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About Me

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  1. Diplomatic Disarray I With a near soundless whirr, the roller shades began to retract, baring the floor-to-ceiling windows that make up the East and North sides of the master bedroom. Warm, morning sunlight slid across the polished, honed pale grey slate of the floor. It rippled over the textured area rug, crawled up the low bed and the humped geometric-patterned goose-down comforter to caress an exquisite, golden tanned cheek. There was the rustle of magenta silk sheets - not nearly as slippery as people assumed, it depended on how they were woven - and with a luxurious sigh, Sean sat up, sheets and blanket sliding from her shoulders. She twisted around, bare legs extending off the side of the bed and stood up with a fluid lightness, her feet seeming to barely touch the floor. She woke with an instant and energetic vitality that exceeded even the first time she’d been a teenager. The ravishing, vivacious beauty sashayed through her walk-in closet, a silvery-lilac satin robe slipping over her shoulders with an unconscious thought and the precise manipulation of gravity, the sash tying itself loosely about her minuscule waist. Sean’s enticing lips bent wryly as she continued into the en suite, slate tiles transitioning to travertine. Just over six months a woman and a nova, and her closet was already full to bursting with clothing stitched specifically for her dramatic measurements or tailored to fit. Her personal atelier Seraphine was a wonder. Sean was sure she owned more pairs of footwear right now than she had in the last forty years all combined. While she had settled into the apartment Karen had found for her, one of the four apartments on the top floor of a residential tower, and had made her own touches on the place, she wasn’t sure it was home quite yet. She was too used to having a detached house to call her own. In her office and study, she had a large stack of sketches and floorplans for potential dream houses of her own design, both in hardcopy and on her computer. She had to admit, Karen had done well by her, by all of them. With the stipend she earned being sponsored by Chicago, as well as fantastic endorsement deals with luxury brands Karen had arranged - and taking her modest cut of course - along with some contract work for NovaStorm and elsewhere, and some modeling, Sean was nearly earning in a week what she had in a year She could afford to make her dreams real, what limits she’d once had were being left behind. Access to Deezy and her material wizardry offered all sorts of wondrous design ideas as well. In the bathroom, Sean stopped by the vanity, skipping past the large walk-in shower stall and the deep bathtub. A modest make-up bag contained her limited amount of cosmetics. She hardly needed them, but sometimes it was fun to glam up a touch, and she had found it relatively easy to get the hang of it, just a different application of painting miniatures, really. On the side of the raised sink was a barber kit. She’d learned over the months that she healed extremely rapidly, like, almost Wolverine level of regeneration. As a side effect, it seemed her hair and nails regrew to their new natural length while she slept. So a haircut only lasted a day - she’d gotten used to the nails. If she wanted shorter hair, it was more convenient to do it herself, and she’d gotten handy at it. Deciding on long hair today, she gave her hip-length a few licks with a brush. It rarely tangled and in moments, it gleamed rose-gold in a glorious tail, tumbling down to her ass as she tied it back with a silken band. Humming in self-satisfaction, she sauntered back into her bedroom, following the windows, passing the gap between the windows and the wall separating her room from the rest of the apartment, the frosted glass divider recessed into the wall, like it usually was, unless she had company. And even then… The apartment had an open floor plan, the modest, one wall kitchen separated from the dining room table and living room by a half wall that acted as an island. It was decorated in muted greys and deep browns and glossy blacks, a typically masculine look, but leavened by accenting splashes of colour and a patterned area rug for definitely feminine touch. The black leather sectional couch held vividly coloured pillows and an old, well maintained quilt draped over the back that her grandmother had made when she had moved out. Textured walls, glass-topped dining table and coffee table, along with the granite counter tops, stacked stone backsplash and dark wood cabinets and furnishings gave the place a modern, organic aesthetic, but with a few flourishes to lighten the minimalism. One entire wall was glass that opened onto a terrace balcony that wrapped all the way around her corner of the building. Other