Cat's in the cradle (Melia and Taliesin)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Melia, Apr 1, 2014.

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  1. "Goddamn piece of shit-" there was a sharp crack as Matt's foot collided with the hard outer plastic of the sadly whirring computer system. The computer wheezed mechanically and the monitor crackled back to life for a brief moment before the awful blue screen of death made its final appearance before the screen went completely black. This had been a long time coming and Matt had been relentlessly bringing the computer back from the dead, doing all necessary backups and restoration. It wasn't that he would be losing anything important, but he was in the middle of securing his finances and he did not have time for this.

    He kicked the plastic casing again and felt it crack under the pressure. Whatever. Appearances didn't matter,only functionality. He gave a heavy sigh and flipped open his laptop to quickly finish what he had been in the middle of. Then he stood up and stretched and moved his way to the door where he shoved his feet into an old, worn pair of shoes. Deftly he flipped through the 9 locks on his door and stepped out on the porch. Immediately his foot went through the termite ridden wood.

    "Damn..." He muttered as he pulled his foot out, losing his shoe down the hole in the process. He got down on his hands and knees to peer down the hole for his shoe, using his iPhone as a flashlight. The shiny reflectors on his shoe bounced light back to his face and he reached in and pulled the shoe out, shaking the bugs that had fallen in out onto the porch before shoving his foot back in.

    "Stupid termites."

    He jogged to the corner of the house where his bike was tied up. A makeshift trolley was attached to the back and it rattled as he rolled the bike over the gravel driveway. He stopped briefly at the mailbox to check the post. Expertly he slid his hand inside and deactivated the small makeshift bomb the neighbourhood kids had put there. The first time he'd nearly lost a finger. But now he knew better. In fact the one most in danger here was the postman. Matt had taken the time to carefully dismantle one of the bombs once and discover it's secrets. The kids thought he was crazy. He didn't care much. He knew more about the devices than they knew.

    Finding no mail he hopped on the bike and made his way to the computer shop, an unfortunate fifteen miles away. By the time he arrived it was nearly ten am and he was appropriately breathing hard from the exertion of the trip. His black, wind blown hair stood in a fluffy mess on top of his head as he pushed through the doors of the shop, the tinkle of bell alerting the shop owner of his presence. Matt gave a huff of annoyance. This had better be quick.
  2. Kristie was hidden behind what seemed like a wall of monitors when Matt came in. Only hints of her long striking red hair were visible until she leaned to the side to see who it was, her ponytail swishing to the side. A pair of crystal blue eyes fixed on him and her eyebrow quirked at his appearance. He was obviously a client but she was already questioning whether he was going to be a paying one worth her time. She resisted being rude before she knew anything at all.

    It had been slow day for Kristie. She had been out late scoping out the house of one of her more arrogant customers, opened the shop early only to have one person come in so far with an easily fixed problem. She had entertained herself by fishing around in sites that she most assuredly shouldn’t be playing around in but since she was alone in the shop and the monitors were all behind the front desk out of any customers view, she was not too concerned. Most of the idiots that came in wouldn’t even know what they were looking at anyway.

    “Hello.” She said cheerfully as she finally emerged completely from her little hidey hole, showing off a loose white tank top and blue jean shorts before coming to lean against the front desk. She couldn’t help but notice he did not seem to have a computer with him. “You look like you’ve had quite the morning. How can I help?” Kristie was definitely one of the more casual shop owners you would ever encounter and tended to be one of the more blunt ones as well though she tried not to unleash her tongue on customers too often.
  3. "Erm, here for a hard drive," Matt mumbled, pointing in the direction of the hard drives before shuffling over to peruse the selection, giving her very little notice. He would let her know when he was ready for help. Matt squinted in concentration at the products on the shelf. He could go with the brand that he had had before, but knowing it's quality was not superior he was less inclined to choose that one. On the other hand, he could go with this other one... He glanced at the tag marking where the other option should be on the shelf. But the shelf was empty. Out of stock. He sighed and pulled the tag right off the shelf as well as the less superior hard drive.

    Tucking the hard drive under his arm and holding the out of stock tag between his teeth, he scratched his head. Might as well get a fan while he was here, it was just as important in keeping the whole system from overheating. He wandered over to that section, scuffing his shoes as he walked. Carefully he chose a fan and made his way back to the counter where he dumped the contents somewhat haphazardly. He was short, and the counter only just reached the top of his belly. He flashed a smile at Kristie, his one crooked front tooth catching the light so it gave the appearance at quick glance of a baby's first tooth. His blue eyes met hers with attentiveness.

