Title: Linking 1/4
Fandom and Pairing: Niantic / Ingress – Misty Hannah, Dr. Devra Bogdanovich, ADA
Timing: This takes place On July 14, 2013, the day after the #Voynich event
Disclaimer: Niantic/Ingress are the property of Niantic Labs and Google. No infringement intended.
Character thoughts appear between ~ ~ symbols
Text typed on a screen will be italicized and underlined.
Author's Note 1 – So, my first Niantic fanfiction, why? Because there are some strong women in this story and I want to explore their stories even more. I've tried to stay true to what we know, but yes, I have bent much of this to my story. So take it as you will.
Author's Note 2 – I try to reference canon material where possible. This is based on the events associated with Ingress and The Niantic Project. Dr. Devra Bogdanovich, a quantum biologist/physicist and former head of the Physics department at Stanford University as well as the former head of the Niantic Project, has escaped from the Niantic Lab in CERN (and the NIA security agency who have been tasked with trying to keep the Niantic secrets) and established her own secret lab to try and study Exotic Matter (XM) and to counter the studies of other labs. With her are Hubert Farlowe, an ex NIA agent who has been exposed to massive doses of XM and also is running from the agency and has decided to protect Devra however he can. ADA is the project AI that has grown in ability and may be truly aware. Misty, a con woman, magician and more, was one of the project subjects and also escaped from the lab, running from her own demons. She has an ability to hyperthread or somehow move through the portals that are associated with XM. There is so much more to the Niantic story, please look up Niantic project dot com and also the sclarp Niantic wiki or contact me for more information.
Linking – Chapter 1
She turned a page in her private data journal, staring at yet another column of numbers, her focus straying from the data to other thoughts and actions. She had done it, by God she had. She'd also been reprimanded by Pevtsov. Not so much for what she had done and said, but more she'd not properly cleared it.
"Devra, what are you doing?" her voice rang out in the large lab room, almost startling her as she'd not intended to speak. That was becoming a habit the last few months, doing things she had not intended, or planned. Impulse seemed to rule her as much as her scientific process and habits she had spent most of her life developing and honing.
She closed the journal, her fingers running over the name on the front, 'Dr. Devra Bogdanovich'. She dropped her reading glasses on the journal, a necessity in the last month as she'd been spending countless hours pouring over tiny charts of numbers, computer readouts and other collected data. Stretching her arms over her head, her hands caught as they pulled through her loose ponytail. She'd kept personal maintenance to a minimum as all of her time was focused on the lab. Starting it up, setting protocols into play, collecting and analyzing data and all the administrative minutia that was called for day in and day out being the "head" of a secret scientific lab and project.
That brought a sarcastic laugh out, the sound ringing off the machines and equipment. Was she really the head of anything? She'd been given that title before. And had learned that was all it was, a title. She a mere figurehead brought in for her scientific knowledge and most likely to be the fall guy when the Niantic Labs and the projects they were engaged in were discovered. Exotic Matter, or XM, was a fire waiting to burn all who touched it and the Niantic Lab had sought to understand and tame the fire; collecting scientists, sensitives and personnel together to chase after the meaning of XM. She'd been lulled by the prospect of discovery and potential to unlock data she had been chasing for years.
Waking up from her scientific chase of the elusive data, she had fled Niantic, burned by what it was becoming. She left behind one secret lab studying XM to end up with Pevtsov and his company, Visur. Once again designated the head of a project to study XM, but this time she hoped more than a figurehead. That had been part of the reasoning behind the letter she sent out. Not just to speak to those immersed in this XM world, but to test the leash she was on, how long and tolerant was it really?
A beeping sound disrupted her thoughts and she looked around to find the source. The lab was dark, only the emergency lights and glow from the never sleeping computer servers illuminating the room. Devra had established from the beginning a private time in the lab for her and her alone. Creating a time each day, well on the days when she could pull herself from the mad cascade of events, to be alone in this lab, working through her private thoughts and side experiments. It had been a condition of leaving everything else open to her backer and Visur. The reason for her journal tied into this as it was not digital; Devra had learned the hard lesson that anything digital was never private.
She got up, checking the small XM chamber, a much smaller version of what Niantic had created at the CERN facility. She paused, memories of Epiphany night pushing into her mind, stirring up the guilt as they always did when haunting her. "I am so sorry Jarvis," she whispered as her fingers instinctively ran over the console, another part of her mind clicking through the checklist to see if there was an issue.
It was not your fault Devra.
Devra stood, frozen, shocked even as a part of her knew she should not be caught off guard. She stared at the small terminal that normally displayed one of the many cameras that they had set up to monitor the chamber, the screen dark except for the single sentence.
"So, you are still with me." Devra said, her voice a whisper. She could not resist and looked around, almost wondering if she would see a form behind her. Somehow the thought of ADA had risen beyond a mere digital presence as the computer AI always seemed to be near her, her special guardian angel watching and tampering with her life and existence.
Why would I not?
"What do you want?"
Did I express a need?
"I have found when someone contacts me out of the blue, they want something," Devra replied, her voice lined with a weary resignation. "I'm still waiting for someone to come to me with nothing wanted or needed."
I will note that.
Devra starred at the screen, waiting for more dialogue. A full two minutes passed, no additional contact filling the screen. "ADA?"
There are complications. She needs help. Will you help her?
"Who is she?" Devra asked, her face twisting into a frown as she realized with that question she had already committed, damn it.
Misty. She would not listen. Now she is trapped.
