TMTD Chapter 18

The following is meant to act as a quick reference for law enforcement professionals and agencies in assessing the likely abilities and threat potential of new Altereds.  This is distinctly modified from the commonly accepted ‘Aaron Altered Assessments’ as it is greatly simplified for faster reference.  Colloquial descriptions for some of the more common ability types are also included for an easier layman’s reference.  The numerical values are the range of days until the next solstice or since the most recent.  Because I do not expect the types of people needing to be given this to actually rememb For quick reference to those reading this that do not keep track of such things, the solstices occur twice a year on approximately June 21st and December 21st.  An important rule to remember, in general a lower Altered Number represents a more powerful Altered ability.

60 – 90 – Enhanced Mind Altered.  Grouping these disparate ability sets together so broadly does not do proper justice to their capabilities, however this group is currently assessed with the lowest threat category out of ALL Altereds.  The broad subcategories amongst the EMA (in the order of most to least common) are Genius, Empath, and TelepathSECURITY ADDENDUM 4/6/64 – The EMA ‘Genius’ subtype has been reclassified as a Red Level due to their ability to rapidly develop dangerous and unstable technologies.  Example data redacted.  Most Empaths require physical contact or close proximity in order to read another’s emotional state.  Military Intelligence and Altered Research have both concluded that anecdotes about Empaths capable of manipulating another’s emotional state are mostly incorrect.  No Altered has been documented as able to use their ability to do this, however being able to perfectly read emotions from a target does give one a huge advantage when using basic psychological manipulations.  Telepaths are the rarest EMA type, capable of actually listening in on another person’s innermost thoughts with varying levels of clarity.  Potentially very disruptive type of Altered, though fortunately all identified telepaths have required at least line of sight in order to sift through another’s brain.  Telepath sub-type ‘Whispers’ have the added ability to insert thoughts into another.  ADDENDUM to be incorporated, 8/8/77 – New ultra-rare EMA subtype definitively identified capable of manipulation of radio signals and stored computer data.  New ‘Technopath’ subtype has been deemed a national security threat and are to be detained for analysis.  ADDENDUM to be incorporated, 9/8/98 – Technopaths are actually pretty cool people, and you should totally NOT lock them up just because of what they can do!

40 – 60 – Enhanced Physical Altered.  The highest occurrence of Vanishings and with virtually zero fatalities or Lunatic Returns, EPA represent the largest percentage of the Altered population.  For our purposes we are only breaking this group down into three categories, Sensory Enhanced, Body Enhanced, and Regenerators.  Unlike EMA, there is a tremendous amount of overlap with the EPA categories.  As the numbers get lower it is not unusual to encounter Altered that have abilities belonging to all three sets.  Sensory Enhanced (Spies or Snoops colloquially) are the most common EPA subtype.  It is, fortunately, very rare for a SE EPA to not have all five of their senses dramatically enhanced by their alteration, as such certain frequency white-noise generators and odor-generators that are undetectable by human senses have rapidly negated their original threat assessment as ‘Super Spies.’  Body Enhanced EPA are basically super-athletes, capable of feats well beyond what even the most gifted Olympian can manage, with the strongest tested being able to left almost twelve times their body weight  ADDENDUM to be incorporated, 5/5/70 – New Body Enhanced subtype information: Enhanced strength in BE EPA types scales much higher than previously thought, strongest documented at this time capable of lifting approx. 12,000lbs  Regenerator types are argued to not actually be an EPA subtype, but a general Altered sub-type as this particular enhancement is also well documented amongst Potent, Examplar, and Paragon Altered.  Regenerators are, put simply, Altered with incredible self-healing capabilities.  The weakest documented Regenerators are only capable of ‘normal’ healing (broken bones will not reset themselves, scar tissue develops, cannot regrow missing digits or limbs) but at speeds 20 – 30 times faster than normal.  The most powerful documented Regenerators are almost impossible to injure (no scar tissue develops, entire skeletal structure can be reformed, regrowth of lost limbs confirmed [WHERE DOES THE MASS COME FROM??]) and a few appear to regenerate so perfectly that they no longer age.  

Doctor Elaine Osmand, ARCA – Excerpt from the master file of Training Law Enforcement for Altered Field Assessment, posted online anonymously on September 10th, 1998.

 

<<<>>>

 

“You’re looking tired, colonel.”  The unexpected statement, that came from a space that had been unoccupied a split-second earlier, sent one Colonel Aaron Garrett scrambling awkwardly to avoid falling out of the chair he’d nearly fallen asleep in.