    "Uhhh," he began, speaking in his quick and frequently hard to understand dialect that had a hint of a speech impediment. "This is the hard dwive I had and it's a total piece of shit. Crapped out on me after only four months." He hadn't registered the product either. He never registered products. Registering products only gave the government and/ or corporations another way to track him, which he didn't care for at all. Especially with computers. Computers were the easiest way to track anyone, and also an extremely necessary part of his life. So he took extra caution with the traces he left regarding them. Then again, not registering voided him of any warranty's but it was a risk he was willing to take. He continued, "So I don't weally want to get this one again cos I don't want it cwapping out on me again. But this one," He held up the shelf tag, "is gone. Do you have any more in the back?"
  4. Kristie raised an eyebrow at his apparent awkwardness and bit back a chuckle. Since he seemed self-sufficient she moved back to monitor her monitors while discreetly keeping an eye on him. She noticed a warning icon flashing in one of her programs and softly muttered a curse, moving behind her wall of screens while she quickly disengaged the program, filling the store with the furious sound of typing. She had briefly forgotten about her customer as she double-checked the rest of her programs, making sure she was not about to have any issues with those as well. No problems there, it was just that one bank who had upped their security apparently.

    “Hmp.” She hummed softly in annoyance but put back on a cheerful smile as she heard him approaching the counter once again. She listened intently to him but found herself having to mentally switch gears to the time when she was back on the streets to follow the quick speech. Idly she took the hard drive from his hand and examined it. It was not the best quality sure, but dead in 4 months? She raised an eyebrow and mostly to herself murmured. “And just what were you doing with that?” She set it back down on the table with a sigh. “Well, I hate to say this as you obviously put a lot of effort into getting here but I am expecting the new shipment of the other one tomorrow.” She pondered for a few moments before giving him a brilliant smile. “How about you order it now and I’ll have it delivered when it arrives tomorrow? I won’t even charge extra since it’s my fault.”
  5. Matt's eyebrow gave a slight twitch when Kristie mumbled about what he was doing with his hard drive. It was clear the question wasn't meant to be loud enough to hear. And if she had meant it, well he wasn't going to answer anyway. None of her business as far as he was concerned. Nevertheless, his pupils contracted slightly, making his gaze seem even more intense than it already was. His lips pressed together slightly, as if to say, Yes, I heard you. But I'm not going to answer, rhetorical or not.

    He shook his head. "No. Don't worry about it. It happens. No deliveries." He didn't like deliveries. He didn't like people knowing where he lived. Especially people fluent in computers. "I'll get this one tonight, cos I actually weally need for my computer to be back up and running like, four hours ago. And then I'll come back tomorrow to get the other. That alright?"

    He pulled his wallet out of his pocket, fingering through the bills before plopping a wad of cash on the counter. "Ermm," he fumbled around his pockets for a scrap of paper to write himself a reminder note. Giving up, he snatched a pen laying on the counter and scribbled a nearly illegible note to himself on his forearm, then pulled the sleeve of his too big jumper back down. He tucked the pen behind his ear.

    "What time are you expecting that?"
  6. Kristie inwardly cursed as she realized she had actually said that out loud but if he was willing to let it pass by she was fine with letting it drop as well. She was actually slightly disappointed that he didn’t want the delivery but wasn’t entirely surprised as she started to get a bit more of a gauge on him. The same things that made her curiosity burn were exactly what would make him keep his distance. “Well if you insist, yeah that’s fine.” Inwardly she deplored the inefficiency as much as the fact she would not be satiating her curiosity. Unless she wanted to close up shop and follow him, which was not particularly viable at the moment. Perhaps tomorrow she would have one of the kids come in and cover for her while she indulged in her curiosity.

