True in Some Sense

Bright Light City; Chapter 3

Monday, July 5, 2010, about 7:00 PM (and throughout the following two days)

After Gidget and Paul return to the hotel, Gidget decides to check her email. She receives a message from Billy Taylor, indicating that things are going well, that Ashley will probably stay with him another week (and that she was upset about some boy trouble), and asking how things are with Gidget, and how was Eddie Chang doing?

Gidget responded by saying that things were going well, though nobody was in Eddie’s shop when she went.

Gidget also receives an email from Dr. Zirpoli, indicating that he will be in Las Vegas from Tuesday to Thursday, if she wishes to meet him in person. Gidget responds saying that she would like to do so, and to let her know when he is available.

Gidget then does a little research about Wolframbed, WY. She doesn’t learn a whole lot about the town, though she does learn that there have been a few anomalous events in the surrounding area over the past year — namely two suicides, including a murder suicide, involving people who were just passing through. She also learns that the town itself was founded in the late seventies as a tungsten mining town, but has been in decline since the price of tungsten fell. Despite losing people each year and losing money, the town still survives and anecdotal evidence suggests it may even be thriving recently.

After informing Paul of her findings, the two wonder what to do before finally deciding to catch a Penn & Teller show. Upon their return, Gidget checks her email one last time to learn that Dr. Zirpoli should be available between 4:00 and 7:00 PM on Tuesday, or after 10:00 PM, and that he can meet her in the lobby of his hotel, the MGM Grande. Alternately, she can just call him; he gives her his number. She decides to make her way over in the 4:30 or 5:00 range and lets him know. Then, she and Paul go to sleep for the evening.

The next day, Gidget and Paul spend their time preparing for the upcoming trip to Wolframbed — particularly when it is decided that Paul will accompany Gidget — as well as preparing for Gidget’s meeting with Dr. Zirpoli. In the early afternoon, Gidget receives a phone call from Gillian Palmer, indicating that she has some information, and would she be willing to meet her at the same location as soon as she is ready? Gidget agrees, and after conferring with Paul, they get ready and go to Bally’s Las Vegas.

Gidget and Paul arrive to find Gillian already at the bar. After Gidget asks what this is about, Gillian begins by explaining that she paid somebody to hack into Gidget’s email. When Gidget begins to protest, she cuts her off, explaining that it allowed her to learn a few things; namely, that Gidget doesn’t really know anything about herself. The email to Dr. Zirpoli — who, incidentally, works for the government — indicates this much. Gillian explains that she found obituaries for Dr. Frye, but no actual death certificate; in fact, he is listed as missing in some places. She also explains that she researched Juanita Doe, and found her to be rather long-lived. She and Gidget agree to stay in contact, particularly since Gillian would be interested in her story and because she may have further questions or find more information. She also tells Gidget about her primary employer, Patmos Publishing. When Gidget asks why Gillian would have bothered to look up some college student, Gillian explains that recognition of the name prompted her to look up Gidget Frye, though she didn’t expect she would actually meet the Gidget Frye. Before she leaves, she tells Gidget to look for a decommissioned government project known as Project: Regina. She doesn’t know more than that. Gillian then leaves.

After she goes, Gidget spends the next hour or so looking for more information regarding herself and Dr. Frye, though she doesn’t exactly find what she is looking for. After 4:00, she arranges herself to go visit Dr. Zirpoli, and she and Paul part company for the afternoon.

Gidget calls ahead and makes her way to the MGM Grande. Arriving a little after 4:30, she finds an older, grandfatherly gentleman waiting in the lobby, reading the paper. He puts the paper down and stands to greet her, indicating that she must be Gidget. After he says that it is good to see her again, she inquires, and he explains that he has never met her in person, though he did see photographs and helped design her nervous system. At this, she brightens, relieved that he knows about her. She asks a few questions about her design, and he indicates that he knows little, mostly having read about her in journals of the time — otherwise, his correspondence with Dr. Frye mostly involved her electrical systems only. After some more discussion, in which he indicates that he once met Dr. Robert Frye but never met Dr. Elisabeth Frye, they decide to go to his room so that he may examine Gidget more thoroughly, particularly as she has never been given any sort of examination.

