Vaulting

It's mid afternoon here at Thistlewood on a relatively quiet day. Aladriel is off doing spell research and preparing for an astral quest, while Maya naps peacefully. Kass is working in the garage moving boxes in and out of the house and cleaning up, some light music playing from one of the cars.

Before even the house's sensors have a chance to chirp at the approaching car, she is alerted by another system: three sets of ears turn in the direction of the drive and three bodies interpose themselves between Kass and the outside world. The elven girl looks up curiously and then the house remarks, "Car approaching, assigned to designation Johny Wulfson"

Today it's a Euro-car Westwind, forest green in color, that comes through the gate. It is in fact, designated as Johny Wulfson. The car pulls to a stop in front of the garage, the snows melting away in the spring sun.

Dusting off her hands on her pants, Kass speaks softly to her three charges and makes a careful motion with her right hand. All three promptly sit down and wait, watching the vehicle curiously. Kass waves to the car, "Hello!"

Dogs. Sam likes dogs. He's not a cat man. He's a dog man. He always wanted a dog, but never had the time or sedentary nature to care for a dog. HE steps out of the car, looking the hounds over… "Nice. That will make it harder to sneak in and spy… Upping the ante!" says he, his voice clearly joking.

Chuckling, Kass nods. She sinks down next to the dogs and speaks quietly to them, explaining the situation and that Sam is a friend. She pets each in turn, "Ally brought us some new friends. This is Lucky, Rollie, and Lucy. They are trained and everything .. she thought that since we were out here alone a lot, they might be as useful if not more so than some of the tech. And warmer, too!"

Johny nods to Kassandra… "A camera needs to be watched. A dog is a set of eyes on its own right." He approaches, kneeling down and holding out a hand for sniffage. "How you ladies been out here?" The last week or so, Sam's been nearly unavailable for personal visits, and his phone calls have been somewhat delayed.

The dogs each take a turn checking the man out; they seem friendly but have the more reserved air of an animal that has extensive training. "We've been pretty good. We spent a few days in the city while Ally had the dogs trained to the property .. she didn't tell me about it, mind you. Other than that, just been quietly studying and lazing about. I haven't seen much of you, did you decide to expand your model from Denver to the whole state?"

Johny quirks an eyebrow as he stands back up… He doesn't pet the dogs. They are on duty… "My model?" He asks curiously.

"The model of the city you were working on, in your workroom?" Kass raises an eyebrow, looking carefully at Johny.

Johny oohs.. "Sorry… sorry…" he says with a grin. "Just been… distracted. No. Later today, you feel like taking a quick road trip with me to the UCAS sector? I got something I want to show you."

Laughing a little, Kass nods, "I know what you mean, distractions distractions." Her eyes start to dart up and to the left before she catches herself, looking instead to the watch on her wrist. "Still getting used to that .. um, yes, I can do a quick trip. Maya will be down for a while, and Ally will have her nose buried in her books for most of the evening. Big time spell learning."

Johny grins slightly. "Good. It's good to see her growing magically again. She's a very powerful magi… she's matured… so very much. When I met her, my god, Kassandra… I wanted to strangle her."

"Well, she was very young then and you are more serious than she. I can imagine it would've been hard on you both." Grinning, Kass remarks, "But she is very interested in her magic right now, so much so that I'm learning alongside her. I can even decipher spell formula now, and have been working on cantrips." She considers, then shrugs, "Maybe it helps to have someone that isn't a big time mage to talk to, so that she has to look at the basics again, and has to see things from a different point of view."

Johny leans on the car, watching Kassandra for a moment, before he reaches in to his pocket to pull out a pack of cigarettes. He looks at the cigarettes for a moment, then tosses the pack to Kassandra. "Immortality sucks, if you smell like a goddamn ashtray all the time."

All three dogs watch the package sail through the air before Kass catches it, looking at it curiously. "Very true. The reek of cigarette smoke stays on you for a very long time, and you can smell it for a long distance, especially out here. I don't think your friend Slinger agrees, he has a bit of a habit."

"He's young, and to him Smoking is a rebellion. Maybe later in life he'll understand how disgusting it is in the long run." he says, exhaling. "So, come on. I'll drive. Grab a coat. It's cold."

Nodding, Kass makes a motion with one hand and all three dogs rise. She steps towards the house, telling them, "Go sit with Ally and Maya." The German Shepard is the last in, looking at Sam before stepping into the house. Kass grabs a winter coat from inside the door and closes it behind her. "Well, I hope so. He smokes enough on most runs that people with no noses can find us. Invisibility doesn't work if you are a little fog cloud."

The man opens the door to the car for the woman. "It's on the other side of town, but traffic around now isn't all that bad, we can do it in about a half hour. C'mon, I'll even buy you one of those sweet coffee drinks from Mocha-go-go."

"Ooh! A caramel iced coffee does sound good about now." Kass looks back at the door and concentrates a moment, then nods, "OK, message sent!" She'll slide into the car and get comfortable. "Where did you get this one?"

