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Formalized Curiosity

Discussion in 'Pandora, Year 1 - 7' started by Amy Wellard, May 14, 2018.

  1. Amy Wellard

    Amy Wellard Guest

    May 20th

    Just jumping back into her regular life was tough for Amy. There had been so much pain and change in that lab that she often found herself curled up in a ball instead of working. That was just unacceptable to her. She couldn't let that doctor ruin what she was passionate about just because he was that horrible.

    But she also couldn't just shake off everything that happened. Sometimes she felt like she was back in that cage, and the walls were closing in on her. She needed to get away from what she was used to, what had become corrupted in her mind.

    When she had heard about the futuristic city in the sky, she just had to know what it was like. It was more than simple curiosity. What if she could get her hands on something that would be useful for Horizon? Maybe a new project to sink her teeth into, instead of just rebuilding what was already there.

    So, she and Denby were soon in Orbit City, and Amy was stunned by the futuristic technology around. She doubted anyone would mind if she just took apart a simple flying saucer no one was touching. It was so out of the way that clearly, no one was using it.

    That was what she told herself when she asked Denby to keep an eye out for anyone approaching as she started to dismantle the lone saucer out of the view of most people around. Learning how to make something that could hover would do so much good for everyone, she was sure.

    She didn't consider the fact that an owlbear staring at everyone walking too close and glaring would catch anyone's attention. Nor did she think about what kinds of noises her little project would make, that could also make those around her notice what was going on.
    Alice Abernathy likes this.
  2. [​IMG]
    If Alice had thought her world had been technologically advanced - at least the tech she had found inside Umbrella's facilities after the outbreak - Orbit City pushed that term on a whole different level. After climbing out of the small, now-repaired plane she had landed on a platform in the outer ring of the city, Alice had run into at least four robots already, all of them sentient and repairing stuff at the side of the road or heading somewhere in quite a hurry. Transparent tubes were leading through the sky, with people traveling through them on high speed, and she could see hovering air ships landing and departing on and from certain platforms. She took it in with skeptical curiosity.

    "I can access the database up here and download blueprints, if you would like me to?" the Red Queen whispered into Alice' earpiece after a minute of silence. Alice was taking her anywhere she went nowadays, either inside an earpiece, or carried-around in her phone. Maybe to increase her feeling of safety, maybe so she could access the internet at any point; maybe also, to teach the AI what 'a normal life' meant, and what kinds of danger they could actually expect around here. Making her programming a bit more sensitive and enabling her to differentiate better between friend and foe. Nobody needed another Hive Incident.

    "Oh, really? Is that part of your preserve humanity programming?" Alice joked, with just that hint of sarcasm that she usually used when talking to the AI.

    Her voice unchangingly neutral, the Queen replied: "I thought it useful for you, Alice."

    "Alright," Alice said, swallowing her laugh, "Download it, I'm sure I can use it." Maybe Claire and she would be able to build one of those flying hover machines with the right parts? Or somehow enhance the plane with it? Or maybe--

    Her thoughts came to a halt when she suddenly saw a huge...well...bear? standing at the side of the sidewalk, glaring at everyone who was walking by. It took her a moment to calm her suddenly quicker beating heart. This wasn't the wasteland. And this animal wasn't a zombie or one of Umbrella's experiments. Still, she eyed the massive creature closer as she walked past it; and then she stopped, when she, behind the bear, spotted someone working on one of those hover ships. Although it seemed to be more taking apart than repairing.

    As she tried to make a curious step into the general direction of that person, the animal immediately stepped into her way. Alice held up her empty hands, giving the bear an apologetic smile. "Hey, you might wanna keep your pet back," she called out to the other, her voice as raspy as usual, but not unkind.
    Amy Wellard likes this.
  3. Amy Wellard

    Amy Wellard Guest

    It was hard to give Denby an order that wasn't killing enemies that was more complicated than simply standing somewhere, looking intimidating. As such, when someone looked past him towards Amy, he didn't do much other than watch.

    Amy, when she heard someone talk to her, yelped in surprise and dropped the wrench she was taking apart the saucer with. It was hard to see, but she also let off a small spark that caused one of the lights on the saucer to turn on for a brief second. That was becoming an annoyance: losing control of her new powers while she was in the middle of work.

