Masks 17.2 - Emotional Core Revelation Technique [Cutscene]

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Mike
Pro
I haven't done one of these by myself yet, so I figured I'd give it a try.  Besides, I figure it'd be nice to actually show that the Concordance Shard is less "actively an asshole and belligerent" and more "alien."  I don't mean that as a knock against Doyce's handing of the character, far from it.  But when you've only got like twenty minutes (1/6 of 2 hours), most of the highlights come out as "belligerent asshole." Also that belligerent asshole needed a name so we could stop referring to it as the Shard. Enjoy. It was after eleven when the message came, "Agent Amari, you should be asleep." The Amari household was silent and dark. Teeth had been brushed. Ears cleaned behind. Pajamas changed into. But Adam was still awake, restless in his bed. Silently, Adam thought back to the voice in his head, "Why do you always call me Agent Amari? My name’s Adam." "Agent Amari is the designation the Concordance has recognized you as,” was the voiceless response that filled Adam’s head. “Names are imprecise. Names change based on context. Your designation is permanently echoed throughout the Universal Concordance." "Does that mean you don't have a name?" "Our designation while assigned to Agent Amari is Solaris-Gamma-Two." Adam made a quiet but unpleasant noise. Solaris-Gamma-Two noted that this sound was one that the Momma had made many times whenever an unsatisfactory answer was given. "Is Agent Amari unsatisfied with the designation given to this fragment of the Universal Concordance?" "No... It’s just that it is a mouthful." "We do not understand. Please explain." "Solaris-Gamma-Two just isn't... Look, my name is Adam Kiran Amari. Everyone doesn't call me Adam Kiran Amari every time they need me, they just call me Adam because it's all they need to say to get my attention. Or Amari. Or Lil’ Adam." “This is the imprecise, context-based natural of names that we referred to earlier. There are multiple Adam Kiran Amari, Adams, Amaris, and Lil’ Adams. There is one Agent Amari.” Adam did not respond. How could he. This was some weird alien… thing in his head. It didn’t understand him or his thoughts. And, as this night taught him, Adam didn’t understand it either. Adam dug deeper into his pillow and prepared to try and suffer through the sleepless night, but when another thought came from Solaris-Gamma-Two, "If it assists you in your Duties, you may refer to this fragment as Solaris." "Can I call you Sol? I have a friend named Solomon and everyone calls him Sol and it's kind of the same thing." The fragment known as Solaris-Gamma-Two did not respond immediately, and that confused Adam. The Concordance had done many strange things since bonding with Adam many months ago and even stranger things once it started talking to him directly. Uncomfortable silence was a new one though. "Is that okay?" Adam asked again. Though voiceless, the Concordance always projected and air of confidence and certainty. The Concordance did not question anything. It was certain about what it knew and about life, the universe… basically everything. While Adam was still learning to fully understand the Concordance, he thought it sounded uncertain in its response, as if it didn’t understand what or why it was answering. “This is acceptable.” Adam smiled. "Okay Sol, I have another question." “It is late, Agent Amari. Your curiosity is welcomed but you should be resting in preparation of your Duties tomorrow.” "I can't,” Adam responding in thought. As if in reply, Adam’s whole body shivered with an almost static sensation. “We are unable to find any biological reason for you to be unable to rest. Your Emotional Emanations are still heightened from earlier this evening. Are you unable to control your Emanations?” "I'm worried about Pappa." "There is no need for concern. We have already explained that our actions would never bring any harm to the Father without reason." For the second time tonight, Solaris was uncertain. It has truthful responded to the question presented to it, but Agent Amari’s Hatred Emanations were rising. When he responded, Adam’s thoughts were unfocused and accusatory. While Solaris had difficulty processing all of the thoughts, it did recognize one of the thoughts. One which it has used earlier: “Dissembling.” “We do not understand, Agent Amari,” Solaris said. “We are being Truthful. The Father is an important part of Agent Amari’s Emotional Emanations. Unless the Father acted--" “My dad wouldn’t do that!” Adam said aloud. Somewhere else in the house there was an errant tap on a wall. Momma Amari wasn’t awake, but she responded to any noise in the house on an almost subconscious level. Instinctively, Adam tensed up and grew very quiet. Solaris, however, was not impeded by this. “It is highly unlikely. The Father has a very high Self-Discipline. All of the Amaris do. But human Emotional Emanations are highly chaotic and able to overpower Self-Discipline. We experienced that hours ago.” Those last words carried with them the images of Jason Quill tearing through his car to try and get to Adam’s dad. Adam didn’t respond. He didn’t want to think about Jason or his dad anymore. It was enough to not think about how he would act when he saw Jason in person. It had made Solaris question if Jason was now considered an enemy. Adam didn’t respond to that question either. Adam lay in bed for fifteen, twenty, then thirty minutes, silent but not quiet in his mind. Thoughts sprung up and instantly faded away. Solaris was both concerned and conflicted. Agent Amari would be needed for Duty eventually and it was Solaris’ Duty to ensure that the Host was prepared. “Agent Amari, would you like to enter into the Regenerative State? While this is not a long-term substitute for human sleep cycles, other Agents use this function to remain active on Duty for several weeks at a time.  