided to try on a salute to see if it came naturally or felt strange. He tried one and it wasn't even a proper salute, just something that some person would do to imitate one, shielding his eyes with his hand almost. And he felt silly doing it. "No, I don't think so. Doesn't feel familiar to me anyway. Check though, check everything. I think I'm ready to try and do some digging for that at least."

He tried to think of other lists or categories he might fall under. The first one that came to mind made him cringe, but he thought he should voice it anyway, as any information would be better than nothing, even if it was bad news. "You should check like, most wanted lists or something and make sure I'm not some sicko. Or who know's how long I've been away from home, wherever that is. Maybe I'm on a missing list somewhere?" And then it dawned on him. "Wait a sec! I remember something, Gooogle can search images, right? Like you can put in a picture and find other pictures like it? Would that work with faces? I'll bet the NSA could do that."

The man blinked, realizing something as if for the first time. "You're a hacker, aren't you?" He asked, his tone curious. "Can you like...break firewalls with....you know, with...with your mind?" It seemed easier to talk about her oddities rather than to acknowledge the fact that he had an unknown thing in his head throwing out erratic signals and doing...something to him. Nope. Nope. He wasn't ready to think about that yet. Her 'thing' was bizarre and he probably should be terrified or worried or something, but he was mostly curious. Okay, and maybe a little nervous, now that he knew he had a thing in his head she could 'read'. What did that mean, anyway?

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:41 am

Eleanor watched him over the rim of her glass. He kept saying he didn't want to hurt her and while she understood he didn't want to she also had seen the way he tensed up and seemed ready to attack. It was ingrained and they didn't know why. Which is why she thought military.

She actually chuckled a little when he said he would try not to be afraid of her. The idea was absurd from a visual stand point but she understood in context.

Eleanor licked her lips as he stated that military didn't seem familiar to him. He seemed well trained and that was the first thing that came to mind.

She actually blushed as he started asking if she could break firewalls and if she was a hacker. It was the very basic of the sort of things she could do and hacking is what paid the bills. No one ever saw how she did it they just knew she was good.

"Yes. I am and I do it all because of...well whatever you want to call what I do...Google does image reversal but I was thinking bigger than just Google. Like you said...NSA and other interesting places." Eleanor smiled and downed her drink.

Standing she moved to her system. "Okay, here is how this is going to work. I am going to be engaged with the system and I will send images to that screen there." She pointed to the third screen she had set up just a little ways from her chair. "I am going to put any there that even look a little like you. Your job is to watch. You let me know when we hit a bulls eye. Could take a while."

Eleanor sat and put her hands on the keyboard. Unlike others her fingers didn't type away. She could if she wanted, to keep up appearances but this wasn't a typical job. She stared at the screen and let herself into the system.

It was like she was a part of it and she began looking for the path she wanted. Sometimes she stopped to ask for directions or to bypass security but otherwise she just kept moving. Deeper and deeper then she typically liked. Eleanor knew that certain levels meant being cautious and where she needed to go for him it meant being like oil. In and out.

She didn't talk to him but if he looked he would see the way her head moved a little or her eyes as if she was looking at someone who wasn't there. Sometimes it seemed like her mouth was moving and other times just stillness.

Soon images began to appear on the screen. She laid them out like a grid so he could see them all. One...two....soon there were six. The men resembled him in ways but none stuck out to her as definitely him. She assume the shock of white was a new thing but she did watch for it.

Eight...twelve...

Eleanor paused and looked at him. "So? If no I will wipe those and get you some more. Anything ringing a bell?"

Some of the pictures had military symbols, some white house. One had a mark from a government branch she didn't recognize and another was from England. Eleanor was touching areas she usually avoided like the plague but for this it was where she needed to go.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:43 pm

At first he wanted to ply her with more questions about her odd ability, about how it felt, what worked and didn't work, how long she'd had it and when she discovered it. But then he realized that he wouldn't want to be peppered with questions by someone he didn't really know, and also he was more interested in watching her work, now that she'd started. His observant eyes scanned over her facial expressions, the way her hands tensed or relaxed, the little subtle muscles in her jaw. He found himself interested in body language when tone or words were absent. And, he discovered, he had a decent idea of how to read it. Most of what she was showing him felt new to him in some way, like concentration but not quite, though he logged it away in his memory for later use.

