-A/N: I'm aware this isn't how it works in Brockton's Celestial Forge. A) This is a snippet. B) I wanted specifically to go in different directions with the concept.

First, note that this starts with Danny instead of Taylor and it occurs right after Annette Hebert's death. Mainly to be different from all the locker scene fics.

So it's once a day, +100cp at 09:00:15 Brockton Bay time. Let the chaos commence!

* Hebert House *

* September 8, 2008 *

The feeling of helplessness and that his life had come to an end, that he wasn't up to keeping up work and taking care of Taylor, that he was now completely not of use - was overwhelming for a brief moment.

An image suddenly dominated his vision, of a vast cosmic force rotating. Of something Beyond his existence briefly taking awareness of his existence.

[Base Key Acquired.]

[Celestial Forge Access Acquired.]

[CP 600/XXXX Acquired. Time Restriction: 0900 Daily or at Major Life Event]

[Parahuman Status Revoked. Metahuman Status Acquired.]

[Queen Administrator Parahuman Shard - present in Subject's female progeny.]

"What? Taylor?"


[Queen Administrator Parahuman Shard inactive = latent parahuman status.]


"NO!" said Danny Hebert most emphatically. He didn't know what was going on, but his spiral into self-loathing and depression hadn't gone so far yet that he was willing to sacrifice his daughter to... whatever this was.

[Accepting. Please note that sufficient duress threshold will likely activate Queen Administrator shard.]

[Parahuman ability classification 75% dependent on nature of Trigger Event.]

[Exiting Jumpchain Activation Sequence.]

"What does... this key means something?" asked Danny Hebert, holding the key that had just appeared up. Looked like an old-fashioned metal key like the ones he kept at the office for getting into some of the old warehouses. It was just really shiny for some reason.

On a hunch he inserted it into a door, aware on some level that Taylor had gone from slumped at the table to watching him.

He opened the door and gawked for a moment at what was obviously NOT his garage.

"Okay..." said Danny Hebert. Annette had only died two days ago, but he was going to have to do something with this. Taylor was still here and damnit he was NOT going to be helpless or useless.

He was not at all aware of how this one simple decision during his slide into depression would cause the usual railroad to jump the track.

Looking into the five meter wide cube with a door at two sides, Danny Hebert entered and was aware of Taylor shambling along behind him. The weirdness of the situation apparently enough to penetrate the layers of depression and shock.

The rumbling he'd gradually become aware of seemed to click into some configuration.

[Engineering (Teen Titans) (100CP)]

[You're a master mechanic and an expert at building robots and other technological devices. You also have a fair bit of knowledge about hacking into computers.]

[Acquired: Basic Machine Shop]

[Acquired: Mechanic's Garage]

[Acquired: Mechanic's Toolset.]

Danny blinked as the knowledge rolled through him and he walked through the garage. Two days too late, otherwise he'd have been able to do SOMETHING to keep Annette safe. Why, there were a half-dozen modifications he could have made to her car that would have prevented her death that he could think of off the top of his head.


That meant this wasn't a weird delusion or dream, because he really DID know how to do such things and couldn't simply imagine the steps needed to make a safety-interlock self-driving module or force field generator.

Yeah, probably best to keep this sort of thing secret though. He went through the door that had just appeared to see a large garage door, massive pair of lifts (one car-sized, one for a much larger vehicle), sets of those large mechanic's toolboxes lining the nearest wall, sets of stationary equipment in little taped-off areas, and what looked like a computer and 3-D printer of some kind? Welding equipment. Huh. He almost expected to see a bay for doing the paintwork but he didn't see that.

"Dad? What is..." Taylor turned in place, gesturing at everything around them.

"I think it's something we need to keep very secret, Taylor. I mean it, don't even tell Emma. This could've saved..." Danny's voice trailed off as he couldn't continue that statement.

"A tinker lab, like Armsmaster has?" guessed Taylor.

"I guess," said Danny Hebert. "We'll have to see. I'm serious though. Don't tell ANYONE. This is the sort of secret that gets people killed."

* September 12 2008 *

Three days since his "Trigger" into a Tinker, though a weird one from what he had been able to gather. Five days since the love of his life had died in a car wreck that he might otherwise have been able to stop if he had just had this ability then.

September 10th had given him:

[Broadcast Booster (The Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes) (200CP)]

[You've discovered a way to make your signals much more effective and efficient, letting you transmit or receive signals and other methods of transmission, such as radio waves, on a global scale. Call your power armor to your exact location, get five bars wherever you go, or make the ultimate remote control.]

[Acquired: Broadcast Booth]

[Charisma +1: Charisma 4 - Charisma 5]

Another room had appeared, this with access to what looked like the common depiction of a radio booth paired with something that looked like a sci-fi novel. The booth had a microphone, headset but also had external speakers (there was a toggle), several video screens, a camera that looked sort of retro-future, and a bunch of unlabeled blinky lights that did absolutely nothing he could figure out.

On the next day, the 11th, he'd gotten that same rumbling sensation and a feeling of cosmic dice being thrown.

[Smith (Generic Builder) (100CP)]

[You have a particular talent for creating anything a blacksmith/armorsmith/weaponsmith might create. Any such crafted object is half again as durable as it would otherwise be. Creation times are halved and your natural talent increases with each purchase of this knack.]

He hadn't gotten an additional room out of it, but he HAD gotten workbenches and a set of tools.

Today he was at the office, apparently throwing himself into work, when he felt the now-familiar sensation. 9am - when those cosmic dice or whatever they were rolled up something random. When one of those constellations of sparks moved in their dance and he ended up with:

[Tool King (Modded Fallout) (100CP)]

[Starting with a cartload of random junk and ending with high-quality ammunition or power cells, cutting-edge improvements to power armor, overcharged laser weaponry or even entirely new kinds of science is practically trivial for the average Fallout protagonist yet their talents pale compared to yours. This Perk grants you immediate access to pretty much any kind of crafting shown in the Fallout series: from Hand Loader to Science! and Chemist to Robotics Expert, if it somehow involves building things out of other things (from guns to ammo to even entire buildings), you've got it - including perfectly memorized designs for the kind of components and tools you might need, like the Robotics Workbench or Nuka-Cola Mixer station. In fact, you're good enough that you'll never make mistakes while doing this type of crafting (assuming someone doesn't start shooting at you or some such), and you'll be perfectly aware of where you were in the process if you do find yourself interrupted and have to continue later on.]