    “You’re in luck though; this company is pretty good with their deliveries. The new hard drives should be in by 10 and I’ll have one pulled and waiting for you as soon as they get in.” She blinked a couple times at the chunk of cash lying on her counter before she pressed her lips together to hide a smile. That was as much of a clue as anything. She grabbed the bills and thumbed through them, counting quietly to herself before pulling out the appropriate amount of change and holding that out for him. “Sorry about all this.” She made a mental note to have some sort of notepad sitting out on her counter as well. She personally hated how long it took for pen to wash off, but he did seem the type to cover up so perhaps it wasn’t as much of a problem for him.
  7. Matt waved a hand. "Great. Don't worry about it. I should have been more prepared, knowing it was going to go anyway. I've just been very busy. What's your name? You're going to be here tomorrow, yes? I'm Matthew. Anyway..." he tucked the change back in his wallet, leaving all the coins on the counter. "Thanks."

    He took his bag and weaved out the door, plunking the contents into the plastic tote he had secured inside the trolley, just in case of rain, then set out on his long journey back. He was used to these long bike rides though. He really hated cars and much preferred the bike. Plus it wasn't like he got much exercise in any other way, so it was better.

    Once home, he immediately got to work fixing up the computer. It didn't take long, he'd built the computer from scratch so he knew exactly what he was doing. Immediately he tossed the old hard drive into his fireplace and lit it with little concern for the environmental hazards doing such a thing cost, despite the windmill in his back yard and the self installed solar panels on his roof. He wanted to be sure the thing was destroyed with no hope of picking it apart to retrieve data. And he didn't want it going through any other hands. He was fairly confident the thing had more or less destroyed itself, but better to be safe than sorry.

    He rebooted his machine and immediately began pounding away at the keyboard. It would take some time to undo the brief time he had had to finish his work on the laptop, which was far less secure than his desktop system. He quickly got his proxies set up and his remote logins going, then ran through his checklist of monitoring government pages. No, no, no, check, oh there might be a suspicion on that one. That US government was ridiculously snoopy. He had some trouble with Russia sometimes too. Delete. Shouldn't be a problem now, but he'd have to monitor it for the next few days to be sure.

    He checked his bank accounts. Nothing changed except it's steadily increasing numbers.

    Check stocks, sell that one, buy that one. Monitor.

    He set up a couple of bots and then was finished.

    He sat back and listened to the hum of the numerous machines in the room, all working for him, securing him, earning him money. The window air conditioning unit kicked into gear despite the already cool temperatures outside. Computers ran warm, and it was important to keep the rooms in which they ran cooled.

    He stepped back out into his living room which now smelled of vile burning plastic from the hard drive. Yuck. He cracked a window. Not too far though. The neighborhood was not safe, though most left him alone. To them he was weird, kind of crazy, the only white guy in the neighborhood but off his rocker just enough to be acceptable. It was mostly the kids that liked to mess around with him. At least the window opened into the backyard though, where he'd constructed a high fence to deter the kids from climbing over. It was a high window too. And he'd put bars over it as well. Should be secure.

    No matter that if someone really wanted to they could easily punch a hole through the walls of the house due to how termite ridden it was. It definitely wasn't really safe to live in. But he was always fixing it up to make sure that it was stable enough.

    Satisfied that his computers were running well enough for the day and the house wasn't about to fall over, he stepped back out and hopped on his bike to take his next twenty mile trek in the opposite direction of the computer store.
  8. “Uh It’s Kristie.” She called after him as he hurried out the door, leaning against the counter for a few moments more before running an irritated hand through her hair and for just a second there were two large cat ears on the top of her head instead of the human ones, perked up in a definite ‘interested’ position. “Well that was an interesting encounter…” She mused to herself as she swept the change up into one hand and opened the register, quickly dropping the coins back into their appropriate positions and pushing the drawer closed with a click.

    She moved slowly back behind her wall of monitors, staring at them musingly but not actually doing anything. The cat within her squirmed, demanding she go out and satisfy its curiosity right now. Thankfully she was no simple beast as while it was hard, she could resist the urge. He would be back again tomorrow, she had what he wanted and she would be prepared to do this a bit more safely when he came back tomorrow.

    With that thought in mind she focused on what was going on in the screens in front of her. Aside from the one drain she had shut down while Matt was here everything else was running smoothly. She pulled up the info for the charity she had created and did a scan, making sure no governmental agencies had gotten suspicious over their success and decided to check it out. As usual, nothing. The government didn’t care whether poor children were being helped or not so long as they themselves weren’t knowingly putting money into it.

