2020-07-15 Recovering Friends, Solidifying Memories


JonothonF_icon.jpg MikeF_icon.jpg

Summary: Mike and Jono meet in the tunnels, and catch up a bit, with Mike learning more about concealment.

Date: July 15, 2020

Log Title: Recovering Friends, Solidifying Memories

Rating: G

The Future - The Underground - Mutant Base

Hidden in the maze of tunnels is the open area that the mutants have turned into their have, their home. Not wanting to risk electricity being detected down here, there are battery powered and gas powered lights leaving the place dark and damp. At least three mutants are always on guard down here at the entrance to the mutant camp and secret passwords and codes are needed to get into this room. Theres a large door with a large piece of wood barricading it as those down here dont take any chances.

He's been asleep for… okay, so Jonothon has no idea how long he's been asleep. After wearing himself out helping remove the Hunter camp, he returned to the tunnels and promptly passed out. As in crawling into a corner with a blanket and sleeping. Now that he's awake, the Brit none the less looks like he's been sleeping for most the day. Bedhead and badly rumpled, yet he's moving. Pulls on a worn shirt, black of course, and slowly buttons it up the front. Lost his other shirt just yesterday after getting an arm and shoulder blown off. Fingers run through hair complete his morning routine, but Jono decides not to go anywhere just yet. Tiiired.

It's morning … somewhere in the world. Mike Drakos, Ghost in the Machine, is currently "riding" one of Theo's drones, #13, "less glitchy" than the rest. Yeah, after Mike fixed it, not glitchy at all. Whatever Magnus thinks, Mike knows from the inside of his machines that Theo is still disconnected from reality in several interesting ways that take him outside of what anyone else might call "sane". Especially regarding the power supplies.
So, #13 drifts through the tunnels scanning for anything out of place, and locates a strange signature. Not Life, humanoid, moving. This _might_ not be a terminator sent by the President, so the drone drifts closer, activating visual, radar, sonar, psionic-flux, magnetic-flux, and several odd things that Theo created that Mike doesn't understand. There MUST be a partridge in a pear tree somewhere in that mess of sensors.
Closing in, the robot drone drifts up to Jono, silently, and a faint tickle of something vaguely psionic, like the life-touch of a paramecium, starts blinking on and off near Jono's head.

The blinking is not all that appreciated. Jonothon peers at the thing, but before he can dismiss it as the annoyance he thinks the drones are, the Brit stops. It's a double take, for all that he doesn't quite manage the physical motion. Psy-fire appears for it, a quiet foom as his chest takes on the stuff first, and then it flows up and over his shoulders. A tendril of the flame reaches out to wrap around that drone. Someone is trying to get a better feel for that faint psionic effect. Just what are you, drone? The mental touch is none the less soft and careful. Even now he doesn't want to hurt anyone this way.

The drone optical sensors are paired so that they can pretend to be part of a face, on stalks two inches above the frizbee-surface of the device. One of the six legs underneath uncurls and waves in a lazy gesture, one of the two optical sensors closes its dust-cover in a blatant wink, and the drone's communication hologram (star-wars inspired, no doubt) presents a name-tag, "HI! My name is…" and if that isn't enough to make it obvious to the psionic probe who this would be, the psionic signature is human, but muted as if from a greater distance than it should be, in a way that would be very rare.

It's been years for the man, so there's puzzlement at the name tag. What? Sorry, yesterday took all his energy and he's still trying to wake up. Gradually Jonothon's brain kicks in and eyebrows arch. Psy-fire seeks to pull the drone over so that the man can peer at it more closely. No, he hasn't changed much in ten years, has he? Phsyically anyway. "Mike?!" There's a pause as his mind fills with chaos, but none of it spills over. Thankfully. "Where have you been?!" What happened? It's been years! people looked for you, but.. on and on, even though all but the first part stays in his head.

Mike's voice is entirely not=artificial. It seems to be coming from the holographic image of a robotic young man, Mike at 20, machine mode, but it's far more real-sounding than this little drone can manage with its tiny tinny speaker.
"Hello, Jonothon. You look … pretty much the same. And I've been a shipwreck for, apparently, five or so years. Remember I went to Barnes for post-grad? Someone invaded, I was taking as many of the undergrads and the less-combative students as I could get into the SHIELD sub-carrier. Fourteen of the SHIELD people, the crew… I can't say if they were really them, or decoys, or what, but they tried to kill the kids, so I partitioned the ship, sent my remote-self with the kids towards Canada, and then we were diving into the Hudson Canyon, you know, the roadway to Atlantis? The crew, they were carrying bombs and I didn't have time to stop them, they blew the airlock and were trying to blow the engine, so I drove us into the wall of the canyon. They kept talking about killing the mutie scum."
The hologram "sits" in a cross-legged position. The head tilts slightly to the side "I spent most of that time repairing my 4-space avatar, I think. I can't remember much except that I spent a lot of time listening."