Johny chuckles as he closes the door. "I stole it. I liked the color… It's a very nice shade of green, don't you think?" He asks, a grin coming to his lips as he backs the car down the driveway, using just the mirrors.

Hands folded in her lap, Kass nods, "It is very pretty, yes. And with your .. borrowing .. policy, you don't have to worry about it fading or getting damaged, you can just trade it in for another."

"It's a good policy. I just abandon it, and get a new one. It's almost like a lease, only not really." He grins then, turning the car on to the access road and roaring down the canyon. "So how's Maya doing? She's what… 6 months old now?"

"Five months on the 15th, I believe. It seems longer, I know. She is doing very well, just a bundle of energy and trying so hard to talk. Now with the dogs, I'm sure she'll add barking to her list of antics. But she is a good baby and doesn't cause us any trouble and is willing to listen to me babble at her all day." Kass chuckles.

He chuckles as he drives further in to the core of the Ute Sector, heading south for the toll-way that leads across the north half of Denver. "Kids are like that. Show them love, they grow like weeds. Abuse them, they grow thorns."

"Well she is going to grow pretty fast then. She is probably one of the most spoiled children in the world." Kass laughs a little, watching cars and the road a moment. "How are you getting along?"

"In what way?" He asks, looking over to her, using the movement to merge to the left as he makes his way for the exit where the Mocha-Go-Go cafe is located.

"In any way? I know you were getting back into the swing of things once we got home and settled, were going to be running around in the wading pool that is the city shadows and seeing what floats to the surface. I've not heard of any cults getting wacked around here or other noise, so I was wondering if you had just picked up needlepoint or something quiet, or if my sources are not calling me any more."

Johny chuckles quietly. "You'll see. I'm taking you to show you what's been occupying my time." He says, pulling up to the drive-through cafe, ordering a large mocha with peppermint.

Nodding, Kass orders a super large frozen caramel coffee with extra caramel.

After that, he pulls out and back on to the free way. "I'm not good with idle time. Never have been. I can't spin my wheels and just… do nothing. Its not who I am or how I live. Constantly doing something, even if its making a model, taking a hike… always has to be a purpose, of sorts. So I've been… channeling my issues in to constructive things."

Kass sips on her drink, replenishing after a busy morning of work. "I can understand that. I'm using my down time to just learn all the little things I took for granted, or let someone else deal with. I forgot how much fun it is to actually have to sit down and figure things out for myself." She looks the man over a moment, then nods again, "Still, good to be doing constructive things than destructive, at least most of the time. You almost always have more to show for it."

"That's the idea. Always moving forward, always building resources. Always… making things better." He glides the car through the toll-booths and security checks. One thing about having a nice car and a solid ID is they don't really look to hard. Here's a young executive with a saucy hot woman, in a nice car. Not a threat. They proceed in to the UCAS sector without delay.

"I prefer to look forward rather than back. It's more pleasant." She laughs a little, and motions to the road before them, "And now I can see things without distraction, which is somewhat nice. I never realized how much clutter there was in my field of vision before." Kass waves a hand in front of her eyes as she draws another sip through the straw, "It is taking some getting used to, but it's definitely a treat."

Sam is quiet for a moment, thinking that over as he guides the car in to the Rural FRFZ, out past Buckley AFB, and closer to where the old Lowery site was. "I wanted to ask you about that." He says quietly, taking the car on to the rarely traveled out-roads of the UCAS sector, beyond the warrens, where the land grows wild.

Talking around the straw, Kass says, "Oh? What about it?" She looks around at the road condition, the general area. "Nice out here, less people milling about." She chuckles at that, "Get me out of the city for a while and you'd never know I lived in them for a long time."

"Removing your ware." He says, pulling on to a small dirt road, then to a gate. At the gate, he swipes a card and it opens automatically… He drives the car further down the road. The signs read 'COAL CREEK NATURE PRESERVE: NO ADMITTANCE'.

Hmming at the sign and the gate, and then the pass card, Kass watches their journey. She raises an eyebrow, pulling the straw up and resetting it to dislodge a chunk of ice that is too big to pass, "I can't say I'll miss much of it, really. It's .. quieter, in my head now." She grins a little at that.

"Why did you remove it in the first place?" He asks, taking the road now much slower. A pair of dear startle on the side of the road, bounding back in to the trees that border the road. "Call it… self-consciousness… but I am a man mostly metal and genetic engineering… and I will be adding more. You hold a dubious place in my mind, because… your opinion matters to me far out of proportion with the rest of the world."

Sipping her drink, Kass contemplates the question a moment. "Well .. I've done some reading in different books of theory on magic, on the nature of the universe, all that stuff." She shrugs a moment, toying with the straw. "Several of the texts had illustrations from descriptions given by magicians of a bewildering number of traditions .. the American Indian tribes, African witch doctors, MIT&T scientist mages, the works .. and they all tended to describe things the same way when they looked at the .. soul, or aura, or whatever of a person."