walls, leading to the front door and down the hallway to her office and bedroom held prints of architectural marvels and abstract or minimalist art, and framed posters of classic movies. Bookshelves bracketed a huge, flatscreen OLED TV mounted on the wall, game systems discreetly hidden away. Keesha, Sean’s four year-old golden retriever raised her head from her dog bed, tail thumping against the glass wall and the slate floor at her excitement at seeing her mistress. Sean grinned, cooing at her dog - Keesha hadn’t been tricked at all by her drastic transformation when she’d picked her up from the kennel, crouching down to scritch her behind the ears and under the chin. “Let’s get you breakfast, Princess,” Sean said, gliding towards the kitchen, a scoop of kibble floating from a cabinet to fill her dog’s food dish, her water bowl floating to the sink, the tap turning on under Sean’s gravitic command. “Alexa, music.” While Keesha started on her breakfast, Sean sang along to Mister Blue Sky, her hips swinging, her sweet, sultry soprano filling the apartment as she started on preparing her own breakfast, first with coffee. She perused her collection, selecting a pure Jamaican Blue Mountain. She’d become something of a coffee snob, well a food snob in general, a gourmand of sorts really, her enhanced sense of smell and taste urging her towards quality and variety. It certainly helped that she could make wormholes to collect the highest quality ingredients from the source. From once being an indifferent cook at best, she’d really taken to cooking now, as well as visiting all sorts of restaurants and food trucks, not just in Chicago, but all over the world. It didn’t have to a super high end or expensive restaurant, it just had to be good food. She’d been binge watching Anthony Bourdain shows when she could, and had been on an episode of The Chef Show with Jon Favreau, that had been fun. That was another thing any house she designed would need a much more expansive kitchen, more counter space, more cooking tops, bigger pantry, bigger fridge and freezing. A true industrial, restaurant quality. Putting together a really good meal was another type of architecture and as much as her interests had evolved, she hadn’t lost the delight in imaginative creation. As her coffee brewed, Sean prepped a frittata, cooking some maple-glazed bacon in the oven, sauteing mushrooms and other veggies in the grease. The stunning woman worked using her mastery over gravity than with her hands, knives and pans and veggies and deftly cracked eggs flying through the air under Sean’s lambent lavender gaze. When the iron-cast skillet full of eggs, Gruyere and Buffalo Mozzarella, bacon, mushrooms, red peppers and a few other things slid itself into the oven to finish over the next twenty minutes or so, Sean collected her big mug of coffee, inhaling the delicious aroma. Done with her breakfast, Keesha sat on her haunches, looking up at the tall, seemingly young, impossibly gorgeous woman with pleading amber eyes. Sean gave her dog a teasing grin. “I’ll take you for a walk in a bit. Let Mama have her breakfast and then a shower first, ‘kay?” Sean sauntered over the floor-to-ceiling windows, one panel sliding aside, and stepped onto the terrace. The morning chill brushed against her legs, the stone still cold under her bare feet, contrasting with the warm mug in her hands. She nodded at her other neighbor across the gap to his terrace, offering him a gracious, welcoming smile. She hadn’t really been friendly with her neighbors at her home back in Ottawa, despite having lived in the same house for ten years. Just a distant acknowledgment, only taking with them if they had to share costs to replace a fence or something. She was a great deal more outgoing and social now. Jack Langston was an old man, a retired service member who ended up as an exec in a number of companies. He’d been widowed for the last ten years, and couldn’t resist catching a glance at the unbelievably gorgeous young woman who had moved in next to him. Sean appreciated he kept his admiration subdued and respectful, and often chatted amiably with him during her morning coffee. His anecdotes from his time in the military and the business world were hilarious, and he seemed to appreciate Sean taking the time to listen to his stories, with his wife having passed on and his kids never visiting. She leaned on the raised, molded railing, savoring her coffee as she looked over the city. From where she was, she could just see a sliver of the sun rising above Lake Michigan. Dawn still only hinted at the warmth of day, but the sky was already clear and so very blue. Even in the middle of a metropolis such as Chicago, Sean could smell the season beginning to change. The chime from her laptop sounded, and she turned wondering who would be sending mail this early. She settled in her chair and scanned the