Jonothon listens, but while he feels dismay, there's only resignation showing. He honestly doesn't know anyone who hasn't had some horror visited upon them the last few years. That Mike was sitting alone and without aid bothers the man. "I'm sorry, Mike." Ignores that he looks the same. For he does in spite of the fact he has a voice now that isn't entirely mental. "I am glad to see you. You've been missed." Said because it's simply true. "Is there anything I can do for you? Why are you still in this…" A motion to the drone. Whatever this is. His psy-fire hold releases, but the stuff still lingers. Unconsciously exploring the little bot.

"Oh. Well, yeah, I know it was a long time, but then I'm told it was necessary. I'll tell you the whole thing sometime. There's an annoying fish involved."
Mike's image shrugs. "I'm still disembodied because I can do things that I cannot do when I'm anchored to a body. I can move from machine to machine, just to hold onto this 3-space. I think I can even make a beacon to find here again, if I let go and move in the other direction. But the important thing is, I can get into almost any vehicle, and I can ride the remote drones that they use, and I can even hitch-hike on their sentinels, if I'm careful and quiet enough. I can almost hide from Magnus, but I need to work on concealing my psionic component. If the smallest quantum of psi-presence I can make was obvious to you then I'm not hiding well enough."

An annoying fish. That has a tiny smile tugging at Jonothon's lips, but it doesn't pull entirely into play. "Mike, that's nice to know and all, but does it answer my question? I just can't tell." Sorry, but the Brit isn't a genius. Probably one of the few of his power level who isn't. "There anything I can do to help? Or would you just like me to listen for a while?" Doesn't seem to mind the listening part.

"I might ask for help when this mess is resolved. Right now, I think it's more useful for me to be flexible. Also, most of my database is, apparently, in Canada, and I couldn't build a proper body without spending a few months designing it. Unless I can get that information back. I wouldn't mind a hug, if you don't mind me touching you."
That last isn't just a weird thing about the little robot or some horrible flashback to the sinister events of the past. It's because Mike saw how Rashmi reacted to his hug a few days earlier. (Has it really only been a few days?)

"Alright." Jonothon has no trouble with this. Being asked for a hug though has a bit of a laugh. Not a very good laugh, mind you, but the Brit still revels in that he can at all. "Of course." The hug is fine. Doesn't mind a bit that there's only a mind ghosting a machine. The mind is what matters. Hugging a drone is a bit awkward, but it's done without hesitation. Can stay wrapped in the warm psy-fire too if that's wanted. Jono's glad to see Mike, and that's leaking through the flame. "You alright with this form though?" The drone is tapped with a finger.

The thing with the hug is that it isn't the drone, it's MIKE doing it. Several hundred thousand tiny points of psionic-magnetic presence reach out into the 3-D world and wrap back with their own tiny pressure, which comes as Jono hugs the frame Mike is attached to, and there's just a moment as well of the shared-senses thing, perhaps a quarter second. The sensation is not dissimilar to a hug, in the way that coffee is not dissimilar to tea.
"I am, for now. I can always borrow Theo's sentinel again, if I need a humanoid frame. I used it to good effect when they invaded. I didn't sense you or Magneto, and I don't think Magneto would have allowed as many deaths on our side as we had. I assume you were on another mission?"

Hugs are indeed good for the soul, and Jonothon doesn't mind sharing one. Does nod after the hug, and for the attack. "We were up north at the Hunter camp. We knew about the attack here, and planned for it. While they were devoting their main forces, or I assume it was main, Magneto, Julian, and I destroyed their camp. That's why you found me loitering in bed." Said with a sheepish look. "After everything we did I had to sleep." Rubbing at his hair, thinking on things, he also shrugs, "Wasn't easy knowing people here down here dying." Which is why he didn't much care who he killed at the camp.

If a hologram could grow pale, Mike's image would. "That's … uhm. Do you know who was there? Star's husband Embry wasn't in the attack here. He's one of those that Ahab took. If he was killed, then she'd finally be willing to take her daughter and get to safety. I'd hate for it to be the reason though. Were there Hounds at the camp?"