    A malicious grin snuck its way onto her face. And what they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them. It’s not like they couldn’t afford to lose even a few hundred thousand dollars and barely even notice. She ‘hmp’ed softly and made another donation before closing the page and leaning back in her chair, half closing her eyes and taking a bit of a cat nap. The day started to pick up after that and she was kept busy with troubleshooting and repair, though not many part’s selling that day. Which was fine with her, it all worked out eventually.

    At the end of the day she pulled the bars over the door and set intricate electrical lock she had made herself. Then the alarm system was set and the cash from the register came upstairs with her. She had already set the dummy system running on her computers so if anyone tried to access them they would find nothing of interest. And if they were savvy enough to shut down the dummy system then she had an alarm set both upstairs and on her watch to alert her to the intrusion.

    Once she was satisfied that everything was as safe as she could make it she stashed her register cash in a floor safe under her bed before crawling on top of it and splaying out of top of it. There was a ripple in the air and then instead of a human girl there was a cat with exactly the same color hair standing up and stretching with a purr. The clothes she had been in were left behind as she leapt off the bed and onto the window sill.

    The cat slipped out the window cracked open just enough for it and past the bars over the window before leaping out into the night for her next heist. It was only about 3 miles out, a bit closer than she liked but so long as she didn't make a habit of it things would be fine.
  9. Matt was awake bright and early the next morning. He never really slept quite as much as most humans do, feeling perfectly capable of functioning on 5-6 hours of sleep on a regular basis. He went through his routine with the computers again, a routine he'd been doing for so long that he had nearly perfected what most people could do in a single 8 hour work shift within an hour and a half, assuming there were no bumps in the road. Most days there weren't. Some days there were small bumps. And some days there were big bumps.

    Big bumps generally required a bit of travel to smooth over. Usually a whole new computer system. Setting up of new proxies. A minimal amount of hacking- he tried to stay away from that. He tried not to be too illegal, sometimes it was a bit necessary though. Today was smooth, despite yesterday's slight bump. And he'd be checking back again in the evening to be sure everything was still smooth.

    The morning was cool, and over his baggy sweater he zipped up a black down coat with a fur hood. The wind was stronger than the day before, and the windmill in his backyard had taken on an audible humming sound- one that the neighbors had complained about, until they realized that it was helping foot their electric bills too. Matt had been a bit of a sneak that way, hooking it not only to his system but also to theirs. Mostly to prevent their complaints, but also to be nice.

    These neighbors did not bother him. They didn't do much for him, and that was fine. But they didn't bother him, and that's all that mattered. It was the damn kids down the road...

    He checked his mailbox again, carefully avoiding the hole he'd put in the porch. Expertly he deactivated the bomb and pulled the door open. Immediately there was a muffled poof and he pulled his hand out just in time. Sharp metal shards expanded outwards from what had previously been his mailbox and he dove toward the ground covering his face. The outside of his hand was cut and he could feel warmth dripping down his cheek. So they'd figured out he was getting past the one bomb and had set up a second one.

    "Fuck," he said, sitting up and wiping the blood off his cheek. Blood beaded up again on a cut just under his eye. "I'm using the post office from now on. Do that while I'm in town," he muttered to himself, standing up and wiping the dirt off his unwashed trousers. "fucking bike fifteen miles into town every day now bloody fucking little pieces of shit-- parents that encourage this kind of bullshit behavior actually fucking hurt someone--"

    He continued muttering angrily to himself as he carefully picked up what was left of his mailbox and put it in the trash bin. He switched pressing the sleeve of his sweater against the cut on his cheek and the cut on his hand to help arrest the flow of blood, before finally getting it to cease all together. He got on his bike, anger still coursing through him as he pedaled at top speed to burn off some of the excess emotional energy he'd started with. By the time he got to the computer store he had more than turned his thoughts on the whole matter and was inwardly impressed with the cleverness of the little mailbox bombs. On top of that he wondered if it wouldn't possibly be better to let them keep on with the mail bombs. Because if he didn't have a mailbox, what else worse things would they do to his house? That thought made him shudder, as they were obviously clever enough.

    He pushed his way through the doors of the computer shop five minutes before 10:00, much more prompt than he usually was.
  10. Kristie had finished her heist without much problem and dropped the piece off with one of her kids to get sold off discreetly. It was part of her secret to success, her large network of street urchins confused and baffled the police even when they did manage to track down a piece. The signature on each theft was the same by it was sold by different children every time and her kids were expert dissemblers with a stockpile of stories about how they came to find the piece. She was starting to be called a bit of a modern Robin Hood as she, the thief, seemed to steal things and then just leave them on the street for needy kids to find.