Jessica thought she did an admirable job of keeping a calm, neutral expression on her face as she made her observation while carefully setting an oversized mug of coffee in front of her colleague and braced momentarily to attention.

“You aren’t NEARLY as funny as you think you are, lieutenant colonel.”  Apparently she hadn’t kept her amusement off her face as well as she’d thought, but Garrett was definitely not letting his annoyance interfere with claiming the caffeine she’d brought for him.  “Remind me how the hell you managed to stay on monitoring for weeks at a time without passing out or going messily insane.”

Jessica stopped trying to fight the smile off of her face as she seated herself next to Alpha Company’s new CO.  “Well, for starters I require a hell of a lot less sleep than anyone else here, colonel.  And this… hasn’t exactly been an ‘average’ week for the AAC.”

“More emergency calls than normal, sure, and I know there’s a lot of concern since some asshole already leaked your retirement thing to the press.  But this is still nothing compared to some of the Paragon Return weeks.”  There was another pause while Garrett took a long draw from his coffee, and Jessica stared at him with an expectant look.  “What?”

Jessica tried to hide her less-than neutral expression this time by taking a sip of her own coffee.  Unfortunately, coffee mugs aren’t particularly well designed for muffling the few giggles that escaped her.

“What!?”  Silence was his only answer for several seconds as Jessica maintained her charade with the coffee cup.  “Seriously, Lawson, tell me what I’m missing.  Speak freely even!”

“Well…  You’ve never actually been part of the ‘ready’ company before, have you sir?”

“Somehow I don’t think having Echo scrambling in response to an officially declared emergency would have gone over well.”

“I will definitely agree with that point.”  Jessica’s expression shifted from mirth to annoyance at the mention of the company she would soon be in command of.  “So… How many times per week do you think the AAC normally receives emergency requests?”

“I’d sa-…  Wait, you just said per week?  Not per day?”  Garrett’s face clouded with an irritated look of his own as he made a few mental connections.  “Son of a bitch.”

“Yeah, this isn’t the first time PR has called in all the favors they could think of to insure that we get some more time in the spotlight and some favorable press out of the deal.  Hell, I’ve been through this particular spectacle… Six times now.”  Jessica paused to take an actual drink from her mug this time before continuing.  “I have to say, it’s a hell of a lot more fun when I’m not the one sitting in your seat.”

“It’s just… I mean HOW can they pull off something like this?  Does PR have some kind of undercover teams that agitate criminal Altered into letting us perform some kind of publicity spectacle?”

“Oh no.  God no.”  Jessica laughed briefly.  “Look up the actual Altered crime statistics some time.  There’s no increase in criminal activity that you’re responding to, they’re just leveraging their political connections for all they’re worth to get the more… sympathetic governors to call US in instead of relying on their locals.  Look at the past week from a different perspective, has there been a single case you were dispatched for that couldn’t have been handled by normal police backed up by a DART team?”

“So, seeing as you’re the expert at all things here, how much longer is this going to last?”

“Until Burgess and the rest of PR is convinced that the public is no longer ‘overreacting’ to the leak about my impending retirement?”

Garret considered the response for a long moment, then looked down at his cup.  “I think I’m going to need a bigger mug.  And something a hell of a lot stronger than coffee.”

 

<<<>>>

 

“So, how do you like my new office?”  The cheerful tone from the red-haired psychiatrist seemed more than a little forced as she gestured expansively at the relatively cramped space.

“Heidi, I’m so sor-…”

“And it’s STILL not your fault!”  Jessica snapped her mouth shut at the forceful interruption from her friend.  “You didn’t have anything to do with this.”

“I’m the one that decided to retire.”

“And someone else then decided to leak that information to the media, and then Colonel Burgess went batshit insane for a bit, and now I have my own practice!”

“That’s… one way to look at things.”  Jessica looked around uncertainly at the dingy walls and faded carpet.

“All the walls and ceilings are getting repainted this weekend, and new carpets and flooring are going to be installed next Monday.”  Heidi dropped onto her couch, the same one she’d had in her office at the AAC Medical Center, and looked up with a more genuine smile.  “So stop apologizing to me, sit down, and tell me what’s on your mind!  Unless you can afford to pay for the next hour when the session runs over.”

“Got any other clients today?”  Jessica asked with a small smile of her own as she moved to take one of the other chairs that had migrated with Heidi during the forced relocation.

“Considering my practice isn’t even officially OPEN until next week…  Nope.”

“Then you should probably just bill me for the rest of the night.”