Jonothon shakes his head to that question. "I know Magneto and I were tossing people out of the camp while we were tearing it down, but that's really all I know. There was so much going on that I didn't take the time to even look at who we were dropping into piles." He knows he did kill some people, but no idea who. Maybe he did kill her husband, the Brit simply doesn't know. That'd be a sad thing if he had. "We had the military there with one of those Hulkbuster model armor suits." Said with the shake of his head. "I'm sorry, but I don't know. If anyone died, it's probably my fault." No denying that.

The hologram nods. "I won't talk to Star about this then. She doesn't need more fear. And Jono? Remember the psalm. To every thing there is a season, a time for peace, a time to make war, a time to build up, a time to break down. There was nothing you could do to save the ones who died, and still have completed the mission that would save so many more lives."
There's a moment while Mike thinks about hulkbuster armor.
"I almost wish I'd gone with you … the hulkbuster armor sounds absolutely delicious … but I think I was more useful here. Did you know that the Sentinels still use a 1980s security design? At least, the big ones do. And I kept them from uploading, so it's unlikely they'll really understand how I broke them."

The man snorts for that. "I'm not all that bothered by it." Almost apologetic that. He just isn't. "That's why people died. I could have gotten them out, but I chose not to." Jonothon tilts his head and shrugs. Far fewer died than one would assume however. Magneto dropped many of them along the edges of the fight, and left them to sort themselves out. "The armor wasn't hurt at all. Magneto tossed it into orbit. Still there if you'd like to wrestle General Ross for it." Smirking for that, he shakes his head again. Took three of them to get it into orbit, but he doesn't admit that.

"Maybe. If Ross is still inside it. I wouldn't bet on that. Although… I heard there are force-field walls barricading the entire country, which makes me intensely envious that someone else figured out how to do that. So is there still a space program of any kind?"
Mike's image is replaced during that conversation with an image of the continental US with glowing blue walls along all the borders, and a big question mark hovering over Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and some other random possessions.
"Besides, I'd have to figure out how to get up there. I can jump from machine to machine within about 500 feet, but obviously that's too far."

"I doubt you could get into the armor. It even had psy shielding." Jonothon's powers didn't seem to work on it at all, which was strange and frustrating. "No idea about a space program. Mike, I've been underground for years. The attack was the first time I'd seen the sun with my own eyes for about three years." It was good to be out of the tunnels. Really nice. As for reaching it? "Mike, I can achieve orbit and survive vacuum. We could go looking, but I think it would be better if you didn't. Ross can't be stupid, and that armor can survive reentry. He's probably already earthside."

"Oh, no worries, Jono. I'm not seriously thinking about going after a wild goose like that. And I might be able to get around ordinary psi-shields. Was going to test that out … drat and bent spoons, I can't find the rest of that memory. It has to be in the archive in Canada."
Mike's image returns, "Anyway, it's good to apply myself to another impossible problem. The one I've been chewing on has too many unknowns."
"So… you've just been down here in the dark? No wonder you have that lovely moonburn."

Jonothon eyes that image and reaches over to poke the machine. Moonburn. Snort. "Until the sentinal factories were destroyed I couldn't go topside. I set off detectors like crazy. May as well run around asking to be captured." The Brit rolls his eyes at that. Finally moves to lean back against the wall of the cavern, stretching out his legs. "Mostly I was the last line of defense. Took care of making sure people were fed. Tended the gardens.. busy work." No, it wasn't all that great.

"So, more useful than I was, but just about as active. Got it. Hey, tell me if this is working to hide my psi presence."
Mike begins doing … something. If Magneto were here, he'd grudgingly admit that the drone now looks completely normal in the EM spectrum, and there's a sort of 'blur' around the edges of Mike's psi-signature. It doesn't go away, it just gets fuzzy.

Can't deny that, for all Jonothon smirks. It's been a hard few years. "Helps when the man in charge of food can't be accused of eating it." Sarcasm there. Still doesn't eat. After this he falls silent to watch the drone. "You got …um, fuzzy." Said of the attempt. "I can still sense you as you." Not sure how else to explain it. "You did change something, but I doubt it did what you wanted." Sorry, doesn't sense the electromagnetic spectrum so can't tell that it really did work.

"Drat. Even if I can't psi-screen properly without the equipment in my missing half, I was hoping I could at least hide from detection. Have you ever figured that part out?"
Mike's fuzzy-blurred self becomes diffuse, fainter, except for a few spots still visible at the 'paramecium with an ego problem' level. It's still there, though.
"No, even I can sense that," he mutters to himself, though it's still audible. "OK, so I'm going about this wrong."