news feed for headlines before checking the mail. Good, no Brigit or Dauntless sightings overnight, so she did go home like she said she would. That girl just does not know when to stop. Sean opened her mail program and saw an e-mail from the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Department of the Canadian government. She clicked and read. Not a lot of information in the text but it certainly looked official. They wanted to interview her on Monday, next week. Nothing about what. Just a date and time and an office in the C.D. Howe Building in Ottawa. How strange. Then her phone range. Sean’s eyes shifted to the clock and noticed that it had just turned eight o’clock. She picked it up on the third ring. “Hello?” “Good morning,” a smooth pleasant voice came through the phone and Sean could literally hear the smile, “ Is this Ms. Sean Cassidy? My name is Agent Carson with Homeland Security, I’m very sorry to bother you so early in the morning, and I know you’re a very busy woman but I was hoping that I could have a few minutes of your time?” ******** Earlier that morning… Brigit had gone home after dinner with Sean last night and after promising to go home and not go on another night patrol. Both Sean and Karen thought it a good idea for her to lay low for a bit until this lawsuit from Rene Espa could be sorted out. Brigit had gone home where she tossed and turned and when she did drift off to sleep, she dreamed of the fight and what she had done to Espa. Rene Espa had been a champion Boxer possible the best that had ever been, until she had stepped into the ring with Brigit for an exposition fight. Everything had been going well in the ring at least for Brigit who had not been knocked out, but she was still going to lose the fight, only she erupted and shoved Espa out of the ring and into the seats. The blow and subsequent crash into the stands had left Espa permanently paralyzed. Barring some miraculous breakthrough, the former champ would never walk again and only had use of one arm. Espa sued and now Brigit had joined the growing number of Nova based lawsuits crowding the civil court system since the Storm. But Brigit couldn’t sleep so she had donned her Hoodie and hopped the bus to the old neighborhood. After looking in on her folks and sisters, careful not to wake them, she hit she streets. It was early morning after three a.m. and even the bad guys were snug in their beds. Still she had that itch she really wanted to punch something. She made her way along the warehouse district by the river using the roofs to travel. She couldn’t jump as far as Apex but she could easily clear the distance between the warehouses and other building and most were only three or four stories. She had paused watching a tug in the river pushing a line of barges when the sharp sound of a muffled explosion came to her ears. It didn’t take long to locate the source, weird flashes of light and more muffled explosive sounds a few blocks away. She didn’t hear sirens so she leapt off the building and crossed the street at a full run. Brigit skidded to a stop she wasn’t foolish enough to just run out into an unknown situation not with out at least seeing what was what. And what she saw peering around the corner of the deli she had paused at was four men standing guard across the street. They were decked out in assault gear wearing full helmets with facemasks and large backpacks. She wondered about the back packs but then she got a good look at the large futuristic looking weapons that each of them was carrying. They were standing in front of a big hole in one of the neighborhood bank kiosks, the hole was large enough for all of them to have gone through and it was perfectly round with edges that still glowed with red hot heat. There was a sound from inside the four were moving away from the hole but still keeping watch and two more men came out each holding a strange device which emitted a field of some sort. In the field was the Banks safe floating between the two men. Brigit shrugged out of her hoodie which was her favorite put it on the outside window ledge of the delli and stepped out into the street. “Okay you guys, nice and fancy gear but you had best put the guns down and take a break cause the cops are on their way and I’m not gonna let you get away.” All of the men froze but looked her way then one of the guards raised his gun and shouted, “Blast her!’ All four guns swiveled at her and they let loose from the hip. Brigit tied to dodge but the weapon blast were like some sort of cone of red hot energy, she was engulfed and the combined blasts lifted her from her feet and threw her trough the now open front of the deli since the wall and window were likewise blast into shards. Brigit smoke rising from her cloths and hair shook her head and leapt to her feet and ran outside she was singed and a bit embarrassed but not hurt. She skidded to a stop as she cleared the ruins of the deli and stared up. All six men were rising into the air the same sort of weird energy coming off their bulky back packs, the safe going right along with them. Brigit just stood there watching them get away, in the distance she could hear sirens finally. She took a deep breath put her hands on her hips let it out with a very frustrated sigh, “Well fuck me,” and waited for the cops.
