2009-11-16: Sci-Fi Surprise



Date: November 16th, 2009


Tracy gets a… special delivery. Key word: special.

"Sci-Fi Surprise"

Tracy's Apartment

Washington, D.C.

The apartment Tracy has called home for quite some time is feeling less welcoming than it should. Might have something to do with the fact that it's not Ivory's. Nevertheless, here she is — the Senator has things to do that don't always involve her, and she has to be home some time. In theory. It's dusk, and her well-decorated apartment is dim, lit only by a lamp in the living room.

…But it's the kitchen Tracy is busying herself in, at the counter by the sink where she's fighting with an electric tea kettle. She's still dressed from her day working, in a pair of fitted (okay— tight) grey dress pants and a white blouse,; it's sleeveless because of the cast and blue sling that her right arm is in. After carefully pouring steaming water into a her cup, she happens to nudge it with the kettle — and it topples. Her reflexes are limited to one hand — one left hand — and they fail. "Ah— !" The cup falls into the sink, at least, but leaves Tracy pretty frustrated at the end of a long day. Still, better than being a prisoner.

"Geeze, why the heck would someone want to send a woman a box full of bowling balls in a metal crate?"

"Dude, I've been delivering in DC for years now and you wouldn't believe the crazy shit I've delivered. Like this one time, this Senator got this male aide of his some… One UPS man whispers to another as they come up the elevator.

"He shoulda been arrested for that one."

"Totally. I'm just surprised that weasels didn't eat all the sausage."

The two men come up to the proper floor, both of them using dolly to get the five by five foot box out of the freight elevator and toward Tracy's place. The weather is warm enough they still wear those brown shorts the ladies go ga-ga about, but that has little to do with Tracy. Unless she goes on thinking about what IVORY would look like in the UPS uniform. Once the young men get there, they give some knocks on the door.

Gene speaks to himself, as he does often when on grandiose missions. "With Tracy captured, I can use this chance to break into her apartment. Perhaps there is some information I can get if the government agents didn't get there first. If I can get some passwords or some info, maybe I can shed new light on this conspiracy. Once I do that, I can save USA and get recognized. By absolutely no-one. Man, now I know how Spiderman feels."

Frayed to the point of a desperate sort of annoyance, Tracy hastily swipes at what did spill on the counter, dripping over the edge to the floor, with a white kitchen towel. As soon as there's a knock on the door, she's distracted, and he her thumb touches a puddle of the scalding water. She cringes and, on instinct — and on the memory of all things that hot leading to pain and agony — the thin pool of water turns into a slick sheet of ice. Oops.

Abandoning that little disaster, Tracy heads for the door, but her hand is still chilled, ready to freeze whatever it touches. "C— comiiiing…" she calls out. She eyes her hand. A problem, since she needs it to open the door. With focus, a deep breath or two, and some waiting around for the delivery men, she wills herself back to normal, and opens the door. "Uh…" A stare, a flash of smile. "…Hi. I didn't order anything. You must have the wrong apartment."

The two UPS men look to one another before one looks toward the delivery data pad. "Are you sure… It is from Senator Wynn," one of the two men reply. "If you don't want it, we can just take it back and sent it…."

Meanwhile, Gene blinks as he hears something from outside the box. He knows that female voice. "She's home or Niki has taken her position like a body snatcher! Considering the second is possible by highly unlikely, I must go with the first option. Fruity Mctootie, I thought she was having a tube up her nose on a train somewhere! Quick, Gene, figure out a plan before she opens the box!" In a guff voice, Gene replies to himself. "I AM NOT GENE NOW. I AM PROMETHEUS." "Whatever alterego I am, I need to do something!" He quickly brings up the Internet. Come on, YouTube, don't fail him now….

"Um…" Tracy gives the rather large delivery box a skeptical eyeing, but if it's from the Senator— well, it has to be important. Maybe it's a gift! Still, she can't imagine what it would be. "Okay…" She steps back to draw the door further open so the box can be wheeled in. Hopefully. She doesn't want to struggle with it. There's a pause as she … listens, an increasingly confused look on her face. "Do you hear…" Pause. "I just thought— never mind. Do you need me to sign?"

"I di-" The first UPS guy elbows the second to stop him. "When senators gives gifts to aides, we don't ask questions remember?"

"But Wynn doesn't seem the sort to just give women some sausage or a weasel."

The first man looks to Tracy with a shake of his head. "Please pardon my partner, he's new and suffer from a near terminal case of stupid. It's the grace of God that allows him to handle simple machinery," he states as he offers the pad to sign. "We can wheel it in whereever you like, if it would help. It's heavy as they come."

Gene, realizing that the microphone was still on, turns it back down to off as he continues to figure out the best option. It isn't much hope, but it's better than nothing.

Tracy just kind of stares at the delivery men with a half-amused, half-impatient expression. She's not going to ask questions, either. To them. About weasels. Without knowing what it's in the box, she has no idea where it should go, and so she waves lightly with the one hand she has use of. "Just inside is fine," she says vaguely. "Thank you."