"I doubt I'll ever be able to, Mike." Hide from detection. "There are means down here that do hide me, but I've never been able to on my own." Jonothon simply carries too much energy to hide it. That's one of his drawbacks. "Maybe you should talk to Theo. I know he's bloody mad, but he may have some ideas for you." Jono doesn't know the first thing about how that would work for a machine. Reaching out again he prods, "You'll get it."

"I'm not sure I will get it, if I keep thinking on the lines I was … ah. OK, so electromagnetism is easy enough to spoof because there's a background, a shape and texture and pattern, that you can match to, and appear to be nothing different. But looking at a machine, you don't really expect to find this other kind of energy… I'm not used to sensing psionic energy, Jono. Is there a background? Is the old "use the force" thing true? Without a body I wouldn't have any clue how to do the traditional 'blending chi' thing, and I don't remember if that worked or not anyway."
The little robot spins in place, and a pulse of SOMETHING washes out from it, down along the corridors, and back. The robot-Mike hologram appears to write something down on a clipboard that wasn't there before and isn't now.

"You can, because you are more than machine." Jonothon replies. "I know this because in learning about myself I know that one can mask psionic energy whether or not one has a body. I can hide myself from other psionics, but I can't hide from the machines." A grim look for that one. "You and I are much the same. We simply go about things in different ways. You have a construct and I build with flesh, but we are both other dimensional beings warping matter to our own ends. So my suggestion, if you want to learn, is to acknowledge that a body isn't necessary for anything psionic." Smirks a little there.

"OK… I can sorta … darnit. I would have to let go of my avatar-framework. I'm afraid to do that."
Mike's voice carries surprise and a bit of annoyance.
"When did I start being afraid of death, Jono?" The robot probe spins again, as Mike hologram-paces along one edge.

Being afraid of death is new? There's a speculative look, and clearly he doesn't quite believe Mike is discovering this only now. His look is as far as it goes though. "You're being too literal minded, Mike." Jonothon points out. "You don't have to give up anything beyond a perception of yourself. I didn't have to give up my body to learn to separate from it. Think of it more as laying aside your clothing for later use. You aren't going to lose anything if you return to it."

"OK, but if I can't find my way back I AM going to haunt you," Mike says. His presence in the probe intensifies for a moment, and then the connection to the probe changes. Still psycho-magnetic, but (like the remote Mike showed once) it's no longer sentient. A purely telepathic, faintly electronic voice 'speaks' a moment later. «Wait, I did something like this when I was waiting for … Oh wow. Jono, you're kinda bright.»

Jonothon rolls his eyes. Oh yes, he's not entirely stupid. Magneto will grant him that. «Thank you.» Heavy on the sarcasm there. Gosh, the psionic might know a thing or two about psionics? Isn't it amazing?! «I can hear you, but not sense you now. See, it wasn't all that difficult. You just had to think differently.» Psionics isn't about the physical after all. «Can you control the probe this way?»

«Uh, no, I meant BLINDING. You're still as thick as you ever were, mate. ((wink)) I'm sitting in this weird place, there's no … what the heck is with my body? Or yours for that matter. Is that what I really look like?»
The probe just sits there. No programmed action, hence, no activity.

If Mike is seeing the astral he's not seeing Jonothon as a thin man in black. Instead there's a man of flame resting against a wall. While his features are still clearly Jono, he is made of orange and red flames. «You're probably seeing the astral.» There's a shift in the Brit and he stops puppeting the flesh he's clung to for years and looks at Mike proper. «Ah, there you are. Yes, this is the astral plane, and that's you.» Everything looks surreal here. «This…» He motions to himself, «Is what I really am. The body everyone knows is almost more a puppet than anything else.» Jono is certainly eyeing Mike though. How interesting a form there!

«Astral? Like in D&D? Wait. I vaguely remember that but my memories of all those years were archived … cool! It's not crystal clear, but I can get back some of that past!»
Self-image dominates here, and Mike's self-image is transparently (small pun) that of a very fit young man, but with metallic-armored body and wasp eyes and antennae, and wings to match. In fact, he's a bit more 'solid' than things usually seem in the Astral. He hovers over to Jono, looking at the fire. «You're not as bright as you should be, even though you do have that Human Torch effect here.»

«Considering I've never played D&D, I'm not sure I can explain the differences. This is the realm of the psionic though. It over lays the physical realm, but is separate.» The Brit smirks about not being as bright. «That's because I'm very tired, Mike. I used a lot of energy taking down the Hunter base.» Doesn't explain that he had to rebuild his body twice during that fight. «Give me a few days and I'll glow like I should.» Jonothon is bemused by all this. And boy will he glow once he's recovered.