    She only got about 5 hours of sleep that night but it didn’t particularly bother her. She was used to it and got up as she did every morning, showering and tying her ponytail tie into a bow before putting on an outfit similar to the previous days and headed downstairs to open up. It took her all of 5 minutes to unlock everything and shut down the dummy systems she had running all night. She then called in Tessa, one of the kids officially under her charity.

    When Matt came in Kristie and Tessa were behind the counter, chatting amicably about nothing in particular. In the corner was a TV that hadn’t been turned on yesterday but today was on and running the news about The Scarlet Thief striking again. The news announcer was droning on. “..The third such theft this month. A rare privately owned Picasso was stolen last night from…The same mark left as before, a scarlet bow…” Neither of the girls were paying it any overt attention.

    Both turned towards the door as he came in, the practiced smile Kristie had been about to put on faltering at the state of him. Tessa simply stared curiously. “Looks like you had a bit of a morning.” Her sensitive nose was trying not to twitch at the smell of blood. She dipped under the counter for a moment and pulled out some wet wipes. “These should help clean that up a bit if you’re so inclined.” She turned to pick up the new hard drive off her desk. “You are a bit early, I just barely pulled this out.” Actually it had been a while and she had seriously considered putting a bug in the hard drive but once again her rational head pervaded over her curiosity to not do something so risky. She had gotten the impression yesterday that Matt knew enough about what he was doing that he might notice it and who knew what kind of mess would follow that.

    “Also.” She smiled fondly at the girl next to her. “This is Tessa. She’s a bit of an adopted daughter for me. You may see her now and then around here.” She didn’t say anything like ‘if you come back’ or such because she had learned that just by assuming they would come back it worked better than making some sort of ‘if’ statement. The trick was to not make them think about it at all.
  11. Matt gratefully accepted the wet wipes from Kristie and wiped gently at his cuts, wincing slightly at the burn. "I live in kind of a bad neighborhood where kids think it's funny to put little homemade bombs in your mailbox. It's nothing I can't handle, though. Just a little worried what they'll do when they get bored with the mailbox bombs... Thanks." He finished with the wipes and tossed them in the trash, then nodded a brief hello at Tessa with a shy smile. "They need something productive to do with their time, like she does."

    Not that building bombs was necessarily unproductive. There was a certain kind of genius behind the process and Matt had taken a bit of time disassembling some of the bombs he had been aware of to learn of their structure and chemical process. After all, what couldn't be learned from a bomb that couldn't also be applied to rockets? They were more or less the same thing. Sort of. Hmm... that gave him an idea...

    Matt picked up the waiting hard drive and analyzed it closely. The tv continued to drone on in the background but he paid very little attention to it. As a general rule, he hated televisions and their unnecessary noise, the depressing news and the state of the general state of the world, environmentally and politically. No point in dwelling on it. No one needed to overanalyze the news 24 hours a day, in his opinion. The world sucked. It was a fact. But he was doing something about it. He placed the hard drive back in it's box. "It seems a bit more sturdy anyway. But maybe the last one I had was just a dud. How much?" he asked pulling out his wallet again.
  12. Kristie had a pretty good idea of where he must live now, there weren’t a whole lot of area’s in the city within riding distance that had that kind of population. She was somewhat impressed though, mailbox bombs were pretty inventive actually. It took a fair amount of skill and research to not have them blow up in your face. “Perhaps I’ll talk to the people working in the charity I run and see if we can’t find something better for them to do.” They sounded clever enough to be good additions to her network, though perhaps a bit malicious. Perhaps they would be some of the ‘official’ cases.

    Watching Matt’s examination of the hard drive she was definitely glad she had refrained from tampering with it. She probably could have put it back together well enough to pass inspection but it was definitely not worth the risk. “It’s possible, either way I guarantee everything I sell so if you have any problems you can always come back here and I’ll take care of it one way or another.” She took the hard drive and scanned it in, nodding to the number on the display facing him. “Are you going to be returning the other hard drive?” It was only temporary fix after all.
  13. "Thanks," Matt said, handing over the cash for the hard drive. "I'll keep the one I've got, though." He wasn't sure yet if he would go through the entire destruction process with the other hard drive yet. His house still reeked of the previously burned hard drive, was probably toxic to his health, however keeping a hard drive around wasn't something he was keen on doing either. Maybe he would put it in a safe... After cleaning it up to the best of his ability.