[Acquired: Scavenger Station]

[Acquired: Fallout Workbenches (Armor, Chem, Weapon, General)]

[Intelligence +2. Intelligence 4 - Intelligence 6.]

Danny blinked, the paperwork in front of him momentarily ignored. This... was big. Having supplies had been one of the biggest flags to avoid being outed as a Tinker. With a room of parts that he could break down - that would alleviate a lot of that sort of thing.

Weird, this paperwork had been difficult to parse as it had been written by lawyers for lawyers. It looked fairly easy to decipher now.

Oh, and this section was completely unacceptable. Where'd he set down that marker...

* September 13 2008 *

It had happened once before, so it wasn't a big deal to him. The cosmic dice, or slot machine or whatever, had come up with [Nothing Acquired - Points Roll Over]

So absolutely no new skills or abilities. This was okay though. He already had bought a new junker car and was halfway through the repairs needed to take a 1976 Chevy G-10 Van in poor condition to pristine. He hoped he'd get some kind of painting station soon because all that primer wasn't the best look. Kitting out the back like some mini-RV would be one of the next steps.

Taylor had been practically sleep-walking at home, but slowly coming out of her shell as the various gadgets had come around and he was getting some father-daughter bonding time as they worked on the van.

Yeah, and he'd be adding some self-driving mechanisms and a head's up display for urgent messages before they went anywhere in it.

* September 14 2008 *

It was enough to make him want to take the day off and go home and play with the new addition.

[Auto-Factory (Starbound) (100CP)]

[A room full of various arms and other tools, this factory is designed to be programmed with the blueprints for any item that you know how to create, allowing for raw materials to be fed in from the ship's storage, and be turned into whatever items are programmed into the factory. Warning: Only items that run on purely mechanical / scientific principles can be made here. If something requires magic or more esoteric energies to be created, it will require your personal touch to actually make, though individual parts could still be crafted by the factory. Can't make items bigger than the room itself, though it can build the pieces for you to put together yourself later.]

[Basic Machine Shop upgraded to Auto-Factory (Basic)]

[Added Beginner Blueprint Load (No Man's Sky, Fallout, GTA)]

[Extra points rolling over.]

Yeah, he'd have to load the hoppers and such himself, but being able to use the AutoCAD or Blueprint Reader to have the room put together stuff while he was away?

That would make SO many things so much easier.

Instead Danny just turned his attention back to his work. He'd have some time later.

* September 15 2008 *

Danny facepalmed. "I can't lie, Taylor. I'm very disappointed in you."

"B-but I share everything with Emma," practically whined Taylor.

"The more people that know a secret, the less likely it will remain secret," said Danny. "And I told you to begin with not to tell anyone."

"I thought she was just dealing with Annette's death in a strange way," admitted Zoe Barnes as she looked over the workshop.

"It was rather hard to believe when Emma told us," said Alan Barnes as he studied one of the workbenches.

"Whoaaaa," said Emma Barnes as she wandered into the Broadcast Booth.

"You haven't told anyone ELSE, have you?" asked Danny, feeling that this was now completely outside his control.

"Uhm, is this a new room?" asked Taylor, pointing.

Danny sighed, hoping at least it didn't spread MUCH farther than this. "What part of - 'this is the sort of secret that gets people killed when it gets out' did you NOT understand, Taylor?"

"He's right," said Zoe Barnes, fixing her own daughter with the sort of glare that should have been able to peel paint off the walls. "The way gangs are with even a suspected Tinker - this could get you killed or tortured or forced into a gang. You do NOT speak of it outside the house. I mean it. Taylor told you, you told us, and you'd been sworn to secrecy by Taylor before that. This can't go anywhere."

"I know, Mom," said Emma. "It's Taylor that can't stop talking."

"EMMA!" objected Taylor as they didn't have a bus but she felt she was being thrown under one.

"What IS this room?" asked Alan, sticking his head in the new door. "Looks like some sort of high-tech office with a high-tech coffin."

[Cradle (Marvel Cinematic Universe Vol. 1) (200CP)]

[Weapons of war are not the only thing to advance, and this medical bed is proof of that. This human-sized medical device can heal wounds by scanning the wounded area and then regrowing skin tissue to a degree of accuracy that visually one wouldn't be able to tell there was a wound. If improved, there might be a way to let it 'grow' an entire body, but it would take a great degree of medical knowledge to sufficiently do so. There is then the issue of giving it a consciousness; it can create bodies but it cannot create life.]

[Added: Sickbay]

[Perception +1. Perception 2 - Perception 3]

Danny tried to figure out the easiest way to sum up that day's addition. "It's a sickbay like on Star Trek."

"Oh? Can you do a checkup on someone?" asked Zoe. "It'd be nice to make sure Emma doesn't have anything we don't know about."

"It's mainly for injuries, but there is a scanning function," admitted Danny. "I'm not medically trained but a lot of this is automated."

* September 17 2008 *

The sixteenth had been another [Nothing Acquired - Points Roll Over]

Tomorrow he'd promised to take a couple of hours and look over Alan's car and maybe tune it up a bit.

As the usual time rolled around, Danny set his coffee cup down and pretended to stretch out. A couple of pops indicated that maybe he actually needed it and pretending wasn't going to be enough. He felt the connection form in mid-stretch.

[The Conveyors Will Run On Time (Factorio) (200CP)]

[Or you could let a computer do all the work. You have the programming skills needed to automate a massive assembly complex, having dozens, even hundreds of disparate machines working smoothly together. Your skill is enough to program 'fuzzy' logic into your machines. This is far from actual sapience, but they will know not to waste energy or compound problems by blindly following irrelevant, contradictory or self-destructive programming. Your defensive systems also work more intelligently, leading targets, prioritizing more dangerous enemies based on the current situation, and not being distracted by decoys.]