«Well, if you're too much brighter, I'd be tripping out. And I'm surprised Dunstin never got you into a game. I can see for miles and miles and miles and… sorry, I guess random thought is louder here, normally I'd filter that. … Hey, can I show you what my avatar looks like from here?»
Mike moves in a direction that would be impossible in 3-space, but isn't terribly hard to accomplish from this place. Since he didn't actually INTEND to do that, he waits to see if Jono can or will follow.

There are a great many things Jonothon didn't allow himself to get pulled into, and that game was one. Didn't much appeal to him. «You're a little high on the energy I think.» Bemused at the flow of chatter, only to frown as Mike flits off. «…» Christ. He has to reach out and snag a light hold on Mike to be able to follow, but after that he does. «There isn't distance here, so no slipping off, okay?» While Jono can get back, he's not entirely sure Mike can. Does what amounts to tying a cord around Mike to tie them loosely together.

«Oh, sorry, Jono. I'm not used to this place, obviously. I'm used to inhabiting, y'know? Of course you do, who better? Stop blathering, Mike.»
Mike is hovering in front of an object the size of … hard to say. From one direction it's a chaotic mass of mechanical limbs of various sizes, all weaving in and out and around, a cloud of them with amazingly tiny pincers snipping off half of virtual particle pairs when they bubble into existence. In the center of that cloud, a sphere of pure plasma, kept in a bottle of something purple. The bottle is in the thorax portion of a metal wasp the apparent size of a freight train engine, the abdomen is where all the arms are from, and the head has eyes that look just like the ones on Mike's astral image. One of the limbs is attached to something inversely-transparent, a 'real world' object shaped like a frizbee disk.
«Easier to understand from here, huh?»

There's a chuckle for it all, and the man trailing fire shakes his head. «Calm down and slow down.» Jonothon isn't worried. He knows Mike will get it, just as he once did telepathy. «You did this years ago too.» Allowed to speak for the first time in weeks, Mike didn't quite stop. «Oh, I understood.. I'm not sure what to make of the form, but then I ended up being made of fire. Who am I to judge.» Grins, for all even his teeth are made of the stuff. He quite literally is living fire. While Jono doesn't touch, he does get close to inspect where the drone is connected. «Can you control more than one at a time then?» Doesn't know if he can, for he hasn't wanted to try.

«I can control several dozen things that size and complexity. I'm not really living in it, with only a few connection points. I was able to BE the sentinel I borrowed, and still make and control four independent drones like this one, but more than that and I'd have been driving them rather than having them be part of me.»
Mike yells at the wasp. «HEY! Attach control point two! Do it!» and a second limb moves down to more securely phase-connect to the drone.
«OK, you can touch if you want. The little bright spot's just psi energy of a particular freqency braided with magnetics of another particular frequency. The underpinning of my entire power. Took me almost a year to figure that out, remember?»

Eyebrows arch at the yelling. Maybe Mike isn't used to being face to face as it were. Jonothon does touch when given permission. First the drone, but then the wasp being itself. There's no effort to 'move' per se, but his telekinetic touch ghosts over the thing as he explores it. «Somewhat. Sorry, Mike, it's been a long time for me.» The better days are faded and worn in memory, and he's lost some entirely. One of the prices you pay when there isn't a physical host by which to store everything. He's lost it, and rebuilt it, so many times it's a wonder he recalls anything. «You feels a little like Magneto, but that's to be expected.» Said with a little smile. «He's highly psionic for a non-telepath and the obvious magnetics. We used to link up and build things, but he doesn't much allow that anymore.»

«Sorry for yelling. Had to reach the command systems.»
The wasp is metal, machinery, seamless as if it were assembled atom-by-atom in place (it was), with strange substances lubricating joints, and carbon and aluminum and steel and hydrogen comprising the arms and arms and arms. The whole thing has that bland, mechanical feeling psionic flux around it, with the peculiar half-missing sensation where it's supported by magnetics.
In the robo-wasp's head, a strange little machine generates the psionic flux and teases it together with the magnetic field. There seems to be room for someone to connect with it there.
Mike hovers politely near Jonothon, watching the inspection and feeling a bit of "car owner pride" at showing a friend his best vehicle. «I always wondered at some level why you two weren't getting the same amplification I get. With your power levels, you might have re-woven the entire world. But if it needs that level of synchronicity then I suppose you wouldn't risk it. And I probably shouldn't show him some of these systems.»

