True in Some Sense

Bright Light City; Chapter 1

Sunday, July 4, 2010, throughout the day (and the following day)

In the morning, Gidget and Paul get ready to leave. Before leaving, Gidget sends two emails — one to Gillian Palmer and one to Dr. Ebenezer Zirpoli — and then gets a cheap, pay-as-you-go cell phone before leaving San Francisco proper. In separate cars, she and Paul hit the road.

The drive is long, and there are a couple of stops as Paul still needs to eat regularly. Around lunchtime, he asks Gidget if she would be opposed to meeting another friend of his — another Promethean, in fact — and she says she would not be opposed. He indicates that he has no real way of contacting her, and that she might not be home, but Gidget still agrees. Then, back to the open road.

As evening approaches in the desert, a few fireworks from isolated communities and homes are visible. Finally, Paul calls Gidget and informs her that he is going to be moving down a side road. After making the way to a dirt road, Gidget and Paul find themselves at a run-down little trailer. The windows are illuminated, indicating that someone is within.

As Paul and Gidget approach, Gidget feels the fire in her stomach respond to the presence of two others in the trailer. She comments on this, but Paul says it’s probably all right. When he knocks on the door, the door cracks open and only half a face with glasses is visible. Upon seeing Paul, the chain comes off the door and it opens all the way. He and Gidget make their way inside.

They are greeted by a small, sparsely furnished trailer. The woman who answered the door is a young, thin woman with mousey brown hair and glasses. Gidget can also see her true self — that of a withered, desiccated corpse with a missing left little finger. The second woman in the room is another young woman, pale with black hair and stormy grey eyes. Truly, she appears pale and leathery, with great rents in her skin leaking black mist, and her completely black eyes displaying dim and distant stars. Paul introduces Gidget to Jenny Handspun and Lilith, and indicates that Gidget is new to their society. They ask Gidget a few questions, mostly about her being a robot, and then proceed to explain a few things. Lilith explains the ritual of the Measure, whereby two Prometheans can acknowledge each other and get a first impression of whether they will like each other — though as with all first impressions, this can be wrong. Next, she describes the Ramble, whereby Prometheans share their stories with each other. She starts, explaining that she comes from Terra Lake, Indiana where she lived with her creator, This Way Comes. When he mysteriously disappeared, she waited for him for a time before finally meeting a group of people, along with Paul, who tried to stop the weird, bad things of the world. After meeting Paul, the two went west, going to Las Vegas and then making their way to San Francisco. In San Francisco, she sensed the presence of This Way Comes on a truck headed east. She and Paul followed and contacted the humans from Terra Lake for help. They came upon the truck and broke into it, freeing This Way Comes and another Promethean, unknown to them. The second Promethean tried to attack, and when clones appeared — the company that captured This Way Comes was apparently using Prometheans to help make human clones — he ran away and they gave chase. Lilith, Paul, and her friends escaped in the confusion. After getting situated, Lilith and This Way Comes went to Chicago to look for a friend of This Way Comes to see if he could help with an amputated arm — taken, apparently, as part of the cloning experiments. Lilith, meanwhile, separated from him to look for the second Promethean, particularly since she suspected that he was the killer known as the South Side Slasher at the time. When the killings stopped, she wandered aimlessly until coming west when she heard that Paul was out that way and had encountered the South Side Slasher.

Jenny indicates that her Ramble is a lot less interesting; she never knew her creator, and instead spent much of her time wandering around Las Vegas. She currently switches locations every month or so to avoid creating a Wasteland. However, when she met Lilith and Paul, she did find herself in a poker game against another Jenny Handspun, who challenged her to the right to exist. Jenny, obviously, won.

Paul explains that he is from Arlington, Virginia, and that Lilith hit most of the interesting points. He has mostly been traveling, though he will probably shortly travel home to be with his family, at least for a time. Particularly since his father has been after him to come work for Lockheed Martin.

Gidget then proceeds to explain her story, mentioning her creation, her life in Portland, and her current trip.

Afterward, Lilith explains a few things about Prometheans — primarily how they organize themselves into Lineages based upon the attributes of the founder. After a little more chatter, the group decides to part company for the night.

Finding a hotel, Gidget checks her email to find responses from both Gillian Palmer and Dr. Zirpoli. Dr. Zirpoli merely writes back indicating that he is glad to answer any questions she has, and that he will be in Chicago shortly, if she happens to be out there. Gillian writes back indicating that she remembers the piece, and that Gidget should give her a call — Gidget does find her abrasive writing to be relatively off-putting.

After Lilith calls Paul to ask if they want to hang out tomorrow, Gidget and Paul spend a little bit of time at the Bellagio so that Paul can explain something about gambling. Paul only manages to break even, and Gidget doesn’t really make anything on the nickel slots. Then, the two go to bed for the night.

The next morning, the two awaken and Gidget calls Gillian around 11 AM. The two decide to meet at the hotel bar at Bally’s Las Vegas at about noon. Gidget and Paul get ready to go; Gidget asks Paul to stay in the area to keep watch over things.

Gidget arrives just before noon and orders some bar food. About ten minutes later, a woman of mixed descent looks around before settling on Gidget and sitting next to her. After they introduce themselves, Gidget explains her question and Gillian explains in her curt manner, after ordering a gin and juice, that it was just a crappy piece that she did for a local newsletter, and that she didn’t even really do a lot of research. The people at Montevista Hospital seemed to give up on Juanita Doe, though, and would probably just let Gidget see her, though she could pose as a journalist if it matters. Afterward, Gillian asks Gidget what she might happen to know about a photograph in her possession, and proceeds to slide a folded piece of paper over to Gidget. Unfolding it, she finds a picture of herself and Dr. Frye onstage, presumably at some conference. Gidget plays it off, but Gillian indicates that it seems unlikely that someone has not aged at all in roughly twenty years. When Gidget indicates that she doesn’t want to discuss it further, Gillian acknowledges this fact and leaves.

Paul approaches Gidget to ask about what happened, and despite being shaken, Gidget is appreciative of what little information she obtained. Then, the two decide to visit with Lilith, and after deciding on Jenny Handspun’s trailer, they make their way over there.

Once arriving, Gidget explains what just happened, and Jenny and Lilith indicate they don’t really have any advice. Gidget could ignore the woman, or try to talk to her; she’ll really have to determine what is best. Gidget decides to wait and see what happens about it. In addition, Lilith explains a little more about the different paths to humanity that Prometheans may take, called Refinements.

After chatting for a bit, Gidget and Paul are ready to take their leave, and Lilith asks if she may accompany them. Everyone agrees, and bids Jenny farewell before heading back into Las Vegas.



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