Hesitating again, Kass shrugs. "It made me question on how Aladriel saw me, if you took away all the lovey stars in the eyes sort of thing. If the ware really does impact things. From there I sat down and thought long and hard on why I put it in in the first place, and if I needed it."

He stops at a second, interior gate. He slots a different card, the gate retracting again. This one is taller, with razor wire, a few cameras hidden in the foliage watching. "Yeah. I've read those texts too." He says quietly, rolling in to the enclosed area.. It's an open meadow, some trees and a low rising hill. "We're here…" He says.

Shaking her head, Kass remarks, "I wouldn't say it is a wise choice for everyone, or even for most people. But .. for me, it was what I wanted. Some of the things I had done so that I could .. I don't even know. Be a person that I couldn't be then. I don't think I need them anymore, and so there wasn't any need to keep them in me." She frowns, looking at her cup and shrugging, "I think I am not explaining it well."

Johny nods to Kassandra. "You may be right. I do know I'm in no position to remove what I have. I need more, indeed. It's a personal choice." he opens the door, but doesn't step out yet. "I just… with Minos gone, I'm the only cybernetically augmented member of the team anymore. Lilith doesn't really count; she's mostly cosmetic. It… distances me."

Nodding quietly, Kass sighs, "It wasn't my intention to put a distance in there. I .." She closes her mouth, changing gears, "I've given Lilith some extra upgrades, less cosmetic and more .. brawler .. stuff. The bone lacing from Luccianno, for example. Maybe it will help her."

He steps out of the car. "You didn't. It's just a perception, a fear, Kassandra." He calls over the roof as he steps around the car. "Well, Kass.." He says with a grin. "This is what I've been working on the last few weeks."

Johny gestures to the empty field and its hill.

Slipping out of the car, the elf sips from her drink and gets the last little bit, looking over the empty field and hill. Kass glances to Johny. "You've .. learned to plant grass?"

He grins, rocking back on his heels. "Marcus, Open the door."

There's a slight rumbling from the hill, before one full side of it slides up on Hydraulic lifts, a blast door of several inches thick steel rising out, the hill molded in to its forward door. Marcus is standing inside the hill, beyond, operating a switch that he is apparently rewiring. "Welcome to the Vault, Kassandra."

Flashing back to the sign they had passed, Kass raises an eyebrow and a hand to Marcus, then looks to Sam, "You .. wait, what is this?" She peers around where Marcus is, the measure of the blast door. Unable to simply stare at things and get dimensions and distances anymore, she still can see that it is rather thick. "What, the government have a sale on M-bay?"

"Something like that. Call it a… gift… of sorts, from the Foundation. It's under renovation still, and it needs a few million in work to be fully operational… but I can give you a basic tour right now. Everything from the first gate you passed… we own. The entire nature preserve."

"A gift of sorts? Why does that fill me with dread. Given the name, are we atop some ancient evil that has to be contained? A burial ground?" Kass's tone is only half-joking, eyes searching the surroundings. "Well, it is at least pretty out here. A few *million*?" She digests that, considering. "Well, it certainly gives us something to aspire towards. I assume we need more than a paint job and a few chairs?"

Johny chuckles… "Yes, it does. And no, you're standing on top of a Titan III Inter continental missile base, built a hundred and 5 years ago."

Looking down, a small ch-ching may be heard as the elf considers. "Did they leave us a missle? We can easily make bank if they did."

Johny laughs as he walks in to the 400 square meter garage level. The blast door is easily large enough to accommodate two big rigs side by side… A massive square elevator lift appears to be set in to the middle. "No. No missile. That was removed in the 1990s, as per treaties with the Soviet Union. It was used by the IRS and the Army for a while, but it was… ah… -lost- in the Matrix crash of 29."

"I see. Interesting, but sad too. We could've used the money." She follows along, listening, eyes searching the area. "Still, without the missile that is going to leave a lot of open space. Even if they removed all the existing gear, the place still has the infrastructure in place to run all sorts of wires and the like."

Sam leads the woman in to the main area, where Marcus is working. He waves to Kass, before going back to a diagram and a soldering iron.

"Actually, there's a LOT of floor space here. Easily a hundred thousand square feet, if we utilize it properly. The command bunker, we have here… the three silos out on the property… you name it, we can do it. It's just going to cost us."

Waving to Marcus, Kass considers the rooms they have, the land itself. "It's just money, and we need to keep our hand in the game anyway. A few million isn't *hard* to make, once we put our noses down, really. Even if we only skim off half of what we need for this place from jobs we could do it in a few months. Less, if we actually work and aren't as picky."

Johny nods to Kassandra. "Indeed. I've got a computer set up over here, showing the Draft of the property. I am an architect you know."

"I think I recall knowing that, but .. well, you are good at all that sort of building stuff, so it doesn't surprise me." Kass snaps her fingers, "Wait, didn't you say you designed Thistlewood?"

