Sqkr No Sqking



Scene Title Sqkr no Sqking
Synopsis Jac leaves a message.
Date July 12, 2021

Elmhurst Childs' Residence

Jac's bedroom

“I think that’s…”

The image jiggles, bringing a bookshelf and the foot end of a bed out of focus for a couple of seconds. As it sharpens, a blurred chest and shoulders in a faded navy blue hoodie drops into view, followed by the face of Jac Childs, all with her blue eyes and mop of red hair. She stares straight ahead as her image clears, eyes bright, crooked grin set like she’s patiently waiting for something.

“Oh. Okay, there. Hi!” She lifts a hand and gives a short wave. “I’m… Jac,” she breathes an awkward laugh, “but this is your life. I decided to make this video so that… So in case I don’t get to tell you myself, you’ll know what happened. See, about a year ago I guess? Yeah, almost a year ago. You and some others got kidnapped and put into a simulation. There was a whole coverup,” she shrugs, looking vaguely uncomfortable for an instant, “and that’s where I come from. Hopefully you already know all of that.”

“We didn’t know it until… a couple weeks ago. I mean there were clues, obviously, but…” Jac looks aside, again looking briefly discomforted. “That whole time, we lived our lives thinking we were ourselves. Yourselves…” As her voice trails, somewhere outside of the image a cat mrows.

Something in shades of gray and black disrupt the image. What might be a hand passes from left to right. The tail end of a cat passes out of view as the picture comes back into focus. Jac stares off to the right with vexed amusement.

“She likes to sit right where I'm working. Anyway,” Jac sits back, attentive again, “I left you… just in case I’m not there… like a timeline of what you missed. You'll know where it is.. What I did when I thought I was you. I might have missed some things. Sorry.” She grins awkwardly, and turns. It takes a couple of seconds for the image to sharpen. “I left all your things where you kept them, except your bed and desk. Those got swapped in your room. Not sorry.”

“Um…” She turns slowly back around, and the image stays in focus showing a sobered expression. “I hope… I hope that we get to meet. If we don't though… well, now you won't be so lost,” she grins a little sadly. “Um… but also? Find Agent Byrne, at SESA. He will help you. You can trust him.. And… and maybe talk to your mom. And Peter. I mean it's okay to be mad but… you should think about talking to them. About Detroit and…”

“And… and that's it. Hopefully… hopefully I'll actually get to see you.” Jac leans forward and the image blurs and darkens for a second. Then her hair and eyes reappear, sideways, “Bye!”

Jac spins around one time as she sits back in her chair. Her feet settle on the floor as she comes back around to face her desk and the frozen image of herself on her laptop screen. For a long minute she stares at the screen without actually seeing it, lost in her thoughts until Smudge jumps onto the back of her chair and bunts heads.

“I know,” she answers quietly. Her head tilts to one side so she can look at the cat. Fingers are offered for cheek rubs as a final distraction before addressing the computer. Leaning forward again, Jac drags her fingers across the trackpad and brings up the save menu. She hesitates for another minute then types


Jac clicks on the save button, and her eyes flicker to the corresponding icon on her computer desktop. Another click of the mouse closes the program and shows a data transfer bar at 100%. She drags over the memory card image to the trash can and ejects the flash drive before pulling the small USB connected stick from the port.

As she stands, Smudge leaps from the back of the chair to the bed where she makes herself right at home. Jac barely gives the cat a glance and kneels on the floor beside her desk. A loose floorboard is worked free, revealing some trinkets of sorts, a neat colored rock, some glass marbles, several hand drawn maps creating a bed for the hilt and remnant of a sword. The flash drive is added to the collection and, after a minute, Jac eases the floorboard back into place.

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