True in Some Sense

Answers on the Long Road; Chapter 1

Saturday, July 31, 2010, around 2:00 AM and throughout the following two days

Gidget begins driving out of the Bronx when she considers that she is actually quite injured. She drives around until she sees a junction box behind a chain link fence. She parks the car and scales the fence, opening the box and realizing just as she sticks her hand into the inner workings that a man in a hooded sweatshirt is watching her and calling out to her. He stands, dumbfounded, as electricity surges across her form. Once she finishes, she closes the box and tells him that it’s late and he should probably go home. He nods, still speechless, and walks off, checking over his shoulder all the while.

She returns to her car and drives off into the night.

Deciding to drive through Terra Lake, she arrives at roughly 1:30 in the afternoon. Clouds gather in the late-July heat. She hits the library to find any further information on Johnny, the dead boy she met while in the realms of the dead. She finds his name to be John Page, and that his body was discovered in Terra Lake in the stomach of one of the N. zirpoli specimens — in fact, the species of fish was discovered when police were dredging the lake in the first place. Presently, the Page case remains unsolved — an ex-trucker known as William Puckett was sought in connection with this case, particularly after his rusted rifle was found in the woods, matching forensics on the bullet pulled out of Page. However, Puckett went missing roughly six months before the rifle was found, and has not been seen since.

Gidget then decides to wander around the neighborhoods in Terra Lake, and has an enjoyable afternoon jaunt. People are socializing and having backyard barbecues, which Gidget observes as she walks. She has not gone terribly far before she feels the tingling presence of another Promethean. She wanders, looking for the source of the sensation, and is surprised when she hears a voice quietly ask what she is doing. The voice is right behind her, and as she turns, she sees the sallow face of the strange creature that attacked her and Paul St. Claire outside of San Francisco. She asks what he wants, and he indicates in his gruff manner that he wishes to speak her. She is wary, given that he attempted to kill her last time — although he indicates emphatically that he did not try to kill her. They find a public park as the thunder starts, and though he is not terribly forthcoming with information, he asks her where she is headed — she lies and says San Diego — and then he asks if she has encountered anything strange on the road. After some prodding, they get to the topic of clones, and she indicates she saw some in San Diego. He asks her to give him a ride, and when she asks why, he indicates because he will kill her and steal her car otherwise.

She agrees to take him to San Diego.

As they walk back to her car, Gidget surreptitiously inserts her implanted thumbdrive into her tablet and sends an email to Paul St. Claire telling him of her predicament and that she has been captured by “Hoodie McMurderface.” She then begins driving for San Diego.

She makes some small talk, learning that this creature has no name, even for himself. She makes a mental note to call him “Sam Diego.”

She’s about six hours out of Terra Lake when she feels the presence of an additional Promethean. “Sam” feels it, too, and begins looking around for the intrusion. Before he notices, Gidget sees a motorcycle pull through traffic. The female Promethean Gidget met in Terra Lake, only known to her as “M—,” is apparently following Gidget. Noting that she will soon need to get gasoline, she pulls off an exit ramp leading to a truckstop. “M” follows.

At this point, Sam note the robotic woman following them, and wonders aloud at her goals. He suspects she might be there to harvest substances from them.

Gidget parks at a gas pump and steps out of the car to begin filling it. “M” parks on the other side of the pump and begins nonchalantly filling her motorcycle. Without facing Gidget, she asks if the creature in the car is the “Hoodie McMurderface” indicated in her email. Gidget affirms this. After some deliberation, M recommends she begin running. M will take care of the rest.

Gidget does so, running as fast as she can. Growling, Sam steps out of her car and begins running after Gidget. Despite her headstart, he is almost supernaturally fast, and nearly catches up to her as the shot rings out. Sam snarls and turns on M, finding her with a pistol held at him. He starts to run at her, and she fires a second shot that definitely hits him but does not appear to slow him down. Claws extended, he is upon her, tearing into her arm with his talons. In one swift motion, she drops the gun and grabs him, spinning around behind him. Unable to get free, she pulls him to the ground and locks his arms and legs, holding him in a sleeper hold. After a few seconds, he relaxes. She maintains the grab until she is certain he is unconscious, and then lets go, picking up her gun. As Gidget walks back to M and the car, M thinks, then informs Gidget that there are likely cameras on them. She aims the pistol at Gidget and informs her that she is now carjacking her, and will have to leave the bike to sell the deception. Gidget agrees to this, and acts sufficiently shaken. M grabs the bags off her motorcycle before Gidget and M climb into Gidget’s car and take to the road again.

Once on the road proper, introductions are made. “M” reveals herself as Maye Burroughs, and explains that she found Gidget’s Craigslist message and started monitoring her communications in the hope that she could catch up to her somewhere out west. When she noted that Gidget was in trouble, however, she used her email, coupled with GPS data from her phone and the information from her license plates, to track her down. Gidget thanks her for her assistance.

The two speak. As Maye has never met another of their kind before, Gidget explains a little about Prometheans, as she understands herself to be. She then proceeds to engage in the ritual of the Ramble, telling Maye Burroughs all about her past. Maye, in return, notes that she was apparently some form of experimental drone robot for a Project: REGINA before the project changed directions and made her. Her creator, a Dr. Steiner, indicated he was inspired to make her in a dream, and patterned her appearance after the woman who granted him the vision. She also indicates that Steiner’s associate, Dr. Kimura, had access to some copy of Dr. Frye’s notes. Apart from that, she has engaged in various clandestine military operations — typically alone, given how people react to prolonged contact with her — and has otherwise been moved from facility to facility to prevent electronic disruption of her surroundings. When Steiner died in a car accident in 2009, the loss of REGINA’s main scientist, coupled with the economic downturn, led to the termination of the project. She’s mostly been wandering on her own since then, although she is apparently being followed by some government men, likely people connected to some agency who know the Project: REGINA. She suspects the scrutiny will slacken within the decade once her background is considered mere conspiracy theory and paranoid rumor.

Given Gidget’s tale, Maye Burroughs notes that she seems to have a few options. Dr. Kimura or Dr. Gutermuth might have additional information regarding Dr. Frye or Gidget’s origins. More promising, since Dr. Morgan made reference to selling Dr. Frye’s old notes, it is likely that she can note to whom she sold them, possibly shedding light on the robotic fellow Gidget met in New York City. Finally, the fact that multiple people have noted Dr. Frye’s disappearance, rather than his death, that seems like an extremely valid avenue of research.

During discussion, Gidget remembers that she ought to contact Paul St. Claire to tell him that she is all right. She calls him and learns that he has been driving for the better part of the last several hours, hoping to head her off and rescue her from Hoodie McMurderface. Although somewhat annoyed at driving for no reason, he is relieved that she is well, and endeavors to speak to her later.

Gidget and Maye continue down the I-40 across the country, heading toward Los Angeles.



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