    The power incontinence wasn't as important as the person talking to her about Denby, though, so she quickly turned her attention over to where he was standing at his full-size. She hadn't told him to do that, which was annoying. He was supposed to stay in his cub-sized form, so, everything was really working out how she was hoping.

    "Uh, he's fine," she responded, trying to sound comforting and unsuspicious, which resulted in her sounding startled and unsure, "he looks more intimidating than he is. He wouldn't go anywhere or do anything I didn't tell him to."
    Alice Abernathy likes this.
  4. [​IMG]
    "Are you sure about that?" Alice gave back with a soft huff. Not, that she didn't believe her, but the woman had to admit, that, without any information, the bear looked as if he could maul someone to death. Who could've immediately been able to tell that he was so tame? And the way his owner was talking about it, it also didn't quite seem as if she actually was sure about his obedience.

    Alice lowered her hands, her gaze skipping towards the woman. Apparently, she had startled her, causing some cables to short-circuit which made a lamp light up and die immediately again. It was curiousity that kept Alice from just continuing on the street. During the apocalypse it was far less often in vain to talk to someone that sparked one's interest, than it was, if one didn't.
    "Need a hand?" she asked, still eyeing the bear and then meeting the woman's gaze as if to ask if it was safe to come closer and pass by the creature.
    Amy Wellard likes this.
  5. Amy Wellard

    Amy Wellard Guest

    Amy had to shake herself off to get over the startle. Whenever she used her powers, even accidentally, it made her feel like she was back in that lab, and she didn't want those kinds of reminders. Still, it wasn't the strange woman's fault, so she couldn't snap at her or anything her instincts told her to do. Instead, she nodded.

    "He looks more intimidating than he is. Denby, over here." As usual, Denby didn't hesitate to lumber over to his master's side. He had been designed to listen to her instructions, so it'd be pretty bad form if he didn't. Of course, her assertion that he wasn't that intimidating was a little biased since even in his huge form, all she could see was the tiny cub. Even when he was tearing through any threats to her safety with his massive claws.

    When the woman asked if she needed help, she raised her head in surprise. "Oh, uh, this... not really, no." There was no good way to say she was taking apart a piece of machinery that didn't belong to her out of intellectual curiosity. And because of recent trauma that meant that she needed a project, and building something of her own based on the technology in Orbit City was as good a project as any.
    Alice Abernathy likes this.
  6. [​IMG]
    With the bear trotting over to his master, Alice relaxed a bit. Not even three days ago, she had fought a gigantic sandworm in the depths of the Arid Lands, and while this wasn't a worm with a mouth wider than she was tall, Alice was glad to not get forced into fighting him. She didn't want to fight anymore. She was so done with fighting senseless battles against creatures that hadn't done anything wrong, before Umbrella had decided to turn them into monsters without a brain.

    Slowly, she approached, again lifting her palms as the woman talked about not needing a hand with the machinery. At least for Alice it didn't make a difference whether or not that piece of vehicle was actually, rightfully hers, or if she had just dragged it out of side to work on it without the actual owner finding her. "I'm not gonna judge you if you tell me this isn't yours," she added, half a smile on her lips. "Didn't matter a lot to me either, in the wasteland I come from."
    Amy Wellard likes this.
  7. Amy Wellard

    Amy Wellard Guest

    Denby let out a soft grunt as he plopped onto the ground next to Amy. While he seemed to be completely relaxed, she knew that he was still waiting for any signs that things were about to go south. There was no instruction she could give that would make him stop being ready to fight any threats he saw being made on his master.