The two men nod, just dropping off the package between the couch and the fireplace. After the two leave and likely as Tracy comes toward the package, that's when things get even stranger.

Two hands lift from the box, tearing through the thin metal to pry apart the box. Rising from the metal crate is a man dressed in a black trench coat, some black sweatpants, and a scarf around his face. He has some sort of backbag on, which has a large antenna on it. The top of his face looks like it's a famous man, but his skin seems a little paler, his eyes rather fake and depending on how much Tracy gets around, she may know that this man is a little more gifted down below than the man he claims to be. As he turns toward Tracy, he ignores the packing peanuts that liter his form as he gives the speech that will make everything okay.

" Hello, it's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I'm wondering if you hear what I hear. Listen…" There is a short pause with the odd 'man' putting a hand to his ear. He goes regardless if Tracy speaks or not. "It's the roar of millions of soccer fans all across the United States calling for the FIFA World Cup. They are all rooting for it to come to America, and right here in California. I'm here to add my voice to the chorus…" And from there, the odd governor continues to give his speech on how the World Cup needs to be held in his state.

Meanwhile, from his computer screen in New York, Gene fights the urge to cry into his hands. "I'm so funked."

Once alone (so she thinks), Tracy puts her left hand on her hip and stands in front of the box, trying to figure out the best way to tackle it one-handedly. A large knife is definitely factoring into her plans until the creation climbs out — eliciting a small shriek up indignant surprise from the woman, who quickly steps back and holds her hand out threatening to—

"Wha…" There just aren't any words to express just how mystified Tracy is at this particular moment in time. It's hard not to recognize the half-face when it comes with that voice, but that doesn't mean any of this makes the least bit of sense. "Is this some kind of joke?" Did Ivory prank her with a Governor in a box? Maybe she's been drugged. That's more believable. Why is he talking about soccer!

Thankfully, Gene has had enough time to pull up some soundboards, putting together some key sentences to hopefully get his point across. Of course, there are some clues to suggest that this is not an actual person. His mouth doesn't really move with his words, as if the jaw was going up and down on a preset schedule rather than due to human speech. The words are mashed together, clearly sounding like how they are placed… Cut and paste. Only short pauses suggest different sentences. Some words sound like another voice entirely, sometimes even female. They are made softer, perhaps a poor attempt to cover it up who the actual speaker is.


Tracy's mouth falls open more than it already is and her brow just finds all manner of worry lines to settle into as she gives the thing a forlornly WHY ME look. "…a-are…" Sh dares to close her eyes for a second to get a grip on the situation, taking a sharp breath. "I can't believe I'm about to say this," she prefaces. "Are you… a… robot?" She smirks despite herself, but truly, the man who looks like the Governor of California but might actually be a Terminator (same diff) is putting her rather on edge. "Oh my God," she breathes in further incredulity and backs up further. WHAT THE HELL SERIOUSLY.

There comes the choice. Through the eyes of his creation, Gene can see the door. In Tracy's fear, he could likely make a get out. Maybe she'll call the police, it's unlikely since it would draw unwanted attention to her. It's safe. But is it… right?

Tapping his head against the wall in New York, Gene sighs as he speaks to himself, having the mircophone on mute. "If this gets me shot, I'll have no to blame but myself."

The voice becomes something far more familiar to Tracy as it turns toward her. "You freeze a man's door and you creep out about about seeing a terminator… You're a lucky women that I only use my smarts for good, Miss Strauss. I thought you were still captured… Did they let you off for good behavior?"

It takes her a second, even logically deciphering the voice and what it says, because the image and voice are so incongruous. but just a second. "…Gene?" she all but hisses. "What the hell is going on," she says through a laugh that … is not very full of humour, in actuality. Try the opposite. "How did you know about— " Tracy holds her hand up and turns around, pacing — now rather restless — away from the … robot? "I can't look at— this is ridiculous. Listen, I'll talk to you, but can't I just call you on the phone?"

"Yes, because wanting to talk to you about Alpha Protocol is the perfect thing to do over conventional phone lines. I had come to find information to help free you, but I see that it is no longer needed," Gene says, the jaw remaining lowered. Considering there is no pretenses of what Arnie is, the killbot awkward removes the scarf, showing that there seems to be a speaker in the mouth, providing the needed sound. "As for how I know things… You didn't care how I knew about the doctor, but now you care how I know about this? Figures."

Tracy looks over her shoulder (rather hesitantly; this sort of thing may be normal to Gene, but it's in a whole other ballpark for Tracy). "…And you can talk through a robot but you can't secure a phone line?" she says with a bit of bite. "Or, I don't know— a computer?"

"Look, didn't intend for this to happen. It just did and I have no regrets. Now, you have two choices. You can come up to New York and we can talk in person, or we can discuss things here and now. As I said, Tracy. I am through with playing on your terms considering all you did was use me. Now if you want to keep playing, we play on mine. Of course, I can just cut off contact and let you be on your own… But last I checked, you really are running low on people that you can count on." The robot finally makes his way out of the box, tennis shoes doing little to hide Arnie's weight.