  2. From - The Dauntless Recollections, vol I Chicago is my city, my home. My family have been a part of this city since the end of the American civil war. I was born here, both times, raised here. Went to school here, attended Church here, my first love was here, and my first heartbreak. Chicago is my city, my home, now our home. I have watched the crime and violence grow. Witnessed the death and sorrow from gang violence, drugs. I grew up watching it, at first, then living it as it spread from community to community like a disease. Watched as politicians lied and got rich, while the working men and women suffered and grew poorer. Watched as jobs fled and good people like my own father were laid off. Watched as mortgages went unpaid and homes were foreclosed, families forced out into the street. Watched as hope drained away. All I could do was watch. Then the Storm happened. Now I watch new politicians doing the same as the old. I see crime soaring to new heights. Gangs holding open warfare in the streets causing chaos and destruction, refugees from elsewhere coming here because we did not have any monsters. But we do it is just that our monsters that were always here, back then they were human, now some of them aren't. All I could do then was watch. Now I can do more. I The Storm had spared Chicago, for the most part at least. Aside from a tremendous lightning storm which caused massive electrical failures across the metropolis and the cold winds off Lake Michigan which carried snow and ice across the empty streets, no monsters rose up to wreak havoc, death, or destruction as had occurred across the states and the world. Chicago stood tall, but still the effects had been felt economically and mentally with what had been happening across the globe. The city untouched by the storms strange transformations became a place of refuge for many fleeing the death and destruction. A haven for those who had nothing left. A place where normal was still, at least on the surface, normal. The population increase had stretched the cities resources. Unemployment, always a problem sored as refugees crowded in seeking jobs, Crime rates rose, poverty rates rose, a bleakness settled over the region. But still people needed distraction needed entertainment and one of those distractions was sports and one thing Chicago had always had in abundance and had embraced was the fighting ring. Six Months After the Storm The girl on the cushioned exam table wearing boxing shorts and a sports top was solidly built if a bit on the small side for a boxer. Normally she was very pretty some would say even beautiful. She had bright blue eyes and her reddish-brown hair was long and straight, but tonight was worn up in a coiled braid. She held her finely muscled arms up and out as the old man wrapped her ribs. She grunted in pain as the trainer, Manny, pulled the wraps tight. Brigit Moran glared at her trainer, she could barely see him with one eye swollen almost shut, she also had a bad cut on her left cheek and a split lip, both of which were also swollen. Manny finished and began unwrapping her hands. “Dammit Brigit, you took a helluva beating tonight hun, you have got to keep those hands up and keep your face protected.” She winched as he started on her right hand jarring the shoulder she had fallen on in the ring. “I can’t just defend all the time Manny, I have to punch, it’s the only way I can get points...” She stopped as the door opened and a tall well-built woman in her late thirties, blond, very attractive, came through a scowl on her face having herd the end of Brigit's statement. “Honey you aren't going to be winning with points from your punches, you hit like a goddamned girl and it isn't cutting it.” Karen Gayle, one of the most prominent female promoters in the Chicago area leaned up against the wall and lit a cigarette, as the trainer and the boxer glared at her. Seeing the look they were giving her, Karen blew the smoke out through tight lips and said, “Oh, come on Brigit, we have been over this, this isn't the amateurs anymore, this is the pros, you don't score by just touching them, your hits have to mean something. That girl tonight Leda Sanchez, you have her by what 20 lbs. and she still kicked your ass. Dammit, look in the fucking mirror.” Manny turns back to Brigit and starts treating her bruised face carefully washing the cut on her cheek. “For Christ's sake Ms. Gayle, ain’t no call for that, Brigit is a goddamned