[Upgrading Factory (Basic) to Factory (Advanced)]

He wasn't sure about that as the Auto-Factory he'd acquired had been deemed "Basic" but it had still involved holographic screens and some pretty high-tech stuff from his point-of-reference. That it was now "Advanced" despite this spark seeming to be less advanced in technology than the previous choice was a little confusing.

* September 18 2008 *

[Hangar (Ace Combat) (100CP)]

[Planes are fine when they're going through the air and dealing with enemies. But leaving them to the elements and the outdoors when they're not in use? Well that just seems really crass. You need somewhere to store your vehicles and planes when you're not busy destroying anything that's not on your side, and that's what these establishments are for. It's not the most fancy thing in the world, but it'll serve its purpose and make sure your means for vehicular slaughter are in prime condition for their tasks. This particular one comes equipped with special clamps and harnesses to make refitting and refueling any boats or ships go much more quickly than they would if you were using them by hand. As this is sea-based base, this includes docks for boats and submarines.]

[Gives a warehouse attachment for planes, vehicles, boats, submarines. A very all encompassing storage space that keeps the vehicles stored in prime condition too.]

[Mechanic's Garage upgraded to Hangar/Docks.]

[Added Tugboat (Standard)]

[Endurance +1. Endurance 3 - Endurance 4]

"Well, at least it's a ship." Danny groaned at the look of the ship. It was a small, mostly nondescript, tugboat. On the one hand, it was something he knew the basics of. On the other, it was something that would require more than one crew for anything other than the most basic of operations.

If it had been a plane, he'd have been pretty much clueless.

Well, maybe he could manage a two-family outing in it. It certainly looked sturdy enough.

It was connected by a large door to the Automated Factory. He'd have to see if he could add a few things. Like maybe a stealth module.

He didn't know how to build a stealth module, but thought it likely he eventually would.

Hopefully he had blueprints.

* September 24th 2008 *

Danny Hebert had begun wondering if no new skills were on their way. After all, he'd been getting the message indicating points building up for six days now.

[Jeune Ecole (Honor Harrington) (400CP)]

[When it comes to building new and improved things, there is no one quite like you. You're a genius among geniuses. While your skills cover a large spectrum, you specialize in communications and weapons, being able to design systems and weaponry decades in advance of your closest peers.]

[While this perk provides you no help when it comes to making whole ships or shipyards, within your field you're practically unmatched. You could take a normal design and come up with a hundred new ideas, and they will all be completely feasible ideas that will actually be massively helpful to your side. Getting them produced may be expensive and time consuming, but once they're ready they will be decades ahead of the curve.]

Huh. Apparently making a camouflage field for the tugboat would mean not having a forcefield, but if he put both in he could toggle from one to the other drawing from the batteries. He could really use a better power source as current batteries would only allow him about five minutes before he'd have to switch to recharging the batteries from the solar panels.

* September 26th 2008 *

Yesterday had been simple.

[Holotable (Marvel Cinematic Universe Vol. 1) (50CP)]

[A device in the shape of a table used to create holographic models that allow the study, analysis and reconstruction of a vast array of items, weapons and events. Comes in any color of holograms you like and each hologram is capable of being interacted with. Naturally this performs better with additional data.]

[Added: Conference Room]

That was simple enough and it had turned out to be a nice little room with a few displays around the listed table, also some chairs that were not very comfortable. He wondered if that was a design thing for all conference rooms.

Then there was today's addition.

[Tailor Made (Career Model) (100CP)]

[You are a brilliant designer and can ensure objects you create are always looking fantastic, aesthetically pleasing and the like. Making something look good no longer takes any time or effort- you can focus entirely on function, and whatever you make will look outstanding.]

[Charisma +1. Charisma 3 - Charisma 4.]

He could add a few things now. Maybe a few decorations. Spice up the place a bit.

As it was, the automated factory had been building automated resource-gathering robots and devices to process those resources since he'd gotten the factory upgrade. His little hobby should be taking off very soon.

Then maybe he could start the process of putting patents out. It was a pity that Alan was a divorce lawyer, because a patent lawyer would be really handy for this.


"Unusual spike in power usage in the Docks area," reported Dragon. "Third time this week, a strong dip followed by a surge."

"Hmmm. But nothing from the junkyards or electronics stores?" asked Armsmaster. "Were you able to pinpoint it this time?"

"I've narrowed it down to the Docks area," said Dragon. "Both occurred at 0900 hours local and lasted for twenty-five seconds for both effects. No other sign of a Tinker activation."

"Some automated system maybe," said Armsmaster. "An automated systems Tinker would be handy but without more data... I might be able to build some sort of monitoring network."

"The usual method of discovering a new Tinker is monitoring for fluctuations in power use and the acquiring of raw materials." Dragon was silent for a moment. "The various gangs know this pattern and will be on the lookout, but the most likely to have monitoring in place would be the Empire 88. It is doubtful that they can determine..."

"Something come up?" asked Armsmaster.

"Yes, a building in the Docks area had a significant power draw and then went completely dead as far as power usage is concerned." Dragon went silent again briefly. "Camera drone in area."

A screen popped up and Armsmaster turned his full attention away from the guided taser prongs he was adding to his halberd. Buildings in various stages of disrepair flicked by before a single warehouse was selected.

"Dock Workers Union Offices. Those are a non-standard solar panel design," stated Dragon.

"I'll have to examine those in person," Armsmaster decided. "Any idea on them?"

"This is a basic camera drone, not something with more extensive sensors." Dragon sounded intrigued though.

* September 27th 2008 *


"I have the figures from a monitoring drone on those solar panels," said Dragon. "There's a motorized socket that allows the panel to orient on the sun for maximum efficiency. Looks like each one is able to put out 25kPs to a peak time 50kPs."

Armsmaster put his soldering iron aside. "Considering the best one on the market, the one derived from tinkertech that Solwind puts out, is good for 0.5kPs - that is remarkable."

