9th of January, 2024

9th of January, 2024


“Patsy,

A couple days ago you told me about the winter holidays from your world not being called Christmas or New Year’s day, but kind of a joint version of them called Winter’s Crest. Seeing that you’re kind of a night owl unless you have somewhere to be the next day I made an extra trip to the Giving Tree today as they were getting rid of some Christmas decorations. I got a broken Christmas tree and took some time fixing it while some code was compiling on a scheduled update. I gave it a red star mentioned in the Winter’s Crest fable you told me about. It’s on the same table where I left the clothes last week. I know it’s not much but I wanted to give you something, even belated, to lift your spirits this holiday season. Oh, since you mentioned your Dad was 1/2-American and 1/2-Turkish and your mother was Lebanese, I made some Dolmas and Tabbouleh dishes and left them in the fridge.

Merry or Happy Winter’s Crest,

Garrick”

8:45pm; “Garrick?” Patsy called out holding the note taped to her door as she walk over to the balcony ledge looking down on to the training area. He wasn’t there and as she looked up she could see the plastic tree with lights plugged into an extension cord running to the wall. It was blinking and the red star was the brightest light upon it. Just like the ancient tale of the star that scientists determined was a comet that passed her Earth granting strange powers to some of the world’s first powered super beings. Then it hit her that it was Tuesday, he was at the Giving Tree shelter serving dinner and helping out.

‘He nailed the dolmas,’ she thought to herself as she ate them from a small dish she had put some in. ‘Good grief he actually listened,’ she continued to think as she read the letter again eating the food. Unlike a great deal of men he also seemed completely at ease with giving her the space she needed, and he hasn’t tried to hit on her even once. He obviously cared about her well-being to have gone through the effort to try and create something from a world he had never been to. Laughing to herself she thought, ‘Maybe he’s gay.’

She sat down at the work are on the first floor with the data pole mounted in the center with the eight touchscreen monitors on swivel arms. She hit the app options to turn her tablet into a fullscreen digital keyboard, “Optimus?”

Greetings Patsy Palmer, how may I be of service?

“Are their any files on DalusNET I do not have access to?”

Yes, since you are not an administrator on DalusNET many configuration files will not appear in browsing the server file storage. How may I help your search tonight?

“Is Garrick’s records regarding his arrest, detention, and parole located either on the network or available via the Internet?”

Yes.

“Is it the network, the Internet or both?”

Both.

“Is any information contained on the network pertaining the events in question that is not on the Internet?”

Yes.

“Pull up everything available on Garrick Faulkner either on the Network, the CityNET, or the Internet. Collate the finding into screen blocks: 1 & 2 for DalusNET, 3 & 4 for CityNET, and 5 & 6 for the Internet. On 7 & 8 can you find and play the metal band Call of the Deep, I am curious about Garrick’s music choices. Oh, and connect my tablet to act as a keyboard for the monitors in question treating each group as a separate workspace.”

Yes, compiling, yes, compiling, yes, compiling, connection established.

“Please, let me know of any duplicate documents and show them to me first so I can decide which ones I can eliminate from the displayed results, thank you.”

Task complete, here you go Patsy Palmer.

Patsy began to study the prodigal scientist that use to be Garrick Faulkner, his father Cuthbert, his sister Adeline. He lost his mother when he was 8 and the father continued to raise both children. Cuthbert was considered by many to be an analytical genius with a Doctorate in Medicine, a Masters in Robotics and Cybernetic Technology, and a second doctorate in Nuclear Engineering.

Garrick really did design a bio dome engineered to be modular, house 10 people at a time, combine with other domes for larger domiciles, and provide redundant systems to prevent single point of failures before repairs could be implemented. Apparently, his father Cuthbert contacted a personal friend and they created Dalus Dome Incorporated to protect Garrick’s vision of nearly free housing that had one amazing feature. They could be installed ANYWHERE! Cuthbert designed a mini fusion reactor to power each dome for 50 years before cores required replacement. Garrick managed to come up with a way to process the surrounding environment so the Bio-Dome would begin to convert its structure to blend into the environment as much as it could without degrading the quality of life for the human occupants inside!

Garrick had been interviewed by Time Magazine once and he gave a Ted talk which was still on YouTube. His dream and vision for the company was twofold and simple: 1) Create housing for everyone to live anywhere! 2) Help mankind move to the Moon, Mars, and beyond the solar system. He had postulated the notion of quality of life for the human race would improve if people didn’t fight over resources. Then she found the video of him arguing for the removal of Alpha Prime. In his words, “because enforcing laws upon a people that did not vote or choose to agree to abide by them is the same reason America fought the Revolutionary War!”