good fighter what she lacks in upper body strength, she more than makes up in speed, stamina, and skill, and she's damned tough, one of the toughest I have ever trained guy or girl.” Ms. Gayle snorts a laugh, “Oh Manny,” she shakes her head, “Jesus this is her 6th loss in a row, that is not a good start to a career.” “Hey!” Brigit pushes Manny back and slides off the exam table, a flare of anger in her bright blue eyes. “Quit talking about me like I'm not even in the fucking room. Look Karen, I'll take a few weeks off and do some crash strength training, I've been letting it slide a little, what with everything, but I can build my upper-body up and get my punches ...what?" She sees both her manager and her trainer exchange looks. Manny speaks first. “Honey, Ms. Gayle has a point, your punches..., your just not built for upper body Strength projection...” “What the hell do you mean I'm not built for it,” Brigit interrupts, “what the fuck is wrong with my body? Fuck!” The young woman was starting to have a hard time controlling her anger. “Brigit, Manny is right, to get your strength up to where you need to be you’re going to have to put on fifteen, twenty pounds and that puts you in the next weight class and right back where you are now.” The older woman was trying to calm her client down. “Brigit, honey, you’re as strong as you need to be its your shoulders and the way your built up top. You just don’t have the build to project the strength you have in a punch, it’s not anything we can correct Bri. Your biggest points Hun are your legs they are strong and fast, Straight-up boxing just does not utilize your strengths well Bri.” Brigit caught the turn of phrase Manny used ‘straight-up boxing' and saw where this was going. She just stared at her trainer until Karen spoke. “Brigit, you’re wasting your money paying me, and I'm losing money promoting these fights. I cannot promote you if you cannot win and you cannot win in the pro boxing ring." Karen drops her cigarette butt and mashes it out with her shoe. "I like you Brigit. You are talented and you have the spirit, your just in the wrong ring, I can get you in the cage Ill even spring for training. Sixth months with Jenifer Marks, and we can get you in some low tier MMA bouts and you will shoot up the ranks like lightning. We both,” she indicates Manny, “think this is the way for you to go.” Manny starts to speak but Brigit cuts him off. “I'm a boxer Karen, I don’t want to be a damn MMA fighter, I want to be a Boxer.” “No, Brigit, your father wants you to be a boxer.” Karen said in a soft voice. Sean David Moran was a fifth generation Irish American, born and raised in Chicago, Sean had always wanted to be a boxer, like his father and his father’s father all the way back to Ireland before the civil war. Boxing was in the Moran family’s blood. When Sean turned 18, he enlisted in the Navy, he had already been boxing in youth clubs and he figured he could box in the navy as well as learn a trade skill. He did well in both until the middle of his second year of his enlistment when a shipboard accident left him with a shattered knee, steel pins in his hip, and a medical discharge ending both his navy and boxing careers before they had ever really begun. Sean returned home to Chicago where he got a job with the union, met a girl, a local schoolteacher from a good Irish family whom he married, and six months later had their first child. Brigit Fianna Moran the oldest of four daughters was born August 12th, 1995. By the time she was six and her three sisters had come along it was apparent to her father that there was not going to be any boys in this branch of the Moran family. Sean had wanted a boy. Badly someone he could teach how to box a son who could carry on the tradition that he had failed to carry. But he loved his four daughters dearly and never regretted having them not once. But when it came to Brigit well, she was daddy's little girl, as she grew up she hung on every word, sat with her daddy as he watched the boxing matches and listen to all the family stories about boxing. It was in her blood and She was a tomboy through and through so she became the surrogate son her daddy never had and when she was ten he started teaching her how to box, at twelve she stated taking boxing lessons at a local gym and at 16 began boxing as an youth amateur. After she graduated High school Sean convinced His old Trainer James “Manny” Fitzpatrick a Retired Golden Gloves Champion to train her for the pros. In 2015 she went pro She won her first two matches against other first time pros before being taken on by Manager and Promoter Karen Gayle. Gayle, one of the most Successful Promoters of female fighters on the east coast had risen to fame with the first Wave of Female MMA Fighters in the late nineties and early oughts. She saw the potential for a first-class fighter in Brigit even though