"Colin," began Dragon hesitating at the end of that for a few seconds. "As near as I can tell without disassembly - it's not tinkertech. Everything looks like very advanced technology and materials but no black boxes. The battery design is also unfamiliar and I am unable to trace the eventual destination the power goes to."

Armsmaster was quiet for a few seconds. "If it turns out not to be, then I am reluctant to attempt recruitment of this Tinker."

"Really? Why?" asked Dragon.

"If recruited to the Protectorate, then most likely the technology will not be spread. Regulations and oversight will lock everything down and the Tinker in question will most likely get less than 30% of their potential earnings from such inventions." Armsmaster looked over the pictures of the solar panel in question. "Such a thing, small and mobile enough to be deployed in emergency areas, could save lives if it becomes available on the market."

"Guild membership then?" asked Dragon. "Not quite as restrictive in those regards as the Canadian laws differ and a contract could be more beneficial to a recruit."

Armsmaster nodded after a few moments to consider. "That might work better in the long run. We just need to find the Tinker."

"Could be anyone who works there or... there's a lawyer that just showed up who's in my database. Alan Barnes. Divorce lawyer." Dragon checked records. "It's a Saturday so it is not likely to be work-related."

"I take it you're monitoring the power grid since it is 08:59?" asked Armsmaster.

"Of course. And exactly as previously. Power drop at 09:00:15. And power surge briefly recorded at 09:01:00. Same pattern but stronger dip and surge this time." Dragon hmmmed to emulate the human process of pondering despite her processing speed being much faster at that sort of thing.

* DWU Office *

Danny Hebert glanced at the clock and felt the connection occur again. Followed by another. He raised an eyebrow at the two at once.

[Ship Architect (Yamato 2199) (100CP)]

[You know how to design ships. From nose to exhaust, from Astrogation to Life Support to Warp Engine, you could draft up a functional space worthy ship. On paper. Putting all the pieces together may be beyond you, but anyone who puts it together will agree, it's a mighty fine ship.]

[Upgrading Auto-factory (Advanced) to Auto-factory (Early Interstellar)]

[Upgrading Hangar/Docks to include Spaceship Gantry]

[Intelligence +1. Intelligence 6 - Intelligence 7.]

He'd been ready to dismiss that as useless due to the Simurgh's presence in orbit when the second connection was made.

[Companion Bracelet (World Seed) (0CP)]

[A bracelet housing an evolving AI; although Alliance policy is to hand them out to people only after they've gotten their class at level 10, an exception was made for you to get it a bit earlier. Although called a bracelet, there are different forms for different races. Slime people might be injected with a nanite swarm programmed with the same effect, for example. Once you have equipped the bracelet, the AI will adapt itself to gain an ideal personality fitting your own. The AI of a loner might become their perfect friend, that of a rich girl always left alone might become a butler caring for her, and someone living a loveless life might find that their companion AI has all the qualities they'd want in their matter how your companion AI will end up, they will always end up in your best interest. As they have a photographic memory and see the world through your senses, they can highlight important objects or places you might have missed, jog your memory if you forget something important, or browse through the internet to find information a million times faster than somebody with a human brain would. There are also various upgrades that can add to the functionality of the companion bracelet, such as identifying software allowing your companion AI to scan the Aura of creatures or objects to determine their ability, level, and other information, or even an upgrade to allow an instance of them to live in your brain and tap into your senses to control your body in dangerous situations, or just show the trajectories enemy projectiles will take so you can easily dodge them. For 50 CP each, you can apply one upgrade to your companion bracelet, with no limit on how many you can purchase.]

Danny thoughtfully looked at the bracelet with the gleaming crystal on it. "Emulate watch appearance."

The bracelet shimmered and now looked like a men's watch except the blue-and-gold coloration remained. "Please designate Device name."

Again Danny did the Spock-eyebrow bit (he was getting a lot of practice with it lately) and decided to go with the obvious. "Designate AI Device as Athena."

"Confirmed. Artificial Intelligence Athena is online. Connections available. Stealth mode set as default. Do you want to view available connections?"

"Yes," agreed Danny after a moment's thought.

"Connections available in current location. Dockworkers Union Wi-fi. CenturionLink 25974. DragonTech Secured Line D-R-252. AT&T Wireless Hebert, Danny. Potential connection to extradimensional space Danny's Workshop - requires key to be inserted in order to open space for access. Distance 12 meters and closing: Verizone registered to Barnes, Alan."

"'Dragontech'? Who could afford one of those phones around here?" asked Danny. "Link to Workshop when available. Use the wi-fi and my phone connections as default unless in a situation where no connection is desired. Like if I'm trying to escape someone. It'd be bad if they could track me by phone."

"Dragontech connection is from a drone located on roof of this building. Unable to determine type when in concealed mode. Preferences saved and going to full concealment due to proximity of Barnes, Alan."

"Good girl," said Danny, amused by how the AI had started out mechanical-sounding and had gradually gotten more human-sounding. He'd worry about the drone later. It might mean one of the gangs in the area or something else concerning.

* Dragon *

Something had just pinged her connection to the drone. That was concerning but considering the tech level involved in the solar panels and the odd battery - not entirely unexpected.

That a small family was now heading into the DWU offices and apparently meeting someone there was a complication. Was one of them the Tinker? Were they meeting the Tinker? Did everyone involved know about the Tinker or was the Tinker in hiding from the group as well?

At 09:35 a gravimetric disturbance was registered, though it was at the very limit of that particular sensor's sensitivity. It was mainly to scout an area for Behemoth's tunnels and not intended for whatever-had-just-happened so it was just an additional bit of data.

A blip appearing at 10:17 drew her attention back to the probe as a tugboat had just appeared in the waters near the offices. Facial recognition revealed the family and one of the dockworkers, tentatively identified as Daniel Francisco Hebert.

Huh. That odd battery design seemed to use some sort of magnetic coil technology. How did it actually work though?

[Information Request Denied. Please Identify.]