    Fortunately, Amy wasn't feeling threatened, just a little exasperated. Mostly, she was just annoyed at being found out. At least the other woman wasn't looking for some police or whatever security was in Orbit City. Fighting the petulance welling into her voice, she answered, "I wanted to see how they work. Maybe I could make some myself."
    Alice Abernathy likes this.
  8. [​IMG]
    Slowly, Alice lowered herself onto the ground next to the young woman, nodding at the explanation and having a spark of interest light up in her eyes. "You're a mechanic, huh?" she asked, her gaze moving to the opened-up glider and the parts of its inner machinery she could make out. From what she could see, the woman had a certain level of skill and was not just ripping apart what she saw inside. It would've been so much worse if she had. Because, contrary to popular belief, taking things apart and putting them back together might work well with a non-electric machine, but the moment you had to check how much current was running through it, you also had to at least know on a basic level what you were doing, or otherwise you might die because of a falsely connected cable.

    "Any progress so far?" Alice gave the woman a gentle smile, hoping to thaw the ice between them a bit. She knew very well that she couldn't be called the most socialite butterfly there was, and isolation and zombies surely hadn't done that any good; but hell, in this new, flourishing world, Alice wanted to at least try to meet more people. Manage to make friends. Friends, who she didn't have to trust with her life, but did so anyway.
    Truly, an apocalypse made a person almost desperate for any kind of kind human interaction.
    Amy Wellard likes this.
  9. Amy Wellard

    Amy Wellard Guest

    "Uh, yeah, have been for as long as I can remember," Amy replied. She hadn't always been a good mechanic, obviously, but her dad was a good teacher, and she became at least decent in her opinion. Maybe she'd become better than decent if she figured out how to make things hover. She could just picture the kinds of things she could make if she got the hang of that.

    "I'm pretty sure what actually gets these things in the air are these antennas," she pointed at the objects in question, then back into the car, "and the power source is in here. So far I think these make a kind of field around the car that keeps it in the air, I just need to figure out how exactly." While Amy's world had also forced her to build some pretty thick walls between herself and others, figuring out how to make flying cars brought out her inner ten-year old to the point where she couldn't stop her excitement from escaping.
    Alice Abernathy likes this.
  10. For all her life. Alice wondered what she herself would've done, had she had a father - or any parent, really - to raise her. Had she had a childhood at all. Which she didn't, because Alice Abernathy had been created by Umbrella, as a clone, 10 years ago. She didn't have a history beyond that, except for the memories Alicia had gifted her of her own childhood after Alice had finally released the antivirus; but Alicia had grown up surrounded by science, with her father being a renowned scientist and all that. And with a disease that had put her into bed so early on, that she had been forced into a wheelchair at maybe 12 or so.
    All in all, Alice didn't have experiences with being a child or growing up normally - she loved listening to Claire though, when the woman talked about her brother and how Racoon City had been like before the outbreak. The classes she'd taken as extracurriculars, and on which people she'd had crushes on.

    That was neither relevant for the situation though, nor was Alice feeling like telling that to a random stranger.

    Instead, she listened to the woman's guesses on how the machine was flying probably, and watched her eyes spark up with that special kind of excitement one felt at something that hit a special interest.

    "So, what you're attempting, is to...what exactly? Removing the engine and taking it apart?" Alice was asking this genuinely interested, nodding towards the engine they could see from where they knelt.
    Amy Wellard likes this.
  11. Amy Wellard

    Amy Wellard Guest

    "Pretty much, yeah," Amy replied, managing to keep the sheepishness out of her voice pretty well, "I'm hoping to at least get a good baseline for the future, you know? I'll at least be able to know what to try in the future when I maybe make something like this of my own." She had a feeling she wouldn't get that far, though. Maybe some little things that would be able to float around her house, like a plate of food she could push around to follow her while she was on a work binge.

    Really, even if she couldn't make it herself, she was intrigued enough by the concept that she just wanted to know more. It was something her dad told her a lot, that sometimes you just needed to do something useless because it made you feel better. Maybe that didn't need to be a lesson for most people, but in a world as dog-eat-dog as Amy's? Downtime was hard to appreciate.

    Still, she was grateful that her dad had taught her that, since it meant she wasn't floundering quite so badly when she got to Pandora. Sometimes she was able to just lie back, petting Denby and do nothing of interest.