she herself didn’t much care for Straight Boxing she figured she would take a chance and promote Brigit. But Pro Fighting isn't like the amateurs and when Brigit found herself matched against experienced boxers, she found herself unable to clinch a win. She could stand toe to toe round for round, but she couldn't deliver the hits needed to score a win on points. “So, Karen,” Brigit took a deep breath the anger turning inward and becoming resignation, “are you cutting me loose?” “No, Brigit, I'm not, I want you to think about the MMA offer, in the meantime I can get you one more match, I think we can make some money off of. I'll set it up” “What do you mean make money off of? I’m not throwing a fight.” Shoots Brigit back, glancing at Manny who is looking at Gayle obvious questions on his face. Gayle laughs “There has to be an expectation of you winning for throwing the fight to have any value, and I'm kind of offended you would think I'd ever ask that of you. I'm putting you in the ring with Renee Espa.” “What?” Manny shouts drawing both woman's attention to him. “Espa's a fucking machine she hits like a goddamn freight train! She has eight wins all knock outs within three rounds.” “Exactly, Manny, and that plays to our strength. You said it yourself, Brigit is though, one of the toughest fighters I have ever seen especially in her weight class. It’s an eight-round exhibition fight a preview for her big championship fight next month, no one is going to be betting on who's going to win. The bets are going to be on how fast Espa knocks Brigit out.” Gayle explains as she lights another cigarette. “If you go all eight rounds, we can make some serious money, and more importantly it puts you on the map as the fighter that Renee Espa couldn't knock out. And that is a rep that could be gold we could stand could make a lot of money promoting that especially if she gets a knockout in the championship bout.” Brigit doesn’t hesitate only looks at her trainer and her manger and says, “I'll do it.” Brigit left Manny and Karen arguing about the Exhibition and caught the city bus home. It was late almost midnight and while her friends were probably expecting her at the pub, she just didn’t feel like it, not tonight. She looked out as the bus drove down what a year before would have been deserted streets and empty lots, now they passed tent cities full of men ,women and children, all displaced by The Storm, huddled around metal drums containing fires for warmth, These were now the homes for the homeless. She felt a despair she hadn’t felt in, well, in a while. She let herself into the dark house where four generations of the Moran Family had lived. In the living room she found her sister, Keira a sophomore at the University of Chicago asleep on the couch, books scattered on the floor the light from table lamp and the silent tv throwing shadows across her face. Brigit shut off the lamp but left the tv on, then covered her sister with a throw blanket instead of waking her, she didn't feel like talking about her latest defeat. She went into the kitchen looked in the fridge but didn’t get anything the thought of eating made her stomach flip. She checked the kitchen door to make sure it was locked. They lived in a good neighborhood but where you could leave your doors unlocked before now, thanks to the Storm, that was not a good idea. Brigit made her way upstairs, stopping to look in on the twins, Kathrine and Kelly, seven-teen and seniors in high school. Both were sound asleep. Last she made a quick peek in on her parents’ room. She found her father asleep in the chair by her mother’s medical bed. He was out cold, and from the bottle and glass on the nightstand it was obvious he had drunk himself to sleep. She entered the room for a closer look at her mother. Margret Moran, originally Travers, had been a beautiful voluptuous woman with striking red hair and piercing green eyes, all three of Brigit's sisters took after their mother while she had inherited her father’s darker reddish-brown hair and blue eyes. Now her mother was thin and pale a shadow of who she once was, the cancer eating away at her. Brigit checked the monitors and made sure everything was working and that her mom at least looked comfortable. It didn't strike her as odd her checking in on her family she had always felt protective of her sisters and with dad laid off and mom sick she just naturally fell into that care giver roll and no one else questioned it. Maybe that's why I took the fight, she thought to herself as she made her way to her room forgoing the shower she really needed, we need the money more now than ever. Brigit fell into bed and drifted off to sleep dreaming of money and fighting and of her being strong enough to beat all her opponents, of being good enough to do anything of being the best in the world...
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