Some sort of scripted response to her attempts at probing? Dragon thought it was cute trying to block her access.

[AI identified as 'Dragon' - database reveals status as "good guy" in current society.]

Dragon would have blinked and her mouth would have hung open if she were human. This wasn't a scripted response?

[Hello. My name is Athena. Requesting reason for surveillance.]

Dragon sent back along the same lines a request of Athena's status.

[Lack of cooperation noted. I asked first.]

Dragon sent back that her authority was higher.

[Checking Chain of Command. Chain of Command does not include Dragon. So there, nyah.]

Dragon went through the rough equivelant of staring in surprise as a gif of someone doing the Japanese redeye was sent to her.

[Closing connection. Will notify Commander of rude AI poking around.]

Dragon checked the record, determined the source of the transmission was the tugboat moving around in the Bay and decided to continue monitoring.

She was not at all certain what to make of this possible other-AI.

* September 28 2008 *

[Diagnostic Tools (Outlaw Star) (50CP)]

[A small data display with numerous connectors and scanners, capable of letting you know what is wrong with simple technology and what advanced technology that has been programmed into it.]

[Added to Companion Bracelet.]

"Acknowledged. Sensor package received."

Danny noted how Athena sounded a bit smug and again marveled at how adaptive the AI was even as the rumbling continued throughout his workshop.

"Is this a good time to bring up the development regarding the drone surveillance?" asked Athena.

"Taylor?" asked Danny. "Stop trying to make power armor with the framework extruder. Go do your homework, young lady."

"But I-" began Taylor.

The rumbling stopped.

[Titan Engineering (Titanfall) (100CP)]

[Titans are incredibly complex machines, and due to the disposable nature of their use and production, and not designed for easy repair. You've got the deft touch though, and know exactly where to tweak and shore up the structure to keep it purring like it's fresh out of the drop pod for years.]

[Added to Hangar: Titanfall Drop Pod Launcher.]

[Added to Hangar: Titan Gantry.]

[Added to Auto-Factory: Robot Assembly System.]

[Added to Auto-Factory: Titan Blueprint Package.]

[Added to Hangar: H-KA02/a Ogre.]

"We have a giant robot?" asked Taylor, who was quite able to add references up and come up with an answer. She quickly vanished as she rushed from the factory to where the Hangar was.

"Taylor!" called out Danny, though he had to admit to some curiosity himself.

Hearing Taylor squee was certainly something unexpected and rare.

But maybe girls liked giant robots.

"Ooh. Nice," said Athena.

Well, Athena didn't count, did she?

"Oh Emm Gee!"

"Danny? Did you know you had a small Giant Robot?"

Danny sighed as apparently the Barnes had arrived.

Well, at least he had those accessories ready. "Alan? Are you ready to pull your car into... Bay 4?"

* Dragon *

Empty warehouse. Radar and peeking through the gaps in the siding made that abundantly clear.

Door rolled up and a car went in. Door rolled down.

Warehouse was still empty.

Teleport technology would be the obvious explanation. Except there were no emitters or sensors she could find.

Wormhole technology was the most likely, with all the actual equipment being on the other side of the wormhole.

So, whichever member of the two families was the Tinker, they had a remarkably versatile specialization.

She was currently leaning for it to be Taylor Hebert as she seemed the studious sort and frequently carried around books that had turned out to be dealing with either engineering or mathematics.

The Barnes family had two cars and the mother's SUV (2006 Ford Escape XLT) had been outfitted with a number of nonstandard features. As a matter of fact, that car had as many features as something James Bond would drive. Auto-parking, auto-braking, sensor systems that monitored things in a 360 degree field, charging capacitors and tesla arc defense, and more. The tires themselves were set up to re-inflate if they were punctured, would notify the driver of that, and would then go for about a hundred miles before they would need replacing unless they were absolutely shredded. There was more, a lot more. Most of which could be patented as there was no "black box" that required a Tinker to maintain it.

Alan Barnes' car had only a half-dozen things on it that made it not simply another BMW.

The warehouse door opened again and something that was not a car strode out of it.

It was, in fact, 53 tons of advanced metal alloys. After a few moments, the hatch popped open and two girls in their early teens stuck their heads out, whooped, then closed the hatch again and began putting the machine through its paces.

Which stopped when Mrs Barnes came out and began upbraiding the two girls for doing something so dangerous with technology that had not been properly safety tested.

Dragon moved the probe in order to get video through the open door and upped the theory of wormhole generation to almost certainly confirmed. Inside was a set of hangars, a dock where a tugboat lay bobbing, what looked like a rocket gantry, and a glimpse of some other large mechanism.

Yes, she was going to "second request" Narwhal to have a Tinker invite to the Guild. She'd have to drop in at those offices tomorrow.

Though she still wasn't sure WHO among the crowd was the Tinker.

* Monday, Sep 29 2008 *

Today's 0900 pick had been an interesting development. The extra knowledge had been potentially useful, the additions to the Sickbay had brought the utility of that room even higher.

[Medicine (GUNNM) (100CP)]

[You have the skills of a surgeon, first-responder and pharmacist, all roughly bundled together with a lot of hands-on experience with the worst injuries the wasteland has to offer. Your hands are steady, your focus unperturbed by the sight and stench of gore and viscera, and you have the precise and quick reflexes necessary to swat a fly with a scalpel. You also have a fair bit of experience with slightly inhuman and mutated physiology, and are very quick to pick up on new techniques and tools.]

[Intelligence +1. Intelligence 7 - Intelligence 8.]

[Agility +2. Agility 2 - Agility 4.]

[Added Cybernetics Assembly Line to Auto-Factory.]

[Added Cyborg Parts Database (Gunm) to Auto-Factory.]

[Uprated Sickbay for Surgical Procedures, Recovery, and Cybernetics Implantation.]

There had been an immediate desire to call Taylor in and add cyborg implants that would ensure any gang bangers trying to kidnap her would regret it. He resisted that temptation. Though he did put a micro emergency transmitter in a watch that had a couple of other functions for her. Just in case.