It will insure your restfulness and focus for tomorrow.” “Maybe? What does that do?” “It is a function where the host agent’s mind enters into a meditative state while the Concordance fragment performs needed biological repair and maintenance. We understand the host normally exits the Regerative state feeling ‘refreshed.’  It also allows for better communication between the Host and the Concordance fragment.” Adam didn’t know if he really trusted the Concordance all that much. It gave him power, but it was so completely incomprehensible at times. He didn’t know if it even understood what Adam might considered ‘refreshed’ to mean. But Adam was tired and sleep wasn’t coming. Momma wouldn’t understand why he’d tossed and turned all night. She understood his Duty the way Solaris did, she just had different ideas about what that Duty was. “I guess so,” Adam said dispassionately. “Excellent. We will guide you into this State. Please assume a comfortable position.” Adam readjusted himself. He wasn’t comfortable but he wasn’t uncomfortable as he would be with his head twisted into his pillow. As soon as he thought he’d gotten into an acceptable position, Adam’s view of the room disappeared and was replaced with darkness. And then... LIGHT! Every color imaginable swarmed around Adam. It’d be blinding if Adam was still seeing out of his eyes. Instead he felt these lights and colors pulse through him. Slowly, he began to realize that these lights and colors were him. “This your Emotional Core,” Solaris said. His “voice” was clearer now, more real than just thoughts and images. As if it had substance here. And where before it was just in Adam's mind now it rung out from this Emotional Core, the colors flashing and dimming in tune with it.  “These are the Emotional Emanations that this fragment subsists upon. Watch as the Emanations flow out and back into us.” Just as Solaris said the color flowed out and back into Adam, like a series of rainbow colored arches. As Adam took all this in, he saw other balls of color off in the distance; however, their colors did not swirl back into them. Many of them spiraled out into the distance until they simply disappeared. Other flowed to the adjoining balls. Some even flowed towards Adam. “Those are the Momma and the Midget. Your neighbors. Your nearby classmates. Everyone within this fragment's range with a connection to Agent Amari.  Their Emanations also flow from their Emotional Core. Most dissipate into the background, but some link them to others.   Truth.  Love.  Courage.  Hatred.  Want.  Fear.” “Watch their Emanations flow out to you. Watch your Emanations flow back to them. What we subsist on those not break these chains, merely eliminates the excess lost to the Ether. Watch and feel the interconnections. Learn how they flow and what they mean. Think on this.” Adam watched as the colors drifted about. He was lost in a sea of lights, unable to understand anything. On the edge of his awareness, something nudged around his mind. A half-thought idea. An understanding not quite clearly seen. Adam watched and thought and imagined and was. And then the colors receded and he was back in his room. The morning light was just barely peeking through the window blinds. Adam turned and looked at his clock. It read 5:59 for the briefest moment before flipping over to 6:00. The last several hours were a blur. He thought he remembered something about... colors or something. An ephemeral dream that faded the more he tried to focus on it.  But he did feel at ease. Not tense like last night. Adam's mind focused and hardened as it drifted over last night.  He knew Pappa would be home from work soon, so Adam rose out of bed and went to his closet to get dressed. He wanted to talk to Pappa about last night, the Concordance, the team.  About everything.  Momma would be furious when she found out what had happened and she had every reason to be--Adam had been when it happened.  But Poppa understood what Solaris referred to as Duty.  He knew what it was to be a Protector.  Adam had seen the pride tempering the anger in his father's aura when he spoke to Jason. He'd know what to do...
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OOC: "Emotional Core Revelation Technique" sounds like an Alchemical Charm from Exalted, which I half assume was deliberate. But I love me some Alchemicals, so I'm with it.
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Mike
Pro
Bill G. said: OOC: "Emotional Core Revelation Technique" sounds like an Alchemical Charm from Exalted, which I half assume was deliberate. But I love me some Alchemicals, so I'm with it. Considering that the use of the term "Shard" to describe the Concordance fragment empowering Adam is also meant as a shout out to Exalted*, consider this intentional.  I'm already trying to figure out how to work the terms "Prana," "Glorious," and/or "Kata" into the title of the next RP bit (whenever that happens). *Exalted and Stargate are my major sources of inspiration before the Concordance.  More on that second one later.
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Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
1. I love this and am taking notes. 2. I swear I was going for "alien with no social filter." but yeah, limited RP time so far, so yay notes!
This was really very cool. Seeing things (well, Jason) from Adam's perspective -- and from the shard's perspective -- was also quite neat. And helpful Also the Concordance vaguely reminds me of ... ... or maybe ... ... except not quite so easily turned off.