    "You work with charities then? That's cool." He didn't pay much mind to charities at all. Not that he didn't care, it's just that his entire energy was being channeled into one very important thing. He had very little to contribute to the conversation and if he had to admit his thoughts on involving the neighborhood kids had been more along the lines of using them to help forward his own progress. Matt wasn't particularly beyond selfish measures by any means.

    "Right. Well, cheers." He said as he picked up the hard drive and made his way back to his bike.
  14. Kristie nodded absently as he decided to keep the hard drive he had. She honestly hadn’t expected him to bring it back, it would be far too telling of what he was up to even after having cleaned it. And she was becoming surer and surer he was up to interesting things. “Oh yes, well only one.” She automatically handed out the pamphlet for it describing how it funded community centers for kids in poorer neighborhoods where they could take care of all their basic necessities and have a safe place to stay and such. There were also education centers that were mostly a cover for her training up the more clever and useful kids she found but they also served their more obvious purpose.

    She waved him a cheerful goodbye as he left and then nodded to Tessa. “Alright sweetie, you know what to do. Make sure you put up the dummy systems before you leave if I’m not back by then.”

    Tessa nodded and gave her a thumbs up. “Don’t worry ‘mom’.” She said that a little ironically. “I can handle this. You go have fun.” Almost before she had finished speaking there was a slight rustle in the air and there was the cat standing in the pile of clothes Kristie had been wearing.

    The cat rubbed briefly against Tessa’s legs before darting out the door and behind some near-by trashcans while she assessed where Matt was before leaping up onto the roofs for easier travel.
  15. His first stop was the post office, where he spent well over an impatient hour getting signed up for a post office box. Why did the line at the post office have to always be so long? And why did the employees always have to be so slow? He spent the hour tapping his foot at such an alarming rate that it caused his body to appear to be vibrating, though he kept his impatience otherwise to himself. Once finished he glanced at his phone to check the time and sighed. His stop at home would have to be brief.

    He raced home, the trolley rattling behind him. He would need to get some smoother wheels for that. It could be really obnoxious when it was empty. He made a quick stop at the grocery store. Not because of the empty trolley but his stomach growled, reminding him that he hadn't eaten anything for breakfast. Because he hadn't had anything at home to eat for breakfast. A loaf of bread, eggs, bananas, potatoes, and a bag of rice. Poor man's food. He was skinny as a rail, mostly because he didn't eat nearly enough. More by unconscious choice than affordability. He simply just had better things to do than deal with food.

    He ate a banana as he rode the rest if the way home, nearly tripping his way off the bike once he got there. He hurried his groceries home, careful again of the hole in his porch, made quick work of the nine locks. He dumped all of his groceries in the ancient refrigerator and hurried to his computer room. He wouldn't reinstall the new hard drive today, that was a task for tomorrow or the next day. He trusted the other hard drive to handle itself for a few days. He ran through his quick checklist then locked up the computer room and was out the door again, this time carrying a heavy box filled with papers and text books, which he deposited in the trolley. He ran back once because a glance at the sky said it might rain, to grab a jacket.

    The next bike ride was a long one. Twenty miles out of the city, where farm and field were abundant. His destination was an airport-like field with runway strips, a few industrial buildings and a main building made of bricks attached to a massive hanger. It was the type of hangar that was typically associated with huge commercial airports. Matt pulled his bike up to a small metal door next to the hangar just as the rain started to fall.
  16. Kristie was glad that Matt traveled by bike or following him may have been nearly impossible. Of course at that point she just would have bugged his car so perhaps she wasn’t getting the best end of that deal. She didn’t have any problems with his many stops. She simply set up camp near his bike and took cat naps. It was good to recharge her energy in-between running.

    Once they entered the area he lived in she moved a bit warily, if the kids were the type to set bombs she wouldn’t put it past them to be the type to torture animals too. Luckily her rooftop adventures were mostly undisturbed. She landed softly on the roof of the house next to his, peering through windows and hoping around for different vantage points that might actually get her a look inside. She couldn’t see as much as she would like but luckily for her he was out again and this time she had a strong feeling she was about the hit the jackpot.