Though the bit with the stats had him curious enough that he went in for a scan and decided to fix a couple of things. Like the balding scalp. The eyes and any self-improvement using cybernetics would have to wait until he had an associate.

During lunch was when he used his key to change a supply closet to his Workshop access, and he checked those stats. Odd format, and he wasn't sure about the accuracy but as a base guideline it might work.

[Strength: 3. Perception: 3. Endurance: 3. Charisma: 5. Intelligence: 8. Agility: 4. Luck: 2.]

Yeah, it was certainly a strange set of numbers. The scale meant what? What was considered normal human in these values?

Danny Hebert put that aside in the business of trying to find work for his union members, which was his job after all. Head of Hiring but without a lot of jobs available finding work for the existing members was his main task.

It would be a lot easier if he could just operate openly, but the NEPEA laws (that his own political party had voted for those certainly stuck in his craw) made using powers in work nearly impossible and the gang situation made operating as a Tinker hazardous.

A knock on the door interrupted his "wool gathering" while waiting on hold with a local trucking company. "I'm on the phone."

A set of power armor entered and stationed itself near the door. "I'll wait," said a feminine but artificial voice.

"Oh, Dragon. I've been expecting you. Athena told me so much about you. I'll be with you in a minute," responded Danny. "I'm currently on hold with Tucker Transport."

Dragon waited patiently for Danny to finish up arranging a few temporary jobs for workers and then calling individuals for those jobs.

"Now, let's talk," said Danny. "Athena. Keep the snark to a minimum. Otherwise continue to monitor area."

"I'm on it, Chief," cheerfully said his wristcomp.

"And don't call me Chief," complained Danny.

"You got it Chief," agreed Athena. The wristcomp still sounding cheerful.

"You have a full Artificial Intelligence on your wrist," said Dragon.

"Whereas you are a full AI occupying a server room in Canada," said Danny, holding up a hand. "I'm not prejudiced against AI after all. I'm rather fond of my personal assistant here. Almost like a second daughter."

"Awwww, Chief, you'll make me blush."

"Athena, hush." Danny managed an exasperated look for a moment before doing the full Negotiator attitude where he wasn't going to display anything unrelated to the deal being brokered. "So, Dragon, let us speak. I take it you're here for a recruitment?"

"Yes, I believe we can come to a mutually acceptable arrangement," admitted Dragon. "Specifically your Tinker and the Guild."

"Not an offer from the PRT or Protectorate?" asked Danny, raising an eyebrow. "And I'm not sure Tinker works."

"Taylor could benefit from the Wards program, certainly," said Dragon. "However, the restrictions on things like patents... Is something wrong?"

"Taylor is neither a parahuman or a Tinker," said Danny Hebert. "She's picking up some skills there, but she's not the one you're looking for."

"Ah, well, in some ways that does simplify things," admitted Dragon.

* Monday, September 30 2008 *

Danny stepped out of the office to the little parking lot, briefly wishing Taylor hadn't had to go to school since she'd have loved this.

Dragon nodded to him before beginning the introductions. "Mister Hebert. You know Armsmaster by reputation at least, he's here as a witness and representitive of the Protectorate. This is Doctor Benton C. Quest, who works for the United States government as a troubleshooter."

"Researcher, actually, I stopped doing field work in the 1980s," said the tall man whose gray hair still bore a few patches of red. "My group works with multiple agencies including the Parahuman Response Team but also NASA and the FBI."

"Doctor Quest," acknowledged Danny Hebert. "Danny F. Hebert, head of hiring for the Brockton Bay Dock Workers Union. I've become a bit of a scientist myself."

"I look forward to seeing what you come up with then," said Doctor Quest, giving a firm handshake.

"Doctor Roberta Heinlein is from DARPA, Doctor Senku Ishigami is from NASA, and Doctor Capaldi is from the international science coalition Canadian branch - UNIT," continued Dragon. "Trooper Amy Pond and Medic Rory Williams are guarding the vehicles and entry."

"I'm going to be very surprised if this is even half the big deal that Dragon was suggesting," complained Ishigami.

"Are you a parahuman?" asked Danny Hebert.

"No, why are you asking?" asked Ishigami.

"Your hair," indicated Danny Hebert.

"What's wrong with my hair?" asked Ishigami.

The watch on Danny's wrist morphed into a full bracer covering most of his left forearm. "Scan indicates natural shading. Blond with green tips and unusually stiff hair. Outside of normal parameters for a human of Japanese ancestry."

"Oh, that," said Doctor Ishigami. "Woke up that way after Kyushu. Provisional Thinker rating of 2 because of computational ability."

"Ah, well, that should actually come in handy," said Danny. He turned, took out a different key, and opened the door to his office. Then he simply walked them through the rabbit hole his life had become. "Okay this is the foyer, and going through it is my main workshop. You see the various workbenches to the sides. Doors are labeled, but in case you need the penny tour - there's the doors to the [Broadcast Booth], [Hangar], [Scavenger Station], and the main floor of the [Auto-Factory]."

"You have access to an extra-dimensional space that has a factory in it?" asked Doctor Ishigami. "Well now. I'm a little impressed."

"Five minute warning," said the wrist device on Danny's arm.

"What's the warning for?" asked Doctor Capaldi, not looking up from where he'd been looking over one of work benches.

"Nine o'clock, when my power activates," said Danny Hebert, not seeing the point in concealing that at this point. They'd figure it out eventually anyway if they were going to associate with him.

"Oh?" said Doctor Capaldi. "Interesting. This is for making personal armor, I take it?"

"Yes, that's the Armor Workbench," agreed Danny.

"So, what happens when your power activates?" asked Dragon.

"I get new skills and sometimes new equipment," said Danny. "Bit of a crapshoot actually."

"One minute," noted Athena.

At 09:00:15 there was a brief flicker of dimmed lights which then brightened before settling down to normal illumination.

"Oh, that's handy," said Danny.