"I have enough." Herself. Ivory. That's enough, right? Tracy's tenuous logic isn't spoken with heaps of conviction, but it is decisive. She keeps her distance from Gene's preferred method of communication. "I didn't mean… to use you, everything just got really complicated after I met Dr. Zimmerman. It's nice of you to want to help me, but I'm…" She flashes a tight, dismissive smile. "I'm fine. I'm— safe."

"No, no you're not. But sadly, with what has likely happened to you, you wouldn't believe me even if I explained it to you." While Gene wants to yell about how if she had just listened to him, her troubles would be less, but Gene's learned there is more to life than 'I told you so'. He gives a sigh before asking a simple question about an difficult subject. "Complicated? How so?"

Either having some semblance of trust in Gene or underestimating the capabilities of his creation, Tracy drops onto the sofa to sit down, wincing faintly when she does so too jarringly. Stupid arm. Exasperated, but mostly tired, she turns her head — laying partly on the back of the sofa — away from the speaker-mouthed robot thing. She can look out the window and pretend she's talking to Gene as a normal human being that way. "I guess you don't know everything," she retorts. She brings her hand up, palm against her head, reluctantly resigned. Her voice becomes softer. "I should have listened to you. All that time ago."

Perhaps in an attempt to look less intimidating, the killbot lowers itself to its knees. It will stay motionless for as long as Gene wills, a perk of machines is that they don't have muscles to get sore. "It is hard to understand the world of Evolved at first. I was privileged enough to have friends to have gently guided me into it… I know it was something you wanted to deny. Something you were… or are ashamed of."

"I was," Tracy admits. There's a definite but lingering in the air. It's never quantified, however, as the woman just looks through her living room toward the window. Though her face shows signs of being troubled, it's turned away and whatever visual device Gene has installed in the killbot might not see it. "And I'm not— evolved," she clarifies with a bit of bitterness. "That doctor. Dr. Zimmerman. He made me this way."

"Artificial or not, you still have powers. If a person is allowed to live because they have a pacemaker, does that mean they are not really alive?" Gene's tone is softer too, Arnie's stillness making it seem more like a phone call rather than use of a robotic avatar or the like. "You're at peace with your ability now? Everytime we've brought it up in the past, you've always been so concerned about getting rid of it… I would have thought this Alpha Protocol would have made that worse. What changed that?"

"Are you my therapist now?" Tracy asks incredulously, though the laugh in her voice this time isn't entirely cynical. Her therapist is a geek who talks through a robot. Great. She leans her head back to look at the ceiling. "A lot can change in a couple of months," she says after a moment's thought. "But peace… isn't the word I'd use. Hey— " she pushes against the couch cushion with her free hand to sit up straighter. "My apartment is probably under surveillance. You should get that thing outta here."

"I'm just trying to help. I don't pretend I'm the best at it, but being a hero isn't exactly something you can learn in school." Gene admits with a chuckle… Of course, it is merely audio, the face never moving. Of course, the tone sombers slightly at the talk of the government.

"Yeah, there's a good chance it is. It's alright, if this thing gets stopped, I have stuff in place to protect the technology." While Tracy is likely imagining lasers and stuff, Gene's defensive tools are far less grand… In actuality, unless he felt he could get away, the young man would likely just fry his own work, more concerned about reverse engineering than anything else.

The 'killbot' rises slowly. "We still need to talk. If you refuse to come to New York, then I will find a way to contact you here… Without robots. Can you get the door for me, it's hard enough pressing buttons with this thing…" Walking toward the door, Gene has a final request, making it causal as if it isn't a big deal.

"Oh, could you look into the past of a few of the people on the Alpha Protocol? See if there are any odd patterns with people and how they are treated? I believe there is someone within the organization able to affect how people feel and think, but I am still gathering information." While Bert's commentary suggests the source, Gene needs more information and considering how Bert was about Ivory, claiming him anything but the greatest man on Earth would likely endanger what little progress he made with Tracy.

Tracy rises and moves to the door, jogging a bit to get there. She doesn't open it right away; instead, she looks back to Gene-by-proxy. The critical and slightly wary, unsure gaze is meant for him. The strange request seems to jar something in Tracy. Recognition, suspicion. "…I'll look into it… but… I think you're misunderstanding what's going on here, Gene. Whatever you're doing, I can't… help you."

"Look at it like this… If there is someone altering the minds of people within the program, I'm helping protect YOU and the people there. You're just sharing information with the man that gives YOU information, ensuring that we have a nice relationship of sharing information," Gene replies. "If you don't want to talk to me about it, that's fine… But we still need to talk. But I'll give you some time to think and consider. Take care, Tracy." And with that… 'Arnie' moves through the door.

Giving no answer but an understanding (if reluctant) stare, Tracy is glad to shut the door and lock it. Left with an empty apartment and a giant box full of packing material that is going to be a pain to clean up (thanks Gene), she heads back to the kitchen. Oh, right— and a frozen counter. She's feeling like something stronger than tea after this evening.

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