    Speaking of, the owlbear in question seemed to decide at some point that he didn't need to be full-sized anymore, since Amy felt her pet lean against one of her legs while only as big as a koala. She simply huffed and pushed him off her, gently.
    Alice Abernathy likes this.
  12. For a moment, Alice regarded the other, before pulling her phone out of her pocket and swiping through the files her AI had downloaded a few minutes ago. Stopping at what was labeled Hover Engine, Alice met the other's gaze again, "Do you have like a phone or some device on which you can look at pictures and stuff? I could send you the blueprint for this thing."

    Yes, maybe she was taking a risk here. Who knew what a random mechanic would or could do with the blueprint of a hover engine - but honestly? Her gut feeling hadn't been wrong, ever. Not that she could remember at least. And, this world might not have been the wasteland where supplies were rare and you had to think twice before sharing something like this, but even if it had been - the young woman seemed like the kind of person who'd use these information well, instead of building a machine of destruction.

    What threw her off though, was when she realized that the rather huge bear from a minute ago, had shrunken down into a cub-sized one - and she hadn't even noticed. Alice raised a surprised eyebrow, blinking at the animal that was trying to get attention from his owner like a weirdly-shaped cat - "He can...shrink? On will?" It would've sounded like a strange question in any other situation, but in this world and in this city, with hovering machines and gigantic sandworms, it shouldn't have come as a surprise that such animals existed.
    Amy Wellard likes this.
  13. Amy Wellard

    Amy Wellard Guest

    Amy almost turned back to tinkering on the hovercar, before Alice's words sunk in. She stopped almost completely, hand hovering in the air before she turned to look at the other woman. Her expression seemed to be warring between disbelief, gratitude, and confusion before finally settling on something more neutral.

    "Uh, yeah, I do," she said, pulling out her phone. It was way more advanced than anything in her world, so it had almost gone under the same trauma the car was experiencing. Fortunately, Denby was always keeping an eye on the stuff Amy would've regretted taking apart, so it had been spared such a fate.

    As she was fiddling with her phone, Alice seemed to notice Denby's smaller state, and she nodded. "It's more like he can grow at will, but yeah. My friend m- got him for me as a sort of bodyguard and pet." Though, she had to admit, she cared more about the pet part than bodyguard stuff. In her opinion, he was absolutely adorable, even if he was huge, so she couldn't help but baby him most of the time.
    Alice Abernathy likes this.
  14. "Oh, yeah. Of course. Growing, not shrinking." Alice's lips twitched into an almost amused smile, her eyes skipping from the bear to his owner when she corrected her. "He definitely looks intimidating on first glance, standing there at the side of the road like some guard dog," she agreed, before shaking her head softly, "but only like that." Her gaze dropped back onto the miniature version, who, sadly, didn't look like any danger could ever come from him. Definitely not to Alice who had fought monsters ten times his size, and probably not to many others either. But, perhaps, that was the point of his ability to shrink - or grow, how the woman had explained.

    When she had her phone at the ready, Alice focused her gaze onto the screen of her own and half-loudly said: "Would you be so kind?"

    A rather young, female voice replied through the phone's loudspeakers, giving Alice a short "Of course, Alice." before a message plopped up on the other woman's device, notifying her about a received message. The AI Alice was running around with - called Red Queen - didn't need anyone to agree to her hijacking a machine or device; if the human currently controlling her told her to do something, she tried everything to make that happen, and if others didn't have a complex firewall in place, the AI could manage to log herself into basically every interface.
    That this behaviour might not have been the most polite one, Alice didn't exactly realize yet. She didn't have a lot - if any - references to how personal privacy worked on the internet. Just as she had been reminded of, when that cop from Pandora Town had accidentally texted her, asking for her opinion on his moustache; of course she had needed to dig for a picture of him on the web first, and had provided him with an answer then, but when he'd realized she'd basically spied on him, he'd suddenly called her rude. What did she know of web etiquette, coming from a world where the internet had only been existent inside Umbrella's facilities and she'd only needed it to get information?

    "There you go," Alice said in a friendly tone before getting onto her feet again.
    Amy Wellard likes this.
  15. Amy Wellard

    Amy Wellard Guest

    Amy didn't pretend she had no idea why others would be weirded out or confused by Denby and everything about him, but she much appreciated when people didn't get so shocked and confused. It just made things easier for her and all.