    Before she arrived at the hanger though she started to run into a few problems. As a general rule cats were sprinters and while she had increased endurance because she was no ordinary cat 20 miles was a bit much even for her. She had to take several breaks, using his nose to track him until it started to rain. She was starting to feel a lot less thrilled about her adventure and if it wasn’t for the fact that he apparently made this trek regularly enough to leave a path she would have been in serious trouble.

    By the time she arrived at the destination all she wanted to do was find a place to get out of the rain. She spotted his bike and slunk towards it, and then past it entirely as she jumped on a trashcan under an overhang while she furiously attacked her fur, making displeased mewling sounds as she worked.
  17. Matt had hauled his box inside of the small office that was attached to the hangar. He had approached the whole place from the back way, and so the main entrance of the building faced away. Had he approached from the direction most people drove on the road, a large sign announcing the arrival to Howard Enterprises would have greeted them. As such, however, it was always Matt's approach to take the back way. Not many people knew him well enough, but if they did they would probably say that it was his entire approach to life- taking the routes no one travelled. Some thought he purposefully disagreed with people just to disagree. They would not be wrong.

    Inside the office, Matt was animatedly talking over the stack of papers to another man about his so called "light reading". This weeks topic was gravity. Artificial gravity, to be specific. The centrifugal force and centrifuges. Matt had spent the early part of the week researching and reading the most recent research conducted in the field of gravity. The papers he read were complex, written for peer reviewed journals. The sorts of articles graduate students and scholars read. Most people interested in science would pick up a simple book from a bookstore. But when Matt wanted to learn about something, he went right to the source and made sure he knew the topic inside and out, which sometimes involved self teaching himself some complex physics theories. He'd never been formally educated. He'd felt no need for that. If someone wanted to educate themselves, they certainly could do that on their own. Books were amazing for that. He was more interested in tailoring the things that he learned to exactly reflect what he wanted to accomplish.

    But he couldn't do it all. There were somethings he couldn't fully grasp. Calculus based physics went way over his head no matter how hard he tried to understand it. Actually most things that had anything to do with math at all were difficult for him. So that was why he was here, getting the help he needed to accomplish what he needed to get accomplished. The man Matt was with had pulled out impressively drafted drawings of human sized centrifuges and Matt was getting more and more animated as they talked. His excitement came in the form of jitters and arm waving. Eventually he pushed through the door that connected the office to the hangar.
  18. Once Kristie no longer felt like she was going to crawl out of her fur she actually bothered to find herself a windowsill to perch on and listen in on the rather fascinating conversation that was going on inside. She had a half decent view of the diagrams and while she recognized the basic design the measurements of them baffled her. What on earth would you do with a centrifuge that big? Just what had she stumbled upon here?

    Normally she would be more amused by watching such an animated person but the thing they were talking about was so odd that she couldn’t seem to stop thinking about it. It was baffling. She had to know. And so a new plot hatched in her head and by the time Matt had finished his exciting conversation and returned outside to the still cloudy but no longer pouring rain sky, there was a certain red cat curled up in his trolley. She looked for all intents and purposes asleep, though one eye half opened as he approached.

    The cat seemed unconcerned however and after flicking one ear closed her eyes again and started purring softly.
  19. "What the-" Matt muttered over the top of his box and looked to the sky as if to say why does this always happen to me? "Uhm... I'm gonna need you to move, cat." But the cat stayed as she was, purring. He sighed and set his box down, then reached toward the cat to pick her up. He was hesitant in his approach toward her, never quite sure how animals would feel about him touching them, though most of the time in his experience they tended to not mind it at all. He picked her up very awkwardly, and most likely very uncomfortably for her and set her on the ground to make room for his box.
  20. Kristie of course was all sweet and love from the moment he picked her up, the purr increasing until he put her down. Discomfort was immaterial in the search for knowledge. And more importantly in securing a ride back. She sat for a second, looking up at him like ‘what did you do that for?’ and as soon as he had his box in place she jumped back up on top of it. She then pointedly lay down on his papers and looked at him out of half lidded eyes as if saying ‘I dare you to try and move me from this spot’. She did not want to run 20 miles again and if she could get him to accept her now all things would go smoother (for her) in the long run.
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