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Mike
Pro
*** Dave H. said: This was really very cool. Seeing things (well, Jason) from Adam's perspective -- and from the shard's perspective -- was also quite neat. And helpful Adam's perspective is definitely skewed at the moment. We're like a couple hours removed from Adam watching his friend looming over his dad in a very frightening manner (likely for all three involved).  He is still working on fear and anger (which is probably not helping Solaris' in the moment decisions). Solaris just saw someone act out of Anger and cause massive amounts of Fear.  Justice must be observed at this point (even if it just an apology, mostly depends on Adam's dad's reaction to all this).  Once that has been met, Compassion and Sacrifice can start to kick in.  If anything, (judging by the other thread) Jason's going to get back on the shard's good side before anyone else.  And then it'll start nudging Adam into going along the forgiveness route (tis a virtue after all). I'm just waiting to see this conversation with Adam's dad go down.  First he almost gets into a superpowered altercation with one of his son's friends, gets translocated across space, gets mobbed by coworkers when his son (in secret identity) shows up and makes a scene, and finally gets a call (least scene-causing scenario I can imagine) from Jason freaking Quill the tech industrialist and celebrity... and also the kid he almost drew down on.  To say this the most eventful shift in Office Amari's life would be an understatement. 
Adam's perspective is definitely skewed at the moment. We're like a couple hours removed from Adam watching his friend looming over his dad in a very frightening manner (likely for all three involved). I will take no bets as to who was the most terrified at that moment (or, say, three seconds later). If anything, (judging by the other thread) Jason's going to get back on the shard's good side before anyone else. Which Jason would never believe at this point. Which is, of course, half the fun.
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There's one other thing this made me think of... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G13KzEJqBw
Bill G. said: There's one other thing this made me think of...  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G13KzEJqBw That's perfect. Except for the question of who's actually flying this thing.
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Mike said: Considering that the use of the term "Shard" to describe the Concordance fragment empowering Adam is also meant as a shout out to Exalted*, consider this intentional.  I'm already trying to figure out how to work the terms "Prana," "Glorious," and/or "Kata" into the title of the next RP bit (whenever that happens). "What is this called?" "Translation proposition: 'Affective Kata'. Kata, a choreographed series of movements in your martial arts. Affective, having to do with the mood or with feelings. Summary: Agent experiences a structured stream of feelings, memories, and emotions. The phrase 'life flashing before your eyes' is relevant. Agent's emotional reaction to the stream inoculates Agent from distracting mental states during subsequent performance of Duty." "It sounds like doing an exercise to emotionally prepare myself for surprising or shocking stuff later on." "Revision to summary is judged accurate and accepted."
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Rereading this made me realize I'd love a recap from the Shard's viewpoint, reporting back to its superiors about all the weird shit that's happening on this blue-green marble.
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Mike
Pro
Bill G. said: Rereading this made me realize I'd love a recap from the Shard's viewpoint, reporting back to its superiors about all the weird shit that's happening on this blue-green marble. Done.  I wanted to do the recap anyway. 
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We also have Leo's question of "how do I confront the Concordance", because he wants to ask them things like "why aren't you training this kid or telling him anything". And I realized after Jason's talk with Adam's dad that maybe there's another way. Mr. Amari is a cop. He's partnered with people before. If he partnered with a rookie, what would he want to teach that rookie about the job? What would it be important to know? And... can he convey that experience of mentorship to the Shard in a way it would process? Can he make the Shard take the role of veteran partner to Adam's rookie? If Mike is down with framing the relationship in that style, it sounds to me like a very fruitful bit of conversation between him, his father, and the Shard.
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Mike
Pro
Bill G. said: We also have Leo's question of "how do I confront the Concordance", because he wants to ask them things like "why aren't you training this kid or telling him anything". And I realized after Jason's talk with Adam's dad that maybe there's another way. I've thought about this (thanks for bringing it up, I keep on forgetting about it), but I think I finally have the correct answer: "Question its shortcomings." Solaris is a broken, incomplete thing.  It has no idea how to deal with a nickname from a child trying to be friends with it.  Hell, it has no idea how to deal with its Host trying to make friends with it.  It is a fraction of its greater whole out of communication with the rest of its hive mind, save for essentially the factory default command about fifteen issues ago.  It's basically running on Emergency Protocols 24/7. Honestly, if Leo tried to get it to act as the veteran partner... well, Truth demands that it is not up to that task.  It can explain the owner's manual certainly, but it doesn't have any experience to back it up. As for it reconnecting with the rest of the Concordance... well, I'll leave that one to Doyce (commence evil GM hand motions now). That give you enough avenues of attack?
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It does, and I think there is still a place for Nassir in that, if you want.
Mr. Amari is a cop. He's partnered with people before. If he partnered with a rookie, what would he want to teach that rookie about the job? What would it be important to know? And... can he convey that experience of mentorship to the Shard in a way it would process? Can he make the Shard take the role of veteran partner to Adam's rookie?  And we'll call it  Adam-12 . Honestly, folks -- sometimes this stuff writes itself. (Also, Bill, brilliant observation, triple-punch-line notwithstanding.)
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Mike
Pro
My immediate reaction to this: My reaction after composing myself:
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God dammit.
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Doyce T.
Pro
Sheet Author
TRIPLE punch-line? *reads again, thinks* God Dammit.