    "Well, he was just supposed to be on the lookout, not scaring anyone away," she admitted. Even though all she saw was the cute little cub he spent most of his time as, he was still a huge bear that looked ready to tear people apart when they got too close. No one deserved that for just being there. But he sometimes decided to do things when she didn't give clear enough instructions, so she took responsibility for that part.

    The next thing she knew, her phone was already beeping about a message. That... couldn't be right. Phones were common in her world, but they did exist, and she knew how they worked. They couldn't just transmit data to whoever whenever. Well, apparently Alice had some sort of AI, but that just raised more questions.

    It took Amy a few seconds to get the message open and make sure it actually was the blueprints, and by that time Alice was already getting up. Before she could even open her mouth, Denby's curiosity got the better of him and he practically plopped himself down in her lap, startling an "oof" out of her.
    Alice Abernathy likes this.
  16. Alice pushed her phone back into her jeans pocket, brushing a bit of dirt off her knees, but not actually being very determined to clean everything. With a chuckle, she shook her head. "Well, he didn't scare me away, right?" Though he would've probably prevented a lot of others from coming closer, she assumed.

    "You think they'll help?" Alice asked after meeting the woman's gaze again and nodding towards her phone screen. Not that she wanted to flee from the scene immediately - the stranger was, after all, not that unpleasant of a company from what she's witnessed so far - but maybe it was the still present fear of bringing danger into everybody's life, even in a world where Umbrella didn't exist (anymore), that caused Alice to instinctively plan to retreat again, now that she had helped this young woman. She didn't look stressed though, or as if she couldn't stay had the other asked that from her.
    Amy Wellard likes this.
  17. Amy Wellard

    Amy Wellard Guest

    "Yeah, guess not," Amy grunted as she shifted Denby around on her lap so he'd stop resting one of his back paws on her stomach. Sure, she loved babying him, but he was still heavy, no matter what size, so he couldn't exactly go crushing her without some discomfort on her part.

    It was so uncomfortable that she almost missed Alice's question. She quickly nodded her head and replied, "yeah, these look good. Hopefully I can make something useful out of this." Or just something to get her mind off of everything that happened back at that lab. Either way, it was a welcome distraction.
    Alice Abernathy likes this.
  18. Alice watched as the woman tried to keep the bear from crushing her stomach, and she definitely raised an eyebrow in concern; though the animal seemed to act out of a need for attention and not aggression, Alice wasn't entirely sure if the other could handle it. For the moment it didn't look as if she could've done much to help though. And a moment later the young woman managed to place the cub on her lap in a better position, so Alice relaxed a bit.

    "Good luck!" she wished, though it wasn't as clear, if she meant "with the glider" or "with the bear"; she gave the other a smile, before turning around and making her way to the end of the alley. There, she stopped though, looking over her shoulder again. "What's your name, actually? Just, in case we meet again?"
    Amy Wellard likes this.
  19. Amy Wellard

    Amy Wellard Guest

    It seemed to Amy that she was going to get the information she needed without as much hassle as she was expecting. All that was left was putting it all back, which was going to be really easy. She had made the mess, knowing she'd need to clean it up anyway.

    Before she could get started, she was surprised by a sudden question, and realization that they hadn't actually really gotten the introduction part out of the way. That was a little embarrassing. "Oh, my name's Amy."
    Alice Abernathy likes this.
  20. "Nice to meet you, Amy." A warm smile came onto her lips, before she raised her hand for a waving gesture. Amy reminded her slightly of one of the people in the convoy years ago. K-Mart - and yes, that was the girl's actual nickname. So full of curiousity and the determination to make it out of this hell hole alive. She too had been ripped away from Alice, from the others, from life, by Umbrella, because she'd been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Because she'd worked together with Alice. At least that was, what Alice was convinced of, and that was in no way an easy burden to bear. "I'm Alice. Take care!"

    With that, she vanished from the alley, continuing on walking down the almost translucent sidewalk, on the search for something she could take with her - maybe even something she could gift her girlfriend - but Amy stayed on her mind for a few minutes more. Perhaps they would actually meet again, somewhen.
    Amy Wellard likes this.