Taken from “Ann Nation's American History Primer Section 4, Chapter 1: The Dissolution (21XX – 21XX)
The Dissolution refers to the period between 21XX and 21XX when the former United States of America was divided into small, independent, (and ultimately pointless) nation-states. Much like the fall of the Roman empire millennia earlier, the Dissolution was preceded by an overall weakening of the government’s power, and was followed by the almost complete destruction of civilization, which is where we find ourselves today. Aren’t we lucky? We get to see Dark Ages 2: The Darkening.
But we’re going to try to make it slightly less terrible this time around, which is the point of this book. Maybe if we can learn from history we won’t be doomed to repeat it. To that end, here’s a brief summary of what happened in the days of the Dissolution. Don’t worry, you’ll get mind-numbing amounts of detail on the subject in the coming chapters.
That wasn't right.
Tens of thousands of dollars had been spent to ensure that Cylee would be able to see in any conditions. But her Augments had apparently been knocked out, which was interesting. She'd never heard of a way to forcibly shut down someone's Augments without also sending them into screaming insanity.
She tried to take stock without betraying the fact that she was awake. She was bound, hand and foot, on a hard slab. She was still dressed, which was good. It felt like she was wearing her “action suit”, the custom-designed outfit she had been wearing when she…
Memories came back. There was supposed to be a job. Contact asked for a meeting at a dive bar near Pike's Place. She had been waiting for the contact and then…then she was here.
The office Julian led Cylee into was light, airy, and spartan. A single light-wood desk stood in the middle of a natural wood floor. A row of white bookcases stood along one wall, empty save for an occasional vase or trinket. The opposite wall was painted white and had a single picture of a lily in a light colored frame as its sole adornment. Behind the desk the entire wall was a window out onto a park.
Behind the desk sat a woman who fit the room perfectly. She was slim, compact without being emaciated or unhealthy. Her slightly almond-shaped eyes were wide, clear, and light brown. She watched Cylee approach without any change in expression, neither smiling or frowning. With a slight nod she gestured Cylee into a chair. Cylee ignored the gesture until it was quite clear she would sit down because she felt like sitting down.
Consider Cylee as she walks away from the nondescript building where she was held. Zoom out until Portland is a map, Cylee’s electric signature a small blue dot on the map. Watch Cylee move with purpose down one street, over along another for a while, then turn again, doubling back, until she gets to a business district. Zoom back in until you can see Cylee through the window. Her hair is black and glossy, her skin a deep tan with a mixed ruddy undertone that shows her Native Alaskan heritage, and the fact that it’s mixed with…something else. Maybe you’ll find out what else later. Maybe not. We’ll see.
Sitting back against the wall in her latest hotel room (never stay still for more than eight hours in a strange place, one of her rules) and looked at the ceiling.
Cassandra’s offer was tempting. Cylee’s Pacifica Expeditionary Force Spine was an obvious reminder that she was from Pacifica, which made it harder to get treated normally. Also it was getting old and slow. But there was one other consideration.
Cylee walked back into the building where she had been held. Every part of her was screaming this was a bad idea.
Cylee: Agent, is this a bad idea?
Agent: We don’t think they mean you direct harm.
Cylee returned to the office. Dr. Patel was sitting in the lobby, reading something on a small tablet which she slid into a pocket as Cylee entered.
“Welcome back. Are you ready?”
“I think so, yes.”
“Very well. You know the drill. There's a robe on the table, I'll give you a couple of minutes to get changed, and we'll be set.”
Three days later, Cylee was sitting with her back against a tree, just after dusk. She ran down the salient points of the plan in her head, simple as they were. Six trucks in the convoy, driving two across, three back. The truck that was most likely to have the package would be in the middle rank, on the side closer to the edge of the road, not near the center. Five identical boxes inside the truck, one would have the tracker placed by their corrupted security guard. Get the package, roll out into the darkness, try not to get shot.
Cylee was lying on the table in the infirmary when Cassandra came in. Despite all of Cylee’s protestations, Doctor Patel had insisted on hauling Cylee to her medical lab in what looked like a completely uninteresting light industrial building just outside of Seattle Metro. Cylee didn’t know if this was Cassandra’s headquarters or just another satellite office. And she mostly wasn’t interested. The job paid well, but so did a lot of other jobs. Rule 78: It’s okay to work for a weird, nameless company once, but don’t work for the same weird nameless company more than a couple of times.
Agent: That rule is almost entirely impossible to define.
Cylee: Then it’s more of a maxim.
Cylee awoke to the sound of an incoming call. Mitzi’s face was floating in the darkness, before she even opened her eyes. “Voice only,” Cylee said out loud.
“Cyl! What’s up kiddo? Are you back in Seattle?”
“Hey Mitz. Yeah, I’m back, safe, at home.”
“Oh! Did I wake you? Are you exhausted?”
“Yes and no in that order. What’s up, Mitz?”