When Alpha Prime returned and began to dismantle the Daedalus Project’s infrastructure with her fellow galaxy cops. Garrick had already had to bury his father. His sister had also sent him a letter telling him that “he” got their father killed. She never wanted to see him again and any further contact will only be accepted from his lawyer to hers. This news actually broke Garrick according to psychological evaluations and he snapped joining a fringe anti-alien group in an attempt to steal some of the tech back. There were more psychologist notes that while the group wanted the tech to attack the aliens Garrick just wanted to continue his work.

Then from 2016 to 2019 Garrick spent 3 years on Gramercy Island in “A” Block for the hijacking a semi-truck with a group of thugs consisting of color punks and members of the anti-alien group. CSPD was on them to quickly and the official report says everything was recovered according to the victim, and this was interesting, the victim name is redacted! Warden Harker’s review reports look like copies of each other with dates and minor details changed. Notes in the margins by Garrick indicating these are fake, citing multiple stab wounds, beatings, and one stint in solitary in an attempt to get him to snitch on his cohorts. Garrick never broke and was released after only three years from a review board that never actually saw Garrick. 3 years of probation and he was free and clear.

The a scanned copy of the deed to the building naming Garrick as the sole owner. The title and registration to the custom Chinese import truck converted to run on mineral water! On the DalusNET network Garrick had a few notes detailing saving a woman from a car jacking last year in late January of 2023. Everything about his story was checking out based on what she could find and nothing ever appeared restricted. Hmm, time for the ultimate test she thought as she looked at the time on the screen and it said 10:30pm, “Optimus?”

Greetings Patsy Palmer, how may I be of service?

“If I wanted to go in Garrick’s bedroom and go through all his crap would you grant me access?”

Patsy Palmer, aside from the administration files and folders hidden to protect me as the network care taker you have complete access to the house: second, ground, and basement floors.

Heading upstairs she finds the doors open and she noticed his room could be a home for most families, and a larger version of hers. While she didn’t go through anything she did open and close a number of them seeing clothes and collection of a robots built from a red and blue semi truck. It reminded her of the GoBots from her world. The big change was the industrial grade 3D printer he had in a portion of his room. Then she bumped into his 10ft. by 15ft. table that lit up and she realized the transparent surface was in fact a touchscreen tablet. On the screen was notes about scanning her to try and see if radiation she gave off (like all living things do) might be the angle to finding the frequency her dimension vibrated at. Then if that experiment worked could a “tuning fork” be made creating an antenna allowing her access to her powers once more? ‘Wait,’ she thought to herself. He was actively sketching out designs, working over metallurgist reports about radioactive exposure trying to find a material that could work as a dimensional tuning fork!

When she touched the screen to slide the digital-papers out of the way she found recipes for food from the Middle East. He had a checklist of dishes to try until he got a list of ones she liked. Still other notes revealed his attention to details was astounding, there was a paper titled ‘How to make Patsy feel at home until Operation: Go Home and Stop Murder Master is ready.’ One of the items mentioned was to not date and bring them home as it may make her feel uncomfortable. ‘Huh, maybe he is not actually trying anything, he could still be gay,’ she thought and laughed again. Then she found a paystub among the digital papers and saw that he was paying everything fine, however, he had adjusted his savings to accommodate $800 off of each check so she could have enough money to hide and research whatever she needed.

There was a digital stack of papers about how to make those without powers feel like heroes. They talked about honoring police, fire department, EMT’s, and all the civic jobs no one cares about. How to make sure your meetings with others nurture relationships and grow self-worth in others. How to find self-worth in your personal life, and a paper about imagining a world without heroes. There were pictures of Garrick dressed up as Santa Claus that Patsy called Father Winter from the Giving Tree. Finally, there were notes about the injector syringes and the name “Fat Lucca” everywhere with question marks. It was apparent Garrick was trying very hard to balance his mundane and super hero duties so everyone was taken care of.

The sound of machinery begins in the background.

She sprinted out of his room telling Optimus to put everything back as Garrick left it when she heard the garage door open up. The master bedroom doors closed behind her and she further asked Optimus to shut down her research profile on Garrick immediately, but crank the music up. As Garrick pulled in to the garage the Call of the Deep band was blaring out the speakers downstairs. She ran into her room and hopped into the shower knowing he must have known how open he had left his info and access. She was a little worried about how he might react if he saw all the work she had dug up going into verifying his story. However, when he got out of the truck he did not get on the PA system and went straight for the stairs in a rather deliberate fashion.

As he appeared on the second floor he was not wearing a shirt, rather carrying it along with a towel. Both his face and all of his garments where covered in blood! Garrick walked over to the washer and dryer and flung everything in. However, there were some blood smears on the front of the machine from him leaning against it. “Optimus, please start the wash cycle that removes blood stains the best, please.”