Johny nods as he walks. "From the ground up. I built it. Not the hammer and nails, I oversaw the processes." He says, tapping a key on the computer now. It comes up with a rotating three dimensional trid-display that shows the entire base, with areas in grey currently entirely uninhabitable… with areas showing various work levels. "Here we are."

The elven girl peers at the trid display, toying with a piece of hair. "OK .. and all of that is ours? Good lord .. I assume we want to keep this secret so we'll be doing a lot of the grunt work, cleaning, sweeping, dragging out old DOD stuff and replacing with something that isn't worn out or made by the lowest possible bidder?"

Johny nods to the woman. "Exactly so. Much of it is still fairly up to code.. but its going to be labor intensive. More intensive than I had anticipated. I wanted, you see, to present you all with a fully functional base of operations. This is for the Watchers, and I'm calling it the Vault."

"But, theres a bit more decay in some of the main struts than anticipated… so I need to work on that."

"Hm. And you've been out here with Marcus doing all this work by your lonesomes?" Kass shakes her head with a grin, "You know we'll be happy to help you out, and those who won't can get busy walking back to town. At the very least we can paint and drag crap out to the curb, so to speak. It'll be a good bonding experience, or a good way to weed people out who just want to hang around and watch."

Johny glances at Kassandra, a smile coming to his lips. He opens his mouth to speak, but is cut off by Marcus as he falls at Kassandra's feet.

"Ma'am, He's working me like a dog! I've been here for DAYS with not one mocha! Not one McNoody Burger! Work work work! Please, save me from this slave driver!"

"Sam!" She looks down at Marcus and then to Samuel, shaking her head, "That is horrible! How can you deprive him so?" Kass looks aghast and shocked, although a faint smile traces her lips as well. "I shall have to report this to the shadow unions!"

Johny chuckles, the sound echoing in the massive top-level bunker. "Take the car, Marcus, go get your precious McNoody burger… and bring back some lunch." He knows Marcus will grab something non-meat based for Kassandra. "Is the lift working properly yet?"

"Yeah, I got it fixed earlier today, according to your designs."

Chuckling, Kass will wave to Marcus and look around again, eyes going back to the designs. "Actually, cleaning things up and getting to code, getting supplies and restocking .. all that will likely take as long or longer than raising the funds. Given how many of us there are, .. it's a lot of work."

Johny nods to Kassandra. "Yeah. Luckily, we have some experts on staff. Can you imagine Hitomi being told she has a secure location she can masturbate with a computer server with?"

"I pray I never actually have to imagine that, no. But I take your meaning." She grins, looking around. "A place for everything, fairly sequestered, we can secure it. It'll make a nice meeting place and fall back location, and we won't have to drag everyone to someone's home, we can have an actual office and base. This will be nice, once all the hard work is over."

Johny nods, calling the elevator up. A red light in the ceiling comes on, a small klaxon sounding… The floor slides away, two blast doors lifting up on hinges and raising in to the air, revealing the 5 meter by 5 meter main lift. Thats 16 feet by 16 feet. More than enough to park a car in.

Staring, Kass remarks, "And we can apparently drive around in the base .. so Ally and I can have bumper cars!" She grins and thrusts a fist in the air, "Yes!"

Johny stares at the woman for a long moment. "Bumper cars…" He shakes his head, taken in by her laughter. "You crazy kids. Come on, I'll show you the bowels. Some of the works done… some's not."

The elf nods and follows, mentioning, "We don't have any bumper cars. And we don't drive *that* well yet. But one day, maybe, if we get bored we'll think on it. I imagine there are other opportunities for mischief." Kass grins and winks, "Show me the hours of toil ahead of us."

Johny steps on to the main elevator platform, triggering it to head down. It is a smooth ride, if somewhat industrial in its design. "I've got maglocs coming in… Biometric retinal scanners, to get to any sensitive areas. High class, but not quite milspec. Rating 9's. The first level, is the admin and comms level." He stops the elevator at the first sub level, which shows the most signs of activity. The most effort and work. "Two private offices… ones going to be mine, everyone else can shove off.." A pause. "Then the conference and communications rooms right down this hall. Come on."

"Mark nines are nothing to sneeze at. They'll keep out most of your scrubs and even some good runners. A good thief can crack them, but locks are more of a nice way of saying 'leave my stuff alone' and slowing them down for other measures." Kass moves along, listening and nodding, "Your very own office that you don't have to pick up and carry around. You can even put up those motivational posters with the cats on a rope that are so popular."

She hmms, nodding and looking around. "Our own meeting room? We should get a nice table and some of those chairs designed for each person's butt and back. Those are supposed to be the in thing in the corporate world. I guess the other office will be a floater .."

Johny nods. "The other office is as-need. I want to get a holotank… I've got some Sensors on order… we'll have full information mastery of our environment out here."

Johny steps in to the semicircular room that will be the main conference room. Wires are everywhere, but lighting is installed and tape marks the ground where things will be going.

"That'll be nice to actually have some information. Some of our data has been … lax. Of course, that is the way of the shadows and government and corporate worlds, but .. the mushroom treatment gets old." Kass looks over the work that has been done, her mind's eye painting what she'd like to see and then fading again. "A lot of work."