This got the therapist to sit up straighter.  “You…  You’re being completely serious.  Jess, you know I was joking about actually billing you, right?  We’re FRIENDS.”

“We’re friends, but you’re also my shrink.  Besides.”  Jessica took another meaningful look around the room.  “You’re office looks like it could REALLY use more than a fresh coat of paint and some carpet.  And I can DEFINITELY afford your rates.”

“Oooh, there’s another story there.”  Heidi paused for a second as uncertainty crossed her face.  “Please tell me it’s not a story that goes, ‘I’ve rethought things and I don’t think the country can survive without me, so I’ve decided I MUST do the semi-patriotic thing and let the PR Corps pay me millions and millions of dollars to keep doing a job I’ve come to hate.'”

“Definitely not.  I mean, does that sound like how I would tell a story?”  The level of fake indignation in the brown-haired woman’s tone startled a giggle from her friend.  “Also, as it turns out, well, I seem to already have my own millions and millions of dollars.”

“‘As it turns out?’  You’re a multi-millionaire and… you forgot?”  Heidi’s eyes widened as her question seemed to spark some insight.  “No, not forgot, you never bothered to check in the first place.  How could someone who spends as much of their free time memorizing random bits of trivia as you do COMPLETELY ignore something like that?”

“Hey, it’s not like I was using my pay for anything.  And when I originally enlisted…  Back then you couldn’t exactly get rich just depositing a military paycheck every month!”

“Well, it’s good to know that you’ll be comfortably well off for your upcoming retirement.  Also, I’m still not charging you for therapy.”

“Well fine then, I won’t charge you either.”  Jessica stuck out her tongue as she completed her retort in a childish, sing-song tone.

“Wait, what?”

“Well, whether you think it’s my fault or no-..”

“Definitely not your fault, quit coming back to that and making me repeat myself!”

“Okay, okay!  So, anyways, still felt guilty earlier, so I kinda…”  Jessica’s words trailed off into an incoherent mumble.

“Please repeat that last part?”  Heidi had gone very still in her seat in the couch, not quite sure what to make of the jumble of emotions she read from across the small room.

“I kinda bought your building.  You can have it renovated however you want, it’s all covered.”  Jessica still sounded a little apologetic, but a bright note of happiness was quickly overtaking her tone.  “Surprise!”

“You…  You really will do anything to try and surprise a Mentalist, won’t you?”  Heidi shook her head as Jessica giggled and nodded in response.  “But honestly Jess, you bought a building?  You can’t just recklessly spend your savings even if you didn’t know about them a couple weeks ago!”

“Yeah, really not worried about reckless expenses.  Apparently I’ve been drawing a seven figure annual salary since the last round of pay incentives were approved by congress in the mid 80’s.”

“SEVEN FIGURES?”

“Well, yeah.  Army has to recruit all the new Paragons and Exemplars somehow since not all of them will be dumb enough to enlist and serve for eight decades without checking on things like that.  So, we should go out for a fancy dinner or something to celebrate your new practice.  With a little luck, it’ll put me in a good enough mood to get me through tomorrow.”

“What happens tomorrow?”

“Tomorrow at 0800 I’ve been ordered to report to the PR Corps for a two HOUR briefing that will revolve around attempt number three at getting me to play good little Private Security Contractor girl.  Then after that comes the part I’m REALLY not looking forward too.”

Heidi’s expression slipped into shock again as she read the honest emotion that there really WAS something Jessica was dreading more than the ‘briefing.’  “Alright, that’s twice in one sitting that you have genuinely surprised the empath.  Is there come kind of all-day international press conference that they’re forcing you to attend tomorrow that I haven’t heard about?”

“No.  Tomorrow I’m getting shipped off base to finally meet my new company.”

 


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9 thoughts on “TMTD Chapter 18

  1. I was re-reading, and had a couple of thoughts. 360/90=4, so more than ninety days from a solstice leave about 2 1/2 days around each equinox with no vanishings.

    The other is about being closer to the solstice is more powerful. So, say the very moment when the north pole is angled closest to the sun occurs at 12pm GMT June 21. Would the potentially strongest altered disappear at that moment, noon three days earlier, or at midnight on the 20th?

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  2. Great to finally see a new chapter up. I liked the intro that gives a little more insight into the lower class altereds. This press conference should be interest.

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  3. Typo – “Is their come kind of all-day ” should be “Is there some kind of all-day”

    Glad to see the next chapter! Totally understand about messed up ISP’s.

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  4. Yaaaaaay!

    Oh how I wish this was updated more frequently, but it’s so nice when a new chapter is released.

    (Love the Tenchopath part.)

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