«It's okay. I'm chalking it up to you not being used to this. Should have seen me fumbling around my first time.» There's a smile for that, but he doesn't explain just what happened. Jonothon keeps his inspection brief and looks to Mike after he's done. It's a fascinating machine, but his expression is somewhat melancholy, and yet strangely fond. «It's not so much of being worried about the risk, for you are right. Working with Magnus that way is a huge risk for me. I'm not a genius, Mike. I totally lack his brilliance, and while I am stubborn, his personality dominates mine. The longer we link, the more confused I am as to who I am. It always resets, but that may be why he won't anymore. Magnus never says it, but he is my friend.» That it's never mentioned doesn't bother the Brit either. That's simply how Magneto is.
«I do enjoy building with him through. It's amazing.» Motions to the wasp, «This reminds me of it in so many ways. The seamless quality.. As for showing him, Mike, I'm not sure you should have shown me, but I truly appreciate seeing it. Thank you.» The trust is so nice to feel. «This is amazing.»

Mike turns red — literally, blushing apparently does that, for him, in the astral plane. «Thanks. I've always trusted you, Jono. I even trusted you when you had been tampered with, but, I am not stupid, wasn't going to risk triggering someone else's programming.»
The wasp-like Mike reaches out, pulls his hands together, and is holding a small crystalline sphere that he passes to the giant machine. «I need to get back into my body but I think you could probably use this. I won't be able to remember the details once I'm merged, so.»
He touches the metal and his astral form blurs and merges into the giant machine, and all those hundreds of thousands of points of woven thought-as-light are suddenly different, no longer mechanical. From here, his thoughts aren't distant like they are from the 3-D world.

«I'm actually grateful for that.» Jonothon isn't often told that he's trusted. It's nice to hear. After that he watches the merging and says nothing. His own body takes no damage from his not being in it, but that's only because it doesn't require anything more than his force of will to animate it. A puppet indeed. Once Mike's thoughts grow different, the Brit returns to his own body. Dark eyes open and the relaxed form moves for the first time in a while. From there he watches the drone, keeping a listen for that mental voice as well. "Mike?" Reaches out to nudge the drone.

"Well. That was different. I … what's this?" a marble-sized translucent white crystal, faintly glowing, appears on the surface of the drone. Mike peers at it with one of the optical sensors.
"Oh, I made this for you, I guess. It's, uhm. Oh! It's a prosthetic memory, I guess. Like my backup devices. Hard to damage, might help with keeping track of things."

The Crystal appears and Jonothon leans over to carefully pick it up. "Yes, you made it." But it was put in the wasp, so Jono wasn't sure if it would appear in the real world. "You said you might not remember what you showed me. This might be it. Do you want me to keep it for you until you're ready for it?" Not terribly clear on this whole thing.

"I think, it was to help you, since I remembered that you had trouble forgetting stuff when you rebuilt a body. Not the perfect solution. Ever since I stopped being biological, I have perfect recall, I'm used to it, but when I was wandering out without the framework, it felt like when I was a kid again. Nothing really sharp or detailed. It's disturbing." Mike's holo-image shows a wide grin — his most recent robot body had the capacity for expressions — and he gestures. "If it works right, you should be able to build up a memory in that, and recover it later."

His expression shifts to sudden understanding, and the man looks at the crystal differently. Oh! "Thank you." Jonothon isn't quite sure what to make of this, but that isn't a bad thing. Where would he put it that it would stay safe? That's his problem. Hmm. Maybe he can ask someone to. "That's incredible." And as he turns it over in his hands, the man attempts to figure out how it works. A gentle psionic prod to see if it responds.

It's made of a peculiar metallic structure embedded in a crystalline web. It takes a bit of psychic energy to activate, but then the metal structure makes a sort of 'bubble' that feels a bit like a blank page.
"Think of the last time you rode a motorcycle," Mike suggests. The bubble immediately fills with the snapshot details of that experience, and it's easy to fill in all the missing bits.
"Be careful not to embellish, though. It'll store what you put there. It has room for a few years worth of important stuff. Once you're satisfied with the memory, tell it to store, and it'll be permanent."

Jonothon can't help but laugh at the embellishment idea. "The world's most unique porn movie." Not that he's going to put in memories like that, but the idea still amuses him. He doesn't put in any motorcycle rides, but the Brit does start filling it with details. Things he might need to know for later. Like who he knows, and who they know, and where did he meet some of the people that matter.. Doesn't do a whole lot right now though, for tuning Mike out would be rude. "This is great, thanks. I'm a bit worried about where I can keep it, but I'll figure something out." Hopefully somewhere he can remember!