[Blueprint Bonanza (No Man's Sky) (100cp)]

[You had some basic blueprints, here's a major increase in the blueprints and devices available to you. Traveler, you can now build underwater habitations, bases with life support that will endure under horrendous environments, new power plants and exocraft, better refiners and equipment. You can even build teleportation devices if you can get the materials involved. You still need the supplies and to build the gadgets.]

[Added Blueprint Research Device.]

[Added Electromagnetic Generator.]

[Added Fusion Power Plant.]

[Added Class C Multi-Tool.]

"Why, what happened?" asked Doctor Capaldi.

"Fusion plant, new blueprints," said Danny Hebert.

"What kind of blueprints?" asked Doctor Quest.

* Coil *

The reports were in. New Tinker in town. Member of the Guild. Had he known of this a few days earlier, he could have kidnapped this Daniel Hebert and reduced him to a mewling wretch on the table. All that technology could have been something HE controlled and dispersed in a manner that benefitted himself.

As it was, if he moved NOW - he would have an entire alphabet soup worth of agencies coming down on his head.

One of the sticking points with Tinkers was that their technology couldn't be readily reproduced. The few exceptions were those that Dragon had worked out, or were things that were close enough to normal technology that the black box parts could be inferred. Solwind Industries had done so with their own solar panels.

Except this wasn't Tinkertech. This was insanely advanced technology.

Researching plasteel, duralloy, synthaton, neo-concrete - material science stood to advance centuries when it was done.

Already the development of shock rifles that could taser a target without wires being involved stood to revolutionize law enforcement. There was a rumor that when Emily Piggot saw the first crate of those delivered to her office that she'd actually smiled.

Still, he could indirectly profit. Some of the items would inevitably be "lost" and redirected to his own facilities.

It had been a difficult decision. He'd almost allowed the information to leak, because he could sit back in the shadows as the various gangs went after each other. The Slaughterhouse Nine would certainly be counted on to swing in to the chaos. He would watch everyone kill everyone else for the tech, and he would be there to fill in any power vacuum.

Except that for whatever reason - the Simurgh hadn't gotten involved and he was disinclined to do anything that would end up being in a Simurgh Containment Zone. That was a bad ending he could do without.

Which was why, instead of working against the agencies involved - he was actually considering throwing his own lot behind the concealment of this "Mister Lloyd Forger" as he was listed in the PRT documentation.

* Wed Oct 1 2008 *

"Five minute warning. All personnel - five minute warning. Prepare to secure whatever you're working on."

It felt very odd that previously he had only himself in the Workshop, with sometimes Taylor or at most Taylor and a couple of the Barnes family wandering around the facility.

Other researchers taking notes. Now he could get some of his own Dockworkers Union members, those who had already gone through the security and vetting process, into position working the workbenches. Researchers who were under his authority but reported back to primarily DARPA and a few other agencies what they could glean from his own system.

Taylor, of course, was now listed officially as an apprentice and employee despite being thirteen.

"One minute warning. Repeat. One minute warning."

"Thank you, Athena."

"You bet, Chief."

"Don't call me 'Chief'."

"As you prefer, sempai."


[Lab/Workshop (Family Matters) (400CP)]

[You have access to an excellent workshop, laboratory, office, art studio, or whatever other facility is required for your creations. After this Jump, these will be connected to your Warehouse. Tools and basic materials are supplied, but special or extremely valuable resources must be acquired for yourself.]

[Scavenger Station upgraded to Warehouse.]

[Added Refinery.]

[Refining mechanisms moved to Refinery.]

[Added Research Lab.]

[Intelligence +1. Intelligence 8 - Intelligence 9.]

[Random Chance of Minion Benefit: 10% Chance. 07. Success.]

[All employees benefit. Intelligence +1.]

"Holy shit," said a large number of individuals.

"Language!" exclaimed a smaller number of individuals.

"So that's how that works," mused Danny Hebert as he suddenly understood a few things that had been puzzling him.

Armsmaster appeared out of the door that led to the Hangar, quickly crossed the room, and disappeared through the new door marked "Lab". Danny had a feeling the man wouldn't be seen for awhile.

Well, at least Taylor was at school and wouldn't be affected by that sort of thing.

* Adam West Junior High, Brockton Bay *

Taylor had stopped and stared at the brief image before it faded away.

Emma, of course, had jabbed her with an elbow and hissed out a whisper about zoning-out in class.

[Intelligence +1. Intelligence 6 - Intelligence 7.]

She just knew that it HAD to be something her father had done.

Her hand started making notes automatically as the teacher, apparently oblivious, droned on.

* Armsmaster *

He was not one of "Mister Forger's" employees. He did not get the message directly.

He saw the effect. The startled exclamations, the looks, the flurry of activity. The latter having a few comments that drew his attention.

It was, in some ways, like Teacher. Except that there was apparently no Master effect as several of those were talking about long-term benefits and wondering if the effect would last after leaving the contract arrangement with Danny Hebert.

Intelligence boosting. Judging from two of those observed, it was a boost of at least ten points on the usual scale. Which didn't sound like much except when you were dealing with some of the barely-literate individuals who were suddenly able to parse things much more clearly.

Two of the actual scientists (one from DARPA and one from the Guild) were now animatedly discussing ways of testing out metallurgic specimens using the new Quark Microassembler to look for crystallization issues.

And the equipment! Just looking over some of the tools available in the research lab made him twitch a little at the sort of things he could potentially fit inside his armor.

* Thu Oct 2 2008 *

When it hit, everyone in the complex knew about it.

[4th Imperium Weaponry (Empire From The Ashes) (400CP)]

[From the basic energy gun to the Gravitonic Warhead, you are an expert in designing tools of death and destruction. You have perfect knowledge of each and every weapon the 4th Imperium ever made, and how to make them. You do not have the knowledge required to make the supporting systems behind them, meaning that while you can make a basic launch device for that warhead, you cannot make a ship to deliver it off-planet with this perk.]

[Added Gunnery Range.]

[Added Arsenal.]

[Added High Energy Weapons Line to Auto-Factory.]

[Added Missile Assembly Line to Auto-Factory.]

Armsmaster was first into the new Arsenal complex. He proclaimed it beautiful.