Yes Garrick, commencing now.” The washer started to fill with water as he was standing in his blue-gray boxer-briefs. Then Garrick heard Patsy from behind him, “Oh My Heldamm! What happened to you?”

“Shit, I was hoping you were in the downstairs bathroom given the way the music is playing,” replied Garrick adjust his jaw, “that poor kid can really pack a punch!”

“Wait is that ‘your’ blood?”

“Yes, but I’ll clean the washer off in a minute,” Garrick said and Patsy noticed the scars and old faded skin noting stab wounds and remembering the notes on the files from Gramercy Prison. She looked worried and he held up a finger as he touched one the the steel rings he wore, and spoke.

“Grant unto me the might of the Gryphon.”

A swirl a golden colored mercury ran over him like an animated wave of water. When it covered him completely it burst into mist and he was standing in boxer-briefs just a smidgen tighter on him than he wanted. He had an angelic beauty about his form at that time. He outstretched his arms not unlike Jesus on the cross, “Please heal me, Ashmadiel, my guardian angel.” He began to glow bright yellow and steam rose off him for a scant few seconds. Then he lowered his arms and said, “Take from me the might of the Gryphon.” Once more the golden mercury washed over him and he shrunk back down to 5 foot 8 inches from the 6 foot 6 inches he was a few seconds ago. His looks while the same were plainer, mortal, and healed!

Garrick looked at Patsy, “Walk with me please so I can get some pants on and I’ll explain how this is a tragic day.” They headed over to his room and he called for the doors to open. Going past his digital table which lit up as he got close he tapped a toe into the base of his bed and just like the one in Patsy’s room a drawer popped open and he grabbed a pair of pants and put them on and his tank top that says ‘Sleeves Are Bullshit’ on it. He smiled at Patsy, “Those shorts look good on you, I need a beer, TO THE KITCHEN!

“I thought we were talking about the tragic day and the blood on the washer?”

Striding past her with a blatant wink and thumbs up, “Yes, well one of the kids at the Giving Tree had just came in when he was dropped off by cops at dinner service. His dad, and sole provider, was shot by a robber looking for a quick score at the bar he works at.”

Sitting down at the kitchen bar with Garrick joining her, beverages in hand, “That’s horrible! Is he the one that did that to you?”

“Yes, but he was sitting at the table I was serving and another kid teased him about being a fuck up because of how he arrived. Well, the ball of nerves in him snapped he went to punch the kid, who may have had it coming but the ‘blue boy scout’ was still there and reaching for his tazer pistol. I was quick enough to snatch his arm away and I get to use my enhanced strength in either form. I whipped him around to face me as he was yelling his father had died to the teasing kid. Well, Malik, I found out his name later, tried to tell me to fuck off and I told him my father had been taken from me by an uncaring thug as well. He swung at me and without superhuman strength I would be out cold or knocked back. I waved my hand to the officer and made eye contact to tell him I had this under control. The people at the Giving Tree got the other kids away in case my confidence got the better of me. I told Malik tonight was the last night he got to swing that fist in anger at anyone in this building, so he may as well work it out on me. Otherwise, the cop will take him to juvenile detention. He started swinging and I stood there and took it.”

“Why?”

“I think I only took about 10 punches between all the sobbing and we talked about our fathers, and I even explained I served time for acting out badly in Gramercy. Let me tell you Gramercy scares kids and adults alike. He looked at me and I told him to not make my mistakes and put that fist away unless he’s defending some child here. He finally started to wind down and everyone looked relieved, but no more than my jaw did!

“I bet, you could have let the cop handle it.”

“I was not going to loose him to an overworked system that can barely deal with crooked superheroes, and straight up supervillains! I am going to get this phrase tattooed on me at this rate. I know it’s someone else that said this quote on your world but on mine Edmund Burke coined, ‘All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.’ The teasing kid even came to apologize to both of us and I think he and Malik will be good friends now. That brings me to Abraham Lincoln, ‘Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?’ I don’t know if that works for every encounter but if its an option we should try it more often.”

“You are a better hero than you know.”

“Thanks, well that beer and sleep should do the trick,” as he pat her on the shoulder then started to walk past her, “I’ll clean that blood on the washer when I wake up If you need anything else from my room while I am asleep just knock.”

“Wait, how?”

“Patsy my doors are electronic, when I am not home and they open I get text alerts from Optimus. What I like is that you didn’t deny it. Have a good night Patsy, hope the research goes well. Yes, your butt looks good in the shorts, I blame the beer.”

‘Well,’ she thought to herself, ‘maybe he’s not gay.’

5 Replies to “9th of January, 2024”

  1. Some nice backstory revelations here with some interesting hooks. Garrick’s been keeping pretty busy – hopefully he doesn’t have too many irons in the fire!

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