Devra opened her mouth to speak and then closed it, unprepared for that response. She had followed the escape of Misty with great interest, drawn to the event as it linked the women in a sense that both had found the need to escape the prison of the Niantic Project; both had gone on to follow their own paths after, each path still tied, welcome or not, to XM.
"It is not easy for me to travel these days. It is very dangerous and," she stopped as another sentence scrolled across the screen.
She is coming to you. I can not complete the journey. You can.
"ADA, Ilya has security everywhere. The thought of bringing someone in here, I can't," again Devra's protest was drawn short by ADA.
Hyperthreading, you two are linked through the events of Epiphany Night.
Devra tried again, like a child pushing at every angle to get out of a chore. "As soon as I fire anything up, I'll have everyone in here, it'll be recorded and I will have to probably kiss my ass goodbye."
Devra let out a small gasp as she jumped, her hand closing around a clipboard lying on the console, bringing it up and brandishing it as she twisted to face the person that had addressed her.
The former NIA agent chuckled, putting his hands up, "Ok, I surrender, just do not fire that thing, ok?"
Devra brought her trembling hand down, managing a small smile. "Bert, you really should not go around scaring me like."
"Doc, I go around scaring myself with a lot of what I do these days, it's the nature of the beast."
Devra's smile softened, understanding just how much Hubert Farlowe's life had changed, just as hers had. It seemed XM changed everything it touched. She brushed a lock of her bangs to the side and tried to step surreptitiously to the side to block the terminal screen. "What do you need?" There was that pesky word again, need.
"I think it's more what you and Misty need."
Devra took in a breath, the clipboard falling to the counter, the noise lost on the physicist as she kept her focus tight on Hubert.
"She gave me the idea that since you need to get this portal chamber fired up, but bringing it online officially will bring all the dogs to bay, well, she thought I might be able to give it enough of a jumpstart, off the record, to get done what needs to be done," Hubert explained.
"She? Oh God."
"Not sure he figures into this, or maybe he does, but, I'm here to help you Doc," he shrugged and gave the older woman a smile.
Devra brought her fingers to her temple, massaging the throb that was building. "Why not?" she gave a nervous, almost frenzied laugh. "What have I got to lose?"
Everything and nothing.
"So is that a yes?"
"That Bert is an I don't hell know anymore half the time and the other half is an exciting journey."
Hubert chuckled as he came over, giving the doctor a pat on the shoulder. "Ok, I'll take that, ready?"
"Ready? You mean now?" Devra stepped back, glancing at the screen and the previous message from ADA. Everything and nothing, yin and yang, every up has its down.
Nodding, Hubert moved to the chamber, closing his eyes and taking in a deep breath as he let go.
Watching the ex-agent, Devra moved to the front of the chamber, uncertain what to expect. She tugged on her lab coat, trying to use the action to channel the nervous energy she felt building. Along with the nervous feeling, a thrilling rush began to build; a disquisitive feeling that drove her, taunted and tantalized her with the prospect of finding an answer, learning something new, making a discovery that would lead to yet another curious journey. Quietly she stood, her only motion the almost rhythmic pull of her fingers along the edge of her coat. Anyone watching from the edges would have seen nothing happen as the seconds stretched to minutes. Many may have lost patience or given up or assumed nothing was going to happen. Devra was not like most. She had an internal patience that had fitted her scientific manner perfectly. A patience that had carried her through many long nights on the SETI project, endless runs of an experiment with only slight variations to test every possible instance. Patience was something a good scientist had, and a great scientist could manipulate.
She would never be sure if it was a physical cue, mental cue, or a connection on some realm not yet defined, but a change began to flow through the lab much like the first breath of a wind that runs in front of a coming storm. The physical cue came in the form of light, a pale, green-tinged spark, It grew, slowly at first and then with exponential acceleration, wisps and shadows casting about the lab. Mesmerized her hand stayed its motion, all focus on the awakening portal.
At some point, the random patterns and cascading shapes began to coalesce, a faint remnant of what could be a face, or a body, or something completely different. Devra knew the human eye and mind was trained to find patterns it recognized and understood, a blessing and a curse in her line of work. Apophenia was something she fought every day. The need for the human mind to connect what it experienced always to something it knew. A blessing as it helped make those links needed in a study. A curse when it pulled a scientist away from the truth and towards a fabricated wish.
Devra watched the ghostly figure writhing and assembling in the XM fountain, the specter reminding her of Jarvis and the video footage she had watched of his attempts to contact others. But, this was not a video, this was something she had been hoping to witness since starting the Niantic Project and the potential of what XM and these portals could mean.
~Can't get out~
The voice, if Devra could call it that, not certain if her ears or her mind was processing this communication, seemed hallow and faint, yet the plea and desperation came through. The Doctor continued to stay rooted to the spot, uncertainty filling her mind for a nanosecond, that time also filled by a memory of her near death experience in the Škocjan Caves. Somehow, that memory acted as a spur in her side, or perhaps it was the XM, or, or something else. Whatever was the source, Devra took a large step forward, not thinking as actions, no reactions, began to take over.
Hand outstretched, knowing this was madness to continue to expose herself to XM, her hand passed through the stream and towards the misting figure. It was as if that was exactly what the portal, or the figure had been waiting for, the final decisive step by Devra, the choice. Her hand did not pass through the ghost, instead as she touched the edge of the shape, it solidified, becoming a hand that grasped Devra's in a firm handshake.
Suddenly Devra was falling backwards, a force pushing or perhaps spitting, Misty Hannah out of the portal and into Devra's arms. Both women stumbled and fell back, tangled in a solid mass of arms, legs and bodies.
"Hello Devra, long time no see."