Mike gives Jono time to do his initial 'format' of the memory aid, with a murmured, "Need to do a sensor sweep for Theo, pardon, will be back in five."
Five what? Hours? No, minutes it is, and the slightly less dignified but definitely more interesting #13 drifts back from a sedate pass through the halls, drifting along at a mere 50 KPH, completely avoiding any humans by simply pacing itself to miss them. Otherwise the adults might be tempted to shoot, the children to play with him.
He comes back to where Jono was, figuring that, drained, he'd still be resting there. While running the circuit of the halls, though, Mike did get a chance to think about it, and has added something to his psionic presence. It's still very blurry, but spreads out over a very wide area, and there is a faint 'message' that suggests it's simply some random noise. The leftover thought-stream of something that happened years ago, bubbling randomly in the Aether. The blur may keep it from tripping all but the most paranoid of mechanical sensors, seeming more like environmental effects, while the "message" will hopefully conceal that it's a sentient being.

"Alright." Five minutes? That's what Jonothon assumes anyway. Of course by the time Mike gets back, the Brit is curled on his side in his mess of blankets, and dozing. As tired as he said he was. The new method of hiding, coupled with the dozing, means that he has no idea Mike has returned. The psy-fire plays around him though, still present for all that he's not fully awake. Might have to nudge him, Mike, for he's not going to notice easily. Of course if he is nudged he starts for it. A little sound and he's sitting up. «!?» Then as realization dawns the man looks a little sheepish. "Sorry, Mike. …Or.. wait." Peers at the thing. "Theo?" Doesn't know anymore.

Feeling bad about waking him, Mike is now wondering about something he's been curious about for at least ten years… Where _does_ Jono get his energy from, if he doesn't eat? Clearly Mike gets most of his energy by either using the zero-point effect, scavenging matter, or by converting matter into energy on the trip out of its normal 3D space. But Jono isn't doing that. Is he?
The nudge comes as Mike tries to use three of his sensory probes to "watch" Jono's power levels. Of course, waking the subject doesn't help.
"It's me, Jono. I just thought I'd try a different way of hiding. Seems to be working, huh?"

Where does he get his energy from? Well, not even Jono knows that. Power levels always show as high however, even as drained as he is. He gets quite a lot of it from somewhere, doesn't he? Does come off as most concentrated from the psy-fire of course. The rest of his body is merely attached. Rubbing an eye and looking relieved it's not Theo, Jonothon grunts quietly. "Hmm.. you are still there, but it's like background noise. I totally didn't recognize you this way." Yep, it's working! May not fool someone watching for it, but it's still damn good. "Told you that you could do it."

"Sorry I woke you. Also, it's extra effort to keep up this screen, so now that I know it works, I'm going to relax it."
And Mike's peculiar presence is back. He's not sure what to talk to Jono about now. The desire to connect with his friend after five years is warring with his desire to let the guy rest.

"It's alright. I shouldn't be sleeping anyway." Considering Jonothon has no idea how may hours, or even days, he's been asleep.. he's certain he should be up. "It's not terribly exciting, but would you like to see the gardens?" The Brit takes pride in them, for he's been working with them for years now. No, certainly not alone, but they are a big part of his responsibility.

"Love to. There's nothing … alive … upstairs. It's like they deliberately kill all the plants."
Mike waits for Jono to do whatever ablutions he would do, then pilots the little drone along in his wake.

"They are." deliberately killing the plants. Jonothon hauls himself to his feet, and finds his jacket. The stone is tucked in a pocket before he pulls the thing on. "They don't want us having anything to eat. That makes it harder to fight. Come on." For all his dark words, he still smiles and nods the direction he's heading. "I won't show you all of them, for we have several, but there's one close." Close to the new camp. The main area, the one attacked, isn't where the majority of the families were moved to before said attack.
It's a walk, but soon Jono shows a hidden door. Inside is a small room, rather like a hatch system. The inner door opens and floods the area with light. Inside is a well illuminated area filled with growing things. While everything is in pots, and much in a hydroponics system, it's still a green environment. Just lacks the grass to roll around in.

"Oh, this is good. I think… No, why wait. Jono, do you think we can make some pots that look like this?"
The drone's hologram shows a strange sort of bucket-shaped half-open egg-curved pot with a lamp on top of it, small but glowing steadily. A sketchy green mass underneath that could be moss, a plant, or a child's scribble.
"If I had some metal I could definitely make fuel cells, and charging those isn't terribly hard for either of us. Magnus could do it too."