The room went silent except for the soft whir of the computer system and her even breathing. The central heating kicked on, the quiet fan whispering to life and bringing with it the soft, gentle scent of disturbed dust. It was a comforting smell in a way, like it was...homey, almost. A floorboard protested very quietly from upstairs and it was faint to even his ears; he wondered if she could hear it if she were not so focused.

Images began to pop up on the monitor and the man studied them closely. The first two were very obviously not him, the next few he had to study for a moment to be sure. But no, not him. Nothing even rang a bell for him and at first he became discouraged. What was the likelihood that she would find a picture of him, even with her talents? Or anything relev--

"Wait." His voice rang out like a bell, clear and loud. "Two things. First off, that's definitely me." he pointed to a photo of a young man with an old gray-muzzled dog beside him, smiling. There was no white spot in his hair and he looked notably younger by several years at least, not to mention a little less fit. But it was him; the eyes were identical to his. The source of the image was a newspaper article from a Florida press dating back five years prior about a young man named Ace Scott Matheson, age 25 at the time, who had taken a tragic fall on a motorcycle and did not survive the incident. The picture was in the obituaries.

"And this," he said, pointing to a photo with one of the unfamiliar government seals on it. "It's not me, but that symbol. I know it. I don't know how or why, I just know it. I know I do." The photo was of a man with similar features to him but not quite, displaying what appeared to be an advanced prosthetic lower arm that he used to shake the hand of an unremarkably balding, old white man in a suit. Further investigation would reveal the photo was taken at a place called Veritech, which specialized in mechanized prosthetics for wounded soldiers, and glove-like devices that could help stabilize the hand of someone with parkinsons.

"See what you can find out about those," he said. "See if that picture of me has a name somewhere, and then figure out what that symbol is." It felt terribly familiar but he couldn't seem to place it in spite of his efforts. And though the other picture was definitely him, it didn't feel like it was. He had no recollection of a dog, of looking young like that. Not even a tiny tickle of memory to give him any clues. Nothing. It just felt like a stranger looking back at him rather than his younger self.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:06 pm

Eleanor paused and listened as he talked. Her mind was still working, her ability keeping channels open and her presence hidden as he talked. She wiped the images that were not the ones he mentioned. She focused on the one of him, a young man with a dog.

She did more searching based on that.

More things came up, mostly articles about a motorcycle accident. It said the young man fell and did not survive. Eleanor glanced briefly at him. According to this he was dead.

"Twenty five in this picture. Ace Scott Matheson. Ring any bells?" Her fingers moved finding all that she could with a link to this name. "Accident. Might explain your marks..."

She didn't bring up that he was supposed to be dead.

Eleanor pulled up a few more things that related to the name but didn't look too hard at them. She was closing the channels of typical media and looking next to social media. Facebook, Twitter and anything that she could find that had that name. She pulled those up on the screen too. She could scroll through them with him in a minute. There too she closed things off to make sure no one knew she was there.

Next was that symbol. Sure she could find the name Veritech and their basics but as soon as she tried doing a more in depth search, as soon as she began navigating the military angle of that symbol she encountered some tough security. She licked her lips and tried again.

Eleanor managed to convince the system to let her in but it was a tight window. Grabbing whatever she could she got in and out. She was breathing hard.

"Okay..." She sat back, taking her hands away from the keyboard. "So...that is some major big stuff. I am not in a good state of mind to try and take that on right now. I pulled up what I could but they are locked tight. Let's go through all of this first and I can try again once I have slept and feel a bit more on my game."

In truth the fact that it was such high security scared her. Eleanor stayed away from things that were locked down that tight. People like that were the same sort that would experiment on her if they found out she existed. It terrified her more than his gun did.

She smiled a little. "Hey, I got a name and some social media stuff and some other newspaper articles as well as a bit about this place Veritech. It is a start."

