17424/Mutants and Master Molds - Quentins and Questions

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Mutants and Master Molds - Quentins and Questions
Date of Scene: 15 March 2024
Location: City Warehouse
Synopsis: Quentin and Douglas interrogate a captured Sentinel drone. And get a nasty grasp of how the Sentinels are seeking to improve themselves. And adapt.
Cast of Characters: Quentin Quire, Emma Frost, Douglas Ramsey
Tinyplot: Mutants and Master Molds

Quentin Quire has posed:
Not too far from the STAR Labs that was recently burned down through mysterious causes, somewhere on a completely different power grid, an abandoned warehouse is going to be showing a noticable uptick in energy consumption next month. For now, the useage goes unnoticed, which is probably for everyone's benefit, considering the cause.
A large and rather slapdash cage has been thrown up in the middle of the warehouse's empty floor, sections of chainlink fencing hastily chained, bolted, and spotwelded together to form a six-sided cube, suspended from the ceiling by four chains stretching up to the ceiling. Suspended in the air to allow arcs of electricity to safely spark and leap around the walls of the cube, someone having hooked the entire construct into the warehouse's connection to the power grid. A quick & dirty faraday cage, to keep something contained on a nonconductive plate suspended in the center of the chainlink cube...

Emma Frost has posed:
Then the trickiness that is making sure that the Sentinel doesn't activate it's self-destruct system with the rather nasty charge that it's forgemates had displayed.. Or upon it's discovery that it was cut off from the mainstream command codes to do an internal wipe and meltdown.. These things had been designed to dispose of themselves. Rather thoroughly as well. What they couldn't blow up they could melt down and defragment. Poking at it while it was offline had revealed the methods of which it had 'consumed' data and biological material internally.

An internalized nano forge.

Quentin Quire has posed:
Quentin Quire basically put out an open call to the rest of the X-Men for technical help. He could slap together a solid enough faraday cage to keep the thing contained for a little while, but anything else would probably result in the thing blowing up in his face; literally or figuratively. Which brings him back to this seedy warehouse in the seedy part of some other city, back to where he stuck the thing while everyone else flew off, victorious in the Blackbird.

"At least no annoying cops have shown up to investigate the power useage..." he announces to whoever has come along, once he confirms that everything was exactly how he left it. The psionic barrier around the warehouse didn't hurt, either.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"You just built a Faraday cage. Just kind of... slapped one together out of stuff you found lying around." Doug says, as he surveys Quentin's construction. He runs his hand over his hair, and rocks backward on his heels. "And stuffed a Sentinel in it. And I'm pretty sure you own this warehouse through a series of holding companies."

He opens a leather messenger bag, and takes out a laptop computer, and sets it down. "Quentin, I swear the day you were born, God made trollface at the entire world." He looks up at the Sentinel floating in the heart of the cage. "And when did you learn to *weld* anyway?" He flattens his mouth into a line. "This is a high-tech hunk of hardware... I might need to forget the laptop and interface with it directly."

Emma Frost has posed:
The Sentinel Drone is there, inert. Just poking at it had yielded interesting results. It was made from pilfered materials - lots of them. Microchips, metals, metallurgy.. Everything in it had been taken and broken down and reassembled. But every drone had been exactly the same as the others beyond some small particulate differences. They weren't being custom made - they were being mass produced.

The large central optic in the cluster of tendrils that had lashed together to rapidly let it wheel about had been rendered inactive.

Quentin Quire has posed:
The telepath gives a shrug. "The rest of those things were blowing up left and right and we needed some clues. I know enough about electronics to know what a faraday cage does to wireless signals, so it wasn't that hard..." he gestures towards the cube as it hangs from the ceiling, faintly swaying back and forth as electricity arcs off the metal. "I just wasn't about to go poking at the thing on my own."

"I did yank out everything that looked even vaguely explosive before I stuffed it in there." he points out even as his eyes begin to glow behind his glasses. "I'm gonna energize the walls of the warehouse before I take it out of the cage though..." he says, as other power cables hover up from the floor, sheathed in pink energy. "...so don't touch anything..." he finishes as the power cables slam against the walls and ceiling. A low hum fills the air, along with the smell of ozone.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
Doug narrows his eyes at the Sentinel, and then he mutters, "Well, suffice it to say, I'm impressed." He rolls up his right sleeve, and flexes his fingers, before veins of an inky blackness crawl down his skin. He's become good at disguising the true nature of his right arm, but he does wince, as it transforms into shiny black techno-stuff and gold filigree crawls over it. It's like keeping a muscle tensed. The more you practice, the longer you can do it, but hold it too long, and you cramp up.

"These things always have such filthy, genocidal code." He mutters. "Brute programming for genocide."

Emma Frost has posed:
It's elegant. Simple. Efficient. Down to the last micrometer. Imperfections had been smoothed out, parts fitted, edges met to pattern. Forged and pressed. As Douglas goes to interface with it, he finds the code.. Trim. Aimed for short range networking. The units operated in packs and they all shared information with one another from it. Their own LAN party that split all the data processing and targeting amongst all of the ones present. Their priority not being on engaging those after them or even stopping interference.

Rather.. Unlike most Sentinels.

Quentin Quire has posed:
With the walls and ceiling electrified, Quentin turns his attention to the hanging cage. Whatever circuit was powering its connection is broken, electricity arcs fading away. One of the lower surfaces of the cube swings open with the rattle of metal. "I'll grab it and bring it out, you do your thing..." Quentin says to Doug, as a similar pinkish glow surrounds the nasty little drone. "Ready?" he asks, and then he hauls the drone out of the cage and down to the floor near Doug's feet.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
Doug's fingers extend, like something out of a creepy anime; they probe for chinks in the sentinel and then begin to slither into whatever gaps they can find. "Ready." He says, before he mutters, "I don't know what I'm going to find in here. So if it looks like I'm in too deep, send the sixth verse of 'I Don't Want To Live On the Moon' into my head. I've conditioned myself to use that as a recall command to pull myself out of a data-hole."