Johny glances at Kassandra. "A lot of investment." He counters. "A lot of fun work. A lot of bonding and effort. I mean, look at this place. It wont' be a place we buy. It won't be a place we just rent. It will be ours, from blood, sweat and tears."

Teasing, Kass remarks, "You say that now. Wait till Lil wants to put Victorian paintings and pink paint in one of the rooms, or Hitomi decorates the ops room with tentacle porn, or you are locked in here for twenty-seven hours straight painting with us all. Oh, then you will be begging for mercy."

Johny snickers quietly as he leads her in to the Ops room. Wires, wires everywhere. A bank of monitors half installed, hand painted signs showing where things will go. "We're going to have an intra-net, connected to the matrix but with a physical kill switch unconnected to the matrix. The security systems will route in here, to a Server Hitomi will be adding in… They will be unconnected to the matrix -at all-… our uplink will be satellite."

Kass considers the room, the information. "That seems to make sense, although .. if we lose the dish, we lose access to the trix, neh? Anyway to add a secondary backup physical line or a second dish in case of failure? Not that *I* need it, mind, but just in case?" She shrugs a little, "Otherwise, this all looks good to me. More your and Hitomi's thing."

Johny hrms. "I dislike hardlines. To easy to trace. But… you have a compelling point." he says with a huh. "Anyway, lets go on out to the next floor, the recreation commons." he says, leading her back down the bare hallways… You really could almost drive a car down the 6.4-foot wide hallways. Almost.

"Recreation would be nice. Ought to finish that early on so we have a place to blow off steam." Kass nods to that, running a finger along the wall as they walk. "Underground, that will cut out some of the need to magical protections, although wards inside are a must in case there is penetration. Alternating blast drop downs would be nice too, sectional defense. Maybe passive defenses linked into the fire suppression system. Haylon works wonders and you get a two for the price of one bang for your buck. Or more, if they have fire elementals."

Johny nods to her as they walk… "The blast doors are an uncertainty. Not sure how many of them are operational, but I'll do my best. As to wards, I want the entire place warded. You can astrally move through earth, Ally tells me, and if it can be done, it will be done. With the Vault level at the bottom… well… I want to be certain nothing gets in or out."

"Oh yes, it can be done. Ought to look into seismic sensors as well. Someone will try to dig their way in too, using elementals or tech or a spoon." Kass remarks, "I would, in any case, so we have to assume that people will be as sneaky as we are. Then again, we throw people out of helicopters too, so we may not be a good measuring stick. As for the doors, what we can't salvage we can scrap and go steal from some place. That ought to be an interesting op .. just steal a door."

Johny grins to Kassandra. "Man, that would be a blast." Get it? Blast? He chuckles, moving back to the main lift to head down another floor. "It would be pretty awesome, I have to say. I want to see the look on their faces. "Hey, wasn't there a 60 ton blast door here a few minutes ago?"

Grinning wide, Kass nods. "See, now you are in the spirit of it! Just like .. I want to go steal some fencing some day, since they keep all the monowire on a spool at the bottom of Fort Knox or something, but everyone uses it on corporate facilities and zero zones. So I am just going to go lift a few hundred feet one afternoon."

"I'd love to come along. I may even know a few places to find it." He says, leading the woman then down the 16 meter walk to the rec room. This area has more 'actual' work done. It's been painted and insulated, areas sectioned off with tape to mark where things are going. Electronics are in boxes, set to the side. It's easy to see Sam's probably done about a quarter million dollars of renovations on his own. "This room is pretty big, over there will be the galley… a library and trid station over there… over there, will be some other stuff. Torn on opening a level for ritual and magical study, or incorporating it here. The back door there… will be a barracks style multi bed sleep room for tired folk, and that one there, will be a hotel room styled private quarters, for longer term guests or someone who lives on site."

Turning this way or that, Kass nods, "We'd love to have you come along. Fencing is heavy and I am only so big. Someone big and strong to do the lifting is a dream." She winks, nodding to the level explanation. "Might save the magical studies and ritual level till later and install some permanent circles or whatever. They could come in handy .. Ally isn't much of a summoner, but I think Breeze is. Not sure about the others, or any new people we get." She looks off to where the rooms are, "Someone should probably live here full time, maybe Hitomi. Just to keep an eye on things."

Johny nods. "I was thinking about doing it myself, but Hitomi may be a good fit… We can also build a house up top, too… I was thinking about that. Building a mid-range house up top that draws attention from the silo itself."

"Huh, that might not be a bad thing either. People wouldn't expect there to be a big ol' place under a regular house."

Johny nods to Kassandra. "Exactly. It also gives vehicles a reason to enter the area. Makes kind of no sense to have cars going out to an old hill.."

"Well, yes, that is true. Having cars just zooming in and out of here draws a lot of attention." Kass hms, shrugging. "It is definitely something to look into."

