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2034-02-25 1710LT Containment is Attempted

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Event: 2034-02-25 1710LT Containment is Attempted

The Time Before

Characters Locations
Kevin, Rebecca, Syd Umbra
Aspects
Caused By Cause Of
Simultaneous Events
On This Day

“I don’t get it,” Syd said. The lace-enforced calm left his voice flat. “What’s the problem with Kevin Cahn knowing Rebecca Blackburn?”

Kevin noted Syd’s unnatural stillness, and his alert but emotionless expression. It was creepy. He considered how much to tell them about his history. His profile of Rebecca was 25 years out of date, and Syd did not inspire confidence. Do I have a choice? He sighed. “Look, Syd, one way or another my past is about to rain fire down on your head if my connection to Rebecca is uncovered. Does it matter?”

“It does if you want to deal with the problem,” Syd said. “Erasing an event from Mycroft… You don’t know what you’re asking. It’s…” He shrugged, shaking his head. “It’s not possible.”

“Impossible? Or just really difficult?” Rebecca asked.

Syd stared at her, eyebrows ever so slightly raised.

“Impossible. Fine.”

“,בן זונה”[1] Kevin muttered. “Fine it is. I was born Kevin Cahn. When I lost my arms on a mission I let the world think I was dead. For the last 25 years I worked for Lockheed Martin as Jackson McCallum. The last four years I was XVP of logistics and transportation services for the weapons division. I know what’s coming down the pipe when the MNCs open up on each other.”

“You think the connection to Rebecca around 2009 will be enough to break your cover ID,” Syd said. “That was practically before the internet, man!”

Kevin suppressed a flash of irritation. He’d had enough hotshot kids on staff to be able to deal with them. “It’s going to happen son, and soon. The resources behind the corporate warfare… Lockheed Martin’s secret war budget this year is twenty. Billion. Dollars.”

Rebecca’s façade cracked again. “That’s insane,” she said quietly.

Not distracted by the big number, Syd said, “The problem isn’t erasing your meeting. It’s making sure you’re not here when the attack comes.” He looked a little smug. His body flickered, and a second Kevin was sitting in his place. “That I can do,” Syd said, in Kevin’s voice.

The holographic projector was among Syd’s favourite toys. It was an amazing, one of a kind specialty implementation of the same designer-matter technology as the privacy shields. When the imitation image was activated, Syd was completely encased in a thick cloud of nanomachines. The motes formed a physical shell around him, strong enough to support casual interactions with people and things. The motes tuned their optical properties to very accurately simulate human flesh and clothing. That left him completely blind and deaf and physically isolated inside the cloud, but that didn’t matter: the motes were active sensors that tied into his lace and internal AR interfaces. When his mote-flesh touched something, the sensations were routed directly into his nervous system. In a very real sense, he was wearing a Kevin-shaped exoskeleton.

Kevin sat slack-jawed, looking at himself.

Rebecca jerked in surprise, then leaned forward to touch the new ‘Kevin’. “This is amazing,” she said softly. “Your skin is warm. The cloth moves like, well, like cloth…” She studied his face carefully. “You even have the same tiny twitch under your left eye when you frown.”

“The projector takes care of the details,” Syd said. He enjoyed hearing the gruff, deep voice coming out of his ‘body’. “I’ll pass any ID scan short of DNA testing or an X-ray.” His integrated AI noted that Kevin had finally regained control of his face, so Syd said, “Here’s the plan…”


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  1. "Benzona" from בֶּן־‎ (ben-, “(the) son of”) + זוֹנָה‎ (zoná, “prostitute, whore, slut”).