Eleanor faced him. "It says your name is Ace." She watched him closely.

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Blackfridayrule on Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:21 pm

Seconds turned to agonizing ages as he waited for her to discover more information based on the two photos he pointed out. The symbol was curious, but mostly he wanted to know who he was. Just a name, even, and he could work from that. It was lonesome and awkward to have no memory of himself, but not having a name would seriously impede his ability to move forward in life. If he just picked a name, it wouldn't have social security, or proper ID's attached to it. No, he needed his real one. Not even the ambient noises in the room came to his attention, he just focused on her and the screen, eyes darting back and forth. He was about to ask if she found anything when she finally spoke up.

Ace Scott Matheson.

He gave a very slow nod, saying the name to himself quietly. "Ace. Yeah. Yeah, you know, that feels right. And at big social functions with people I didn't know, sometimes I would give Scott as my name instead of Ace. Wonder why. Probably just a less odd name. Yeah," he nodded with more certainty. "I remember that now. That much is coming back, at least." She mentioned also he was in an accident, though she didn't say specifically what kind. But the answer came to him anyway and he knew. "Yes! Yes, a motorcycle accident. I don't remember it specifically but I remember it happened. That does explain the scars...must have been bad. Where was the crash? Where am I from? Do I have family?" And if he did, how on earth would he ever face them? He felt like even if his own mother came to him with open arms he wouldn't know what to do. He tried to recall faces but nothing came. No names, nothing.

He studied her for a moment, his eyes searching and penetrating like sharp wind in a subzero storm. He didn't say it, but his look spoke for him. There's something you're not telling me. He was an observant man and must have been trained in the arts of reading tiny minute expressions in people's body language or their voices. But he let it go, trusting that she would either tell him in time or there was a reason she was keeping it from him.

Social media was somewhat dry; he had once owned a facebook account years ago, but it apparently had been deactivated after his 'death' and had not been activated again. Nothing on dating sites, no twitter, and just generally very little social media presence. A few more pictures surfaced, none of which showed the shock of white on his hairline. One included a rather sporty looking motorcycle, matte black and with svelte curves--likely the one he crashed.

She began searching the symbol, apparently belonging to a company called Veritech, and her breathing became more labored like the work she was doing was suddenly more strenuous. That worried him a little, though he wasn't sure why. He studied the symbol again and tossed the name around in his mind until suddenly a flash of something came back to him.

Warm lighting. Champagne. Suits. Ties. People smiling and politely nodding in conversation, shaking hands, everyone stiffly polite, people with money and manners.

Social events. Right, he must have been to several functions involving rich people in some connection to Veritech--maybe he worked there? He probably gave the name Scott, he mused, though he couldn't remember.

She finished and the security of this place puzzled him. She said she had access to NSA, or things like it, didn't she? Were all of them this hard to crack into? "Yeah, Ace. That sounds right the more I say it. My name is Ace." He felt a shudder crawl down his spine; it felt so odd to finally know with any certainty what his name was. "Okay, let's comb through the stuff about me first. The Veritech thing is important, I know the name somehow and I can very very vaguely recall being at these like, swanky functions with like champagne and stuff that had to do with Veritech. Do I work for them?"

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Re: Circuitry

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby SkullsandSlippers on Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:22 pm

Eleanor watched him as he let the name roll around in his head. She watched it settle in and grow familiar. At least they had a name now.

"Do you want me to call you Ace or Scott?"

He wanted to know more but Eleanor waited for a moment. Things were new and he was just assessing it all. She didn't want to add more information to the mix.

With a soft sigh she pulled up the article about the accident. "Ace-Scott...it says you didn't survive the accident."

Her voice was soft. "You are here though so obviously you did but..."

She put the article on the screen so he could read it as she began looking through the other stuff she had found. Tomorrow she look further into Veritech but for now she would stick with what she found.

"I don't think you worked for them....I don't know though. I mean you are here and here..." She had two other photos from some sort of party on the screen. "But not sure if you are their guest or employee."

Eleanor faced him once more. "We should take a breather...want another drink?" She was worried how he would take in the information about the accident and she wanted to give him time.

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