"The land around us, is a nature preserve. I can probably swing a ranger station… that would be organic."

"Heh. Can you see Hitomi in a ranger outfit, tho?" Kass grins, shaking her head, "Can get a ranger truck too with no problem, maybe have a cabin people can rent out. 'tomi can be some crazy writer or programmer out here for the love of the land and peace and quiet. Something. I'm sure you are better with cover IDs."

Johny shrugs, taking a moment to look around the rec level again before turning back for the lift. "I'm decent. I'm a user, not a manufacturer however. It's cheaper to buy them usually, than it is to build them." he says simply.

"Oh yes, definitely. I have a few people who can construct if we have to, and I am sure that Hitomi can reach out and make the necessary changes herself. She's pretty capable." Kass shrugs good-naturedly, following back to the lift.

Johny moves past the lift, on to it. "We'll come back to the Gym level later. It's almost entirely unfinished… I'm taking us down to the Vault Level. This is where the real interesting shit will be." He says simply, hitting the down button on the lift.

"Gym, ugh. I have to work out later, don't remind me." Kass shakes her head, "And now I have another few thousand calories from the frozen coffee to work off too. Interesting stuff?"

Johny chuckles as they bypass the 3rd sub level.. and stop on the bottom level… "Well." Says he. "This is the armory and artifact storage. If its dangerous and we need to keep it out of peoples hands… it will end up here. It's also where we keep the guns."

"At least some of the guns, anyway. And a place to put important things is good. A well that we can cement off might be better, just in case we have something like that stupid book to have to deal with. Don't want it talking to people" Kass shudders.

Johny shakes his head. "Yeah. Stuff like that, will go to the DIMR immediately… but we may find other stuff we want to have on hand." He says, walking down the halls. These halls are more reinforced than the others. "This used to be fuel storage."

"Ah. Well, then it should be much more secure and hardier, that much is certain. Still, might want to have this area locked to .. um .. I am not sure the designation to use, but only to certain people. Don't need just everyone wandering in and playing with things. I can set up the armoury, but I'll want it done in a neat and orderly fashion, and people playing with the toys will be .. irritating." Kass laughs a little, then shrugs, "That was sort of conceited, I guess. Just used to dealing with weapons and I have a certain way of doing things."

Johny nods to Kassandra. "This level is restricted to me, You and other full watchers, with my or your approval. This is not where we come to hang out, shoot the shit, rub one out or anything like that. This level is off limits."

"Ah! Good, good. I've seen too many people come play in the weapon's lockers over the years. Mercs were bad about that, and then we'd have missing pieces to guns, or stuff checked out and we'd be without whatever we needed. Just poor form."

Johny nods. "Last thing I want is someone monkeying around with my guns. My guns! I care about them more than my ex wife, for Christ's sake. Fuck my wife, I don't care, but DO NOT touch my guns!"

She laughs, shaking her head. "Well, I am not that bad about it, but I hate to organize things and then come back to find a mess. And I know this crew, people are .. used to just doing whatever. And that won't cut it if we are trying to be organized."

Johny chuckles. "I agree. I know. I'm just… trying to be light. This is the domain of -professionals-, to put it bluntly, when no one else can hear, Kassandra. I don't want Slinger or Ally or any of the less security minded down here without an escort. It's just that simple."

"I understand. And I think we can work on that. Ally, for instance, is getting a lot better. I know you all think we are flighty, but really, we are working on things together. I am teaching her what I know, and she is remembering some of the police training they drilled her on." Kass quiets a moment, "That was sort of defensive of me, sorry. But I take your meaning, and we'll have to have a talk with folks and let them know what is expected."

Johny shrugs. "Defensive is Okay. It reminds me she's growing. I know she's not a child. I know she worked for Lone Star for a time. That actually, was kind of funny. She got popped on a run so Lone Star made her work for them. Clever, if you ask me. I don't mean to disparage any of them, but few of them know how critical 2 seconds can be when looking for the right weapon. You do. You know those two seconds on the deployment are life and death. And you plan accordingly."

"Yeah, she told me about that. It sounded like an interesting experiment. And as far as she and everyone else goes, we can work with them and explain *why* it is important, why groups do this sort of thing. Training is important, showing why instead of just saying do it .. learning that with Maya, even now." Kass nods, reseating her cap. "Just have to put it in terms some of them can understand .. this is a pretty smart group here."

Johny nods. "For the most part, the cream of the crop." He says with a smile. "So." He pause at the lift, looking back to Kassandra. "When are we going to go get you hitched?" He asks, tilting his head a bit. "When you gonna make an honest woman out of my girl?"

Kass stops and then blinks, looking to Johny, "Well .. we haven't set a firm date. At this point, we were half-way thinking about just running off and eloping. Ally has suggested that whatever we were going to do we'd do at the end of the month, on or around my birthday or into May." She shrugs a little, toying with her ring, "She .. that is we .. haven't really decided. Things have been all atwitter and with Ally's hours at the hospital and other things .."