His eyes begin to glow, a liminal yellow. "This... this isn't Trask code, not even at its heart. I don't think it is. It's way more sophisticated. Trask code is adaptive, but at its heart it's still the brute programming from Project Wideawake. I think this is convergent evolution of a sort; same goal... different coder." He continues to explore. "The more of them there are, the more sophisticated their functioning becomes. They share information, and share the load of processing the data they take in."

Emma Frost has posed:
This was just a small swarm of them that had been sent to steal data and samples and had been intended to be covert. And since when had Sentinels bothered to be subtle? No grand pronouncements about extermination, attacks on mutants.. Since when had Sentinels bothered to cover their tracks and go to ground?

And since when were Sentinels interested in organics? Why go after things like Brood which didn't relate at all to anything on Earth beyond their own ability to consume and..

Quentin Quire has posed:
"Sure, but what're they doing?" Quentin asks, keeping a safe distance from Doug and the drone as he pins the bot to the concrete floor of the warehouse. "...we watched these things chewing on hard drives and paperwork, like they were eating it, and then sending it off..." he explains for Doug's benefit, since the other man wasn't there for the break in. "Like text messages..." he finishes after grasping for the proper words. "And being sneaky about it, too. Either these things or whoever's controlling them managed to drug a warehouse full of guards, create strategic distractions to deal with emergency services, and knock power out to get in..."

"That's totally not a Sentinel tactic. They're usually more.." and he stomps about, arms and legs straight out as he totters about "...obvious."

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
Doug's eyes widen. "They're refining their own adaptive abilities. That's their target - other life-forms that have the power of rapid adaptation and response."

"They're adaptation-thieves. And I just exposed this one to Transmode. Son of a *bitch*." The techno-organic material of Doug's extended fingers seems to recoil in revulsion. "When I'm done here, you need to obliterate this thing. Completely."

"I'm diving deeper, I need to know what the *goal* of their programming is. I know what they're after, but why do they want it. What is their principal function?" He runs his tongue over his teeth.

Emma Frost has posed:
Destroy it and disintegrate the molecules, and throw them all into a volcano just to be safe. The Sentinels programming was always what it had been.

To destroy all mutants.

A direct attack at Genosha had been fought off. Warped days ahead had been met and stopped.

Like strategists, the Sentinels were adapting. Technologically.. And tactically.

Decoupled from the network, Doug couldn't get things directly, but it was one of many. One of many raiders sent out to obtain things to improve themselves..

And to make sure that when they struck, it was far, far too late to stop them. To go back and stop them.

Quentin Quire has posed:
Quentin pulls a face like he just smelled something nasty wafting up out of the sewers, but nods to Doug, "Was the gameplan after we were done anyway..." he says in agreement. Wouldn't do to let a drone wander off to rejoin the collective anyway. He continues to keep the drone pinned in place, careful to keep the psionic energy well clear of Doug's techno-organic arm. "That sounds frighteningly biologic..."

"...but sorta makes sense. Damn things have always been adaptive to a degree. Just never heard of them stealing weapons and data to do it." he frowns, "...like they're trying to get ahead of the curve, instead of a step behind all the time."

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"...That's why it doesn't feel like Trask-code. I think this might be a probe... from the future? That would explain why the code is so sophisticated and so unlike what I've seen before - it's years, maybe decades ahead from the current generation of Sentinels."

"It's like it's - working backwards along a timeline, trying to collect data to prevent anyone from traveling back into the past to prevent it from coming online. Covering all its bases so that it *is* a step ahead, always, all the time."

"So that it always wins."

Emma Frost has posed:
Trying to avoid the Skynet scenario. When your opponent could time travel to stop you, how did you stay ahead of them? Leave it so there was no moment that they could actually be stopped at. No single thing that was integral to the whole plan. So now the question was..

How far had they gotten? What were they working on? And..

How did you stop them?

Quentin Quire has posed:
Another face is pulled by Quentin, "Time travel, great. I hate time travel." he says, pinching the bridge of his nose briefly with a free hand. Reopening them, eyes still glowing, he gestures to the drone. "Okay, so we've got scary adaptive Sentinels from the future trying bootstrap themselves into existence. Obviously that needs to be stopped." Duuuuuuh.

"Can you get any details from that thing on maybe where they're all hiding? Find the nest, take it out." Quentin points out the obvious next course of action.

Douglas Ramsey has posed:
"I don't think there's any one place that they're hiding." Doug says, "They're fully autonomous, though they can cooperate. I think they might be all over the planet."

"...And they *deliberately don't know where the others are*." He mutters. "They use... they use *dead drops* to share intel. But they don't know the hiding places of other drone clusters. *Clever*. Really, really clever."

He rapidly withdraws his fingers from the drone, and they snap back into place. "There's nothing more this one can tell us."

Quentin Quire has posed:
"Of course it wouldn't be easy." Quentin replies, waiting as Doug draws away from the drone. "Well, at least we know what we're dealing with. Super sentinels, greaaaat." he says, lifting both hands towards the drone as he concentrates on it. The glow intensifies as the drone begins to vibrate, a small rattle deepening to something that'll set your teeth on edge. The omega-level mutant vibrating every individual molecule of the drone until it separates from every other individual molecule, leaving a cloud of dust swirling in a telekinetic bubble. Which *whooshes* down to the floor as he drops it. "Well, thanks for the help, Doug." Quentin says as he reaches out, yanking the power connectors from the walls and ceiling.