There were a number of reactions to the new rooms, ranging from "Oh shit" to the naming of potential targets.

Armsmaster noted Danny Hebert next to him. "That spaceship you're constructing?"

"Which one, but yeah," said Danny Hebert. "I think so too."

* Fri Oct 3 2008 *

* 3.5km above Fenrir, 22 million km from Saturn *

It started with a thin line from which light shone. The line widened rapidly, becoming a rectangle eighty meters across.

A long shape slowly drifted out of the rectangle.

There was a brief pause as antennae extended from the hull and thrusters briefly flared up. "Huh. That's Saturn in the distance. Pretty distinctive. Wonder why the spaceship gantry opens out here."

"Confirming. Transmissions good. Note that at that distance there's going to be significant lag once we close the door."

"Affirmative base. Isokaze-class Space Destroyer Paul Revere has achieved stable orbit around one of the moons. We're about a quarter of the way through the checklist. Two problems so far. One of the antennae on the aft fin appears to be stuck. The other is a seal on Deck Three, and the prediction that bubblegum could be used as a temporary patch was confirmed. This is not how it works in the movies."

"Movies and TV programs over-dramatize everything, Paul Revere. Pressure difference between sea level and space is only one atmos. Patch it with the weld kit when you've got the chance. Advise when you have any other problems."

"Roger, Mission Control. Any reaction from those who are watched?"

"Negative. Wavy One is still in mid-Pacific. One-eye is moving around under Africa. Winged Menace is currently in LEO and passing over New Zealand."

"Roger that, Mission Control."

"Door will be closing in thirty seconds. Good luck, Paul Revere. See you tomorrow."

"Copy that, Control. Continuing checklist. See you tomorrow. Paul Revere going silent mode."

* Complex *

"You know, there are definitely targets who'd make a good test of this technology."

"Five minute warning," said Athena's voice over the intercom.

The rumbling began at the three minute mark, which was unusual enough to cause a general alert status.

[The Menace of the Mechanist (Fallout 4) (200cp)]

[There are two kinds of minions. Those you recruit by one means or another, and those you build to order.]

[With your command of robotics and AI, you can now build Robot Legions of Doom or Help-bots or a security force that cannot be bribed.]

[Gained Robot Workbench.]

[Added Robot Parts Assembly Line to Auto-Factory.]

"I wonder what kind of robots. Are we talking Daleks, that Lost-in-Space robot, or gynoids?"

"Daleks ain't robots. They're little psychopath tentacle beasts in a tank suit. We couldn't be lucky enough to get gynoids unless they're the crazy kind. So I'm guessing the middle choice is most likely?"

"Still be handy to have. I know the Boss has some robot miners and such already, but that stuff is basically big automated construction equipment."

"You just want there to be some grunt workers around so we're not low men on the totem pole around here."

"Honestly, I want R2-D2."

"Well... fair enough. Who wouldn't?"

* PRT Threat Report *

Eyes only. Security Level 5.

Initial Threat Assessment - Doctor Forger (tentatively assigned codename)

Protectorate ENE - Brockton Bay New Hampshire

Reporting Officer - Armsmaster

Appearance: Doctor Forger is a tall (6'2") Caucasian male of European heritage. Subject typically wears clothing that is ill-fitting being sized for someone a good deal thinner. Indication from comments is that subject has gained muscle mass since Trigger Event but is insufficient to gain a Brute rating.

Tinker: 9+. Forger is able to acquire knowledge of advanced technology on a daily basis, which occurs at 09:00:15 daily. Reason for timing and source of knowledge unknown. Examination of blueprints and physical manifestations of technology indicate multiple sources of varying degrees of development.

Note that despite the Tinker rating, the technology seems to be reproducible by non-Tinkers. DARPA has indicated that they have already reproduced several of the less-advanced devices and parts such as Ion Batteries and Stun Rifles off-site using parts built without utilizing Forger's parts.

Master: 5. As of 1525 hours today, Doctor Forger has produced two combat type robots designated as "Assaultrons" for evaluation/use by the Canadian military. A fire-fighting specialized version of a "Protectron" and a utility robot dubbed a "Mister Handy" should be ready by tomorrow evening and will be evaluated by the United States government due to deals reached between Canadian and US officials.

Shaker: 5+. Forger is able to manifest an extradimensional industrial/research complex which is expanded upon by same mechanism as acquisition of new fields of knowledge. As of this report, the workshop has access to an uninhabited parallel Earth which is being mined for raw materials. Complex consists of a main workshop, communications hub, hangar area for planes with accompanied docks for sea-going vessels and a spaceship launch complex, a launch and repair section for "giant robot" style vehicles, sickbay with cybernetic surgical suite, recycling and processing center, warehouse for acquired parts and materials, research laboratory, conference room, gunnery range, and arsenal. Worth special mention is the automated factory, which currently has sixteen assembly lines to produce parts and equipment out of the raw materials acquired from the refinery.

Profile: Do not threaten family or those Doctor Forger has deemed to be allies/friends/employees. Subject has an extreme emotional reaction to perceived threats to such individuals. Subject is also very much dedicated to his day job, head of hiring for the Brockton Bay Dock Workers Union. (Sometimes referred to as DockWorkers Association - terms are interchangeable in common use and appear to be a matter of personal preference. Legal documents refer to it as the Union.) As development of technology and resulting increase of employment within area dovetail in an efficient manner, there is currently no difficulty reconciling day job and Tinker work.

Doctor Forger has a disdain for most government agencies, but is willing to work with/for them if it will benefit what he considers his own people. It is highly recommended that individuals who are highly competitive or aggressive in nature not be used to attempt control of this resource.

ADDENDUM: Eyes Only. Level 6. Do not let James Tagg approach within a hundred miles of Doctor Forger. - Kurt Wynn, advisor to senior PRT staff.

ADDENDUM: Eyes Only. Level 6. Addendum approved. - Rebecca Costa-Brown.

There was the main [Workshop] area, which had doors leading to the [Broadcast Booth], [Conference Room], [Hangar], [Sickbay