Johny nods to Kassandra. He raises one finger, pointing upward, pontifically… "Do you want my opinion, Kassandra? I know you get a lot of unsolicited advice, so I'm trying to only give you mine when you ask for it… to many mouths, not enough thought."

"I'll listen to your opinion. I may not follow it all the way through, but I'll at least listen." Kass shrugs, adding "We've tried to keep it quiet so as not to bother everyone. I know we are .. um," she considers, "high strung, at least as far as most think of us."

Johny shrugs. "I think you're scared more than high strung. This, is an American thing. Every girl grows up with visions of Prince Charming, because we are told growing up, we are all princesses. Disney and trids… every girl wants to be swept off her feet and married in the castle; and thats what the white dress, the big church, etc, comes back to. Displays of wealth and fantasy. I haven't had a chance to discuss it with Ally, but she may want some of that… but she may not. In the end, it comes down to this." He exhales, looking to his feet, then back to Kassandra.

"You and she don't need any of that to be happy. As honored as I would be to walk her down the aisle, ritual, in the end, is both for you, and for -us-, we being your external family. My first wedding, I eloped. Me and Julia just went to New York and got it done." he starts to go down a line of commentary, but pulls it back. "All you need to be happy, is each other. Don't do a big production if you don't want it. You can always get married small… then have a reception. Or…" He smiles wryly… "Do what my parents did. At five years, have a public re-vowing… with Maya as the ring bearer."

Nodding slowly, "Well, we've talked a lot about it. We know what we'd like, and we know the reality of the situation. She wants the nice dress and the fancy whatever .. but at the same time we're content with what we already have too." Kass frowns faintly, then shrugs and smiles, "In the end, I am happy to do whatever she wants. I want to be with her, and the dress and cake and decorations all *sound* fun, but it is a lot of work and ceremony too."

"I think we may just vanish for a bit and get married, relax with each other and then come back, and down the line when things are quiet we can have something and include Maya, like you said, include you and some of the others. It will likely be better for us in the long run, and for everyone else's well-being too. Because if we *did* go all out, we'd likely drive you all mad." She laughs at that.

Johny exhales. "Well, frankly." He says simply, leaning on the wall, then sliding down it to sit on the floor at the bottom of the missile silo… "There are people who handle these things. And if you drag me out cake tasting, I'm not going to mind much. You're talking to a man who flew to the Middle East to buy stones for Ally's Ring… I don't mind helping out. Use an outsider; not Lilith. Never mix business and pleasure; always have someone outside the group you can blame if things go poorly."

"Oh, definitely. I like Lilith, but .. our tastes are very, *very* different." Kass shakes her head, "Clothes, food, and so forth. I may not have studied in London or wherever, but I have been around society just a tiny bit. Plus, one of my friends used to be in the wedding business before she started her own shadow work. I imagine she could give me some pointers."

"Still .. we may just come back and have a little party, or something, after it is all done. I .. well, I want to get it done. After the .. trip .. we all took, I just want it done." She frowns a bit, shaking her head.

Johny watches Kassandra then, a smile ghosting across his lips. "Why? Does a few words spoken make your love seem more real?"

"Yes. No. Both?" Kassandra shrugs a little, chuckling. "It matters as much as the ring or anything else. There is a certain .. well. As you said, the fairytale. The expectations we all have. Society tends to look a little better upon it than, "Oh, this is someone I am shacking up with. Say hi."

Johny nods again, letting his head roll back to lean on the cold wall. "I know what you mean. You want to be legitimate. You want to be real. You want to stand in society… So here… heres what I can offer you." he says, looking to Kassandra. "Give me some time… and I'll put together a wedding package for you. Several options you can pick and choose from. I'm offering to help plan this thing for you, handle the grunt tedium I can do in moments, that might take you longer."

Protesting, Kass shakes her head, "You already have too much to do that you don't need to fuss with us, with the base and other things, work, taking up the paperwork now that Alex is gone. Plus, we probably don't need much. It isn't like either side is going to be filled to overflowing with people coming to see us get married."

Johny raises an eyebrow. "Are your protestations because you think it would be to much work for me, Kassandra… or because you don't want me too. I need to know now, before I counter your arguments."

"Which suggests that you have a counter ready for either side of that." The elven girl shakes her head, "I am protesting because you already spend way too much of your time worrying about whatever silliness we two get into, and while we appreciate it, it isn't our desire to be some sort of never ending burden to you, just take take taking. Houses, cars, swords, defense, … We take an awful lot of your time, resources and attention."

Kass frowns, twisting at the ring on her finger, "I don't know. I can't say I wouldn't want you to, but at the same time I don't want you to bother with it. We should be able to take care of it ourselves." She shakes her head, "And I can't make a final decision without Aladriel's input."

Johny glances down to the Ring, a smile coming to his lips. "I understand. The offer is there. I'd discuss it with Ally… but I'm loath to take her time from you when she's not working… She works far too hard."

