Photon 1

Another late night in the garage, Jennifer thought, actually rather pleased at the idea. It was quieter now and she could really take her time. The car was a classic too. Early 2030s, a fossil burned converted over to C2. All the line and style of the days, not like the Nipponese rice burners most people drove today. Slipping the VR visor over her eyes she reached out with gloved hands. The waldoes mimicked her motion, but with much more strength and finer size, exploring the depths of the engine block. The display scrolled with as the slavebot changed position in response to her mental commands. Jerry spared no expense with the VR rig so she had full tactile feedback. It was like being there… almost. Ahh, there was the problem. Jam in the manifold. Calling up the micro pliers she started to adjust the small part when a loud crash from the back of the shop startled her.

Jennifer's head whipped around. What the…? She did manage to stop herself from making any sudden hand movements that probably would have done severe damage to the engine. She quickly set the rig to standby, set the visor down, and approached the source of the noise.

It's not like I can sneak up on whatever made that noise, she thought. This aura of mine has its disadvantages. She stuck her head around the corner. Her eyes widened. There was a ripple in the air–there was no other way to describe fading away as they sped from a shimmering portal the snapped shut as she watched. Laying at the foot of a collapsed pile of crates was a man in a dark suit, semi-conscious.

How'd he get here? Oh well… Despite his semiconscious state, years of habit made her approach him cautiously. She quickly looked him over, checking for distinguishing features, obvious injuries, and the like.

He was dressed in a dark bodysuit, the right leg glistening with blood seeping though a hastily applied pressure compress. Something about his face looked familiar.

She blinked, looking at his face for a moment, trying to figure out where she'd seen him before. Not that it mattered, at least not right now. She carefully dragged him a short distance away from the crates, then ran to the back to grab the first aid kit.

Jennifer did her best to reapply the compress–correctly–along with what first aid she could. She then sat back on her haunches and waited for him to come around.

"What are you doing to me? What do you want?" the man grunted out.

"What I'm doing is administering first aid," she replied crisply. "You've got a wonderful-looking gash on your right leg; I've done what I can for it, and hopefully the pressure bandage is back on correctly. As for what I want… try some answers. For example, how'd you get in here?"… though she could make a very good guess about that… "and… dammit, who are you? I know I've seen you before."

"I'm someone who was running away from some people who were shooting and chasing me even though I don't remember doing anything to them or seeing them before. Sounded like they were talking Japanese but never caught any of it. I was minding my own business when I was shot in the leg. I got on top of a warehouse ran across I think I remember going thru a window but I'm not sure… Then I regain conscious and you're standing over me. What's your name?"

"My name," she said, "is Jennifer… and you still haven't answered my question–who are you?"

"My name is Doug. What are you doing here and how come I have the feeling I know you from somewhere? Also you know you have some oil on your nose? Also why are you so concerned for me?"