Dr. Zirpoli apologizes for the fact that he lacks appropriate tools, but says he will do the best he can with what he has. He asks her to undress, and then examines her breathing, heart rate, and the like. He determines that she seems more or less normal, though there are some anomalies (like a strange, fluttering heartbeat) that would indicate something wrong. After discussion turns to her supposed affinity for electricity, he asks if he may test this. After cutting her arm with a scalpel, he then indicates as she is an extranormal being, he could be considered such as well. As if to demonstrate, electricty arcs from the electrical outlet and into her, though as it does, the cut closes. She indicates that she felt no muscle seizure, though he indicates that she briefly appeared entirely robotic when that happened. When she expresses interest in an X-ray, he similarly does something uncanny when he examines her for a moment and then produces an X-ray photograph from his suitcase. She appears to be more or less human, albeit with some anomalies that would probably frighten a doctor or just generically seem strange. He tells her that she should probably avoid doctors whenever possible. After having her dress, they discuss a few more things. He makes it obvious that he has a huge admiration for Dr. Frye’s work, and he is sad that things went awry. He says that any coverup is likely goverment-related, though he doesn’t know for certain. He does indicate that he will try to use his government contacts to learn more — he indicates that he is a government contractor, and that he is in Las Vegas for this reason, though he is not at liberty to say more. He also talks a little about living in New York City, and mentions his wife Dalia. He also indicates that he knows Paul St. Claire, having encountered him in Terra Lake while researching a radiation spike and a strange species of fish — indeed, after Las Vegas and Chicago, he will likely go back there to see how research is doing. He asks if he may discuss Gidget with his wife, and Gidget allows that. He also indicates that, like him, Dalia is strange — possibly another stage of human potential, typically known by names as “wizard” or “magus” though, again, he is not at liberty to say much about them.

Before his meeting, he says that he will go get dinner, and he asks if Gidget would care to accompany. They do, and have a pleasant dinner and conversation before Dr. Zirpoli calls her a taxicab and they part company for the evening.

Gidget calls Paul, and getting his voicemail, leaves a message. Upon returning to the hotel, she knocks on the door and enters the room to find no one there. With nothing else to do, she calls Lilith, and they decide to hang out.

Gidget drives over to Jenny’s trailer, and the group talks for a bit before Gidget and Lilith decide to go back into town. Jenny decides to stay home, and will probably stargaze a little later. Gidget and Lilith discuss what to do for a little while before finally deciding on wandering around town looking for other Prometheans by sensing their Divine Fire. They have no luck, though Paul does call back. Once he learns that everything is okay, he leaves them on their way, but indicates that he should return later.

Eventually, Gidget and Lilith make their way back to the hotel room, joined shortly by Paul. The three chat and hang out before going to bed.

The next morning, Gidget awakens early and decides to research some more things. She looks for her patent, but finds that she cannot find it. She can find some of the lesser components of her system, but only things that are used in other applications — anything invented by Dr. Frye solely to create a humanoid robot is gone. Gidget starts by calling her “brother” Daniel. She is greeted by an uncharacteristically chipper Jennifer, his fiancée, who asks about Gidget’s trip before giving the phone to Daniel. She asks about her findings, and he indicates that he never renewed the patent, and indeed, never really maintained any of that stuff. He apologizes that he doesn’t know more information, and the phone conversation ends awkwardly, as most of their conversations do.

Next, she calls Dr. Zirpoli, who says he will make his way over. He does so, and introductions are made. When Gidget asks about the patent, he explains it is his understanding that a patent should stay in a given database even if it was not renewed. Given everything Gidget has explained, it seems likely that the patent was taken out of circulation, likely to keep the information out of someone else’s hands. For somebody to do that, it was likely a government operation. She asks if he might be able to learn anything, and he indicates that he only has limited access and limited information, but if he manages to find anything, he will let her know. He then takes his leave.

Gidget and Paul then get ready to leave Las Vegas. After packing, they take Lilith back to Jenny’s trailer, everyone exchanges farewells and promises to maintain contact. Then, in separate cars, Gidget and Paul start driving to Wolframbed, WY.

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