"Keep that in mind, but not right now." There's an approval for the idea though. "We just had to move everything, and yes, I mean these gardens. That along with the attack.. the plants aren't going to be getting any resources for a bit. Save it for later when we can afford to mess around. That's a good idea." Since he came down here, Jonothon pushes through the plants. Many of these are clearly not fully grown, for they are barren of edibles. Some in the back are beginning to flower however. "Diane?" He calls out, for there are other people here. Not many.
Diane proves to be a mutant with dusky green skin and mossy hair. Who better to tend the plants? "Took you long enough." She chides. "They aren't sending us anything?" Having heard a little of what was being said.
Jonothon shrugs, "You knew this would happen. Why are you complaining now?" He chides the sulking plant lady. "Diane, this is Mike. He's an old friend long thought dead. Mike, this is the one who really makes our gardens work." Diane sulks at Mike a little too, but then gives a greeting.

Mike nods from his hologram. "Hello, Diane. I'm actually kind of a ghost, which is why I'm riding on this little bot. So, how badly did the move hurt the plants? What do you need? You feed everyone from these gardens?"
The scout-bot scans the area, identifying the energy sources, lamps, the plants, the people. Humidity, alkalinity or acidity of soil in the ones in soil. Mike mutters again, "darnit, I need that book and it's not in my archive." Oh, for a working internet that was safe to use.

The garden here is well set up and doing wonderfully. They have done especially well with them. "The plants are fine." She huffs a little. Gets asked that a lot. Part of her hair flowers randomly, but that's just a visual thing. "Thanks to Jono and Magneto's efforts the plants barely noticed the move at all. This is only one of several gardens, and the newest. Volk brought us a new power source recently." Which has been wonderful if the light is any indication. "What we need is this stupid war to end and us allowed to go back where we belong." Bitter? Just a little.

Jonothon answers about feeding everyone. "Hardly. People bring in the bulk of our supplies, but we provide things they can't get any more. Like fruit and some vegetables. Enough to keep people from getting sick." He shakes his head at Diane somewhat, but doesn't chide.

"Ah. I do still remember eating food. Great concept."
Mike's image turns to 'look' at Jono. "So, my idea was to make some portable planters so people would be able to have growing plants in their own spaces, but if you're trading on the idea of getting out of here really soon, then, it might not be worth it. But having living, green things nearby is definitely a morale builder."

Diane goes off muttering to herself for what Mike has to say, but her ire is focused on the sentinels and not Mike. Jonothon watches her go before answering. "We did have the main garden near the living quarters." He explains. "Before the attack. We lost one of the best environs due to the move. People used to go there all the time, but now we're stuck this way. Hopefully we can change that again once people settle. Keep up with the ideas, Mike, even if we can't implement them yet." Everyone may have to move again.

"Why can't we implement them?" Mike moves the scout over to a pile of fallen rock, lifting a child's-fist sized chunk in the little machine's legs. It vanishes, and a moment later, a simple crystal wine goblet appears on top of the droid.
"It's just matter. I can restructure it almost for free." (That's not quite true but Mike's being stubbornly optimistic.) "What's the resource limit?"

"Mike." Jonothon chides, reaching over to take that goblet. "People have had their home destroyed again, they've lost loved ones, and need a bit. You have good ideas.. we just need a bit to get things sorted out. If you can so easily create things, you need to go ask Rashmi what she wants made. It would suit us far better than this." Holds out that goblet. "Magneto brought back with us a great deal of metal. Your energy is better placed there." And with glass in hand he motions at the drone. "Come on.. we should get out of here."

Mike sighs. Visibly. Ridiculous, holographic images of robots that don't really breathe sighing petulantly. "Jono, Rashmi is BUSY. This is the sort of quality of life thing that wouldn't take much effort, but gets ignored. But if you think it'd be better to talk to her, then I'll have to do something drastic to remind her that I can do this."

The Brit chuckles and nudges the drone with a free finger. "Then go among the people and ask them what they want, Mike." Jonothon agrees about Rashmi being busy. "Just keep it simple for the time being? We don't know if we have to move again, and I don't want them worrying about carrying heavy things along with the rest. Okay?" He's just as ridiculous for he doesn't need to breath and he sighs all the time. "Bet the kids would love some toys. Or even some new shoes. There are a lot of things you can do that are needed." Just trying to steer clear of complex things until people have settled a little. That one attack is sure to only be the first.

"I was going to anyway," Mike admits. "It's easy to repair stuff. But I should probably talk to Rashmi first anyway. And I might need a more solid anchor than this little guy if I'm going to be shifting that much matter. And they might want me to make weapons, but I won't be happy while I do it."

"Very little about this war makes me happy, Mike, but we all do what we can." Jonothon puts on a proper smile. "I'm so very glad to see you, but I need to get some things done. You go back to the living area. We can talk more when I return. Cheers." Doesn't seem to have lost that at least, but he does go off into the depths to talk to some people he hasn't seen in a couple days.

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