"She does. She is very good at it, too, very focused at both magic and medicine these days. She makes me feel bad for not working harder sometimes. I'm looking into some courses while I sit at home, try and get a degree in some honest work." Kass smiles a little, "Speaking of working too hard, I can think of someone else who does a lot of that and needs more playtime."

Johny mmms quietly, looking to her, an eyebrow raising. "Do I have to send someone a 'go away' note for a few days? Whats up?"

"Heh. I was talking about you." Kass stops herself from fidgeting with the ring, "Just seems like you have jumped back into working full tilt."

"I'm low on cash. I'm low on distractions. I gotta do something with my time or my Pay Per View porn subscription is going to eat me out of house and home."

"I need work thats not saving the damn world every 2 days."

Kass laughs, nodding, "I can certainly agree with that. Saving the world is soooo tedious after a few times." Kass buffs her nails on her shirt, giving a ho hum look. She laughs again, shaking her head, "If you want to work, though, that isn't bad thing. Just want you to have some time to relax too."

Johny grins then, looking back to the woman. "I am relaxing. This is the biggest model I've ever built. I mean, it's awesome. How many people have a 1/1 scale model of a nuclear silo?"

"Ha! Well, you now have something to write into both 'Modeling Monthly' and 'Evil Overlord Weekly'. Not every team can have their base in an old nuke silo." Kass giggles, "Everyone has their own relaxations, I guess."

Johny grins as he stands back up. "I wouldn't know what to do with myself, if I cut myself off from the info feeds and went to the beach, Kass… I… it's very uncomfortable. Very -distracting- in its own way."

"I have the opposite thing. I've managed to get rid of the distractions for the first time in .. a long time. And now I *can* sit at the beach and just relax." Kass hms, "Which can be a definite problem as well, I guess."

Johny smiles. "I've been this way for so long, its my reality. It's who I am, not an addition to who I am, if that makes sense?"

"It makes sense, in many ways." Kass shakes her head, "Like I said, I can't deal with that reality anymore, anymore than Hitomi could cope if you cut her off from the trix, or you the same. It's just a matter of hobbies and thoughts."

Johny nods, stepping on to the Lift. "Poor kid's going to shit a brick when her abilities start to fade."

"Probably so. If she gets lucky, she may live a while before that happens .. although it'd be a kindness in a way to have it happen soon so she can adjust." Kass shakes her head.

"Some might think so. I don't know. I've got some theories on what Otaku are, but it's hard to get any data, I mean, it's not magic. It's not science. It's something in between."

"Sounds like us. We are the grey zone between it all. Who knows, maybe one of these abandoned Nazi bases or creepy houses will have some sort of clue, some sort of information. It can't *all* be fighting uglies from Beyond." Kass toys with the zipper on her jacket, shrugging.

Johny nods. "I agree. I've got some interesting data from that dig site by the way. We may need to return there fairly soon." He says, engaging the lift to bring them back to the surface level, some 200 feet over their heads.

"Oh? That could be .. interesting. I'll have to pack better this time." Kass chuckles faintly, looking around the elevator. "We need to nice this up too, get some music playing in here."

Johny quirks an eyebrow. "Music? In here?" He asks curiously. "Odd choice."

"It's a kind of elevator, no? It should have music. I think there is a law somewhere that says that." Kass grins, shaking her head. "These are the things I think up when I talk with Maya for sixteen hours a day."

"You need to get out more." He says then, engaging the hydraulic lift. "I mean, really, on a certain level, all the solitude isn't good for a person."

"I go out all the time! We go to the store, to the mall, I went to the Zoo the other day, to the museum." Kass shakes her head, "I do *normal* things. I've been in slums in Cairo, in high class bars in New York, and all sorts of other places. I like solitude. Heck, I am not even alone, I have Maya, and now the dogs. More company than when I was hiding in my apartment months ago."

Johny shrugs then. "Fair enough. Fair enough." He says as the lift comes back to the Garage level, where Marcus is just returning with lunch and drinks. "I thought… this place might be a good fusion. A fusion of technological necessity… and wilderness beauty."

"It is very pretty, and a good place for people to meet up. Saves us having to meet in your living room or whatever, and it feels .. nicer here." She shrugs. "I mean, I won't be living here or anything, but it will be nice to visit. It's very .. defensible."

Johny nods to Kassandra. "I pointedly did not design living quarters in the classic sense. I need the watchers.. ENGAGED… out there." he gestures out the door, in to the city. "I need them… human."

Kass nods quietly, "Hopefully this will work out well for us and we'll get more out of it than some sort of building." She nods again, looking around. "Hopefully."

Johny nod to Kassandra. "Yeah. I agree. I could have bought a stuffer shack with a back room if I just wanted a place to meet privately. Would have been vastly cheaper. I want a place for the team to call home, not for the members to call home… if that makes any sense."

"Oh, it makes sense. This .. is not my home, and won't be. But it is where I come to work." Kass shrugs, "I understand what you mean. And we're .. working hard, Ally and I, to separate home and office. It's still early yet, but I think we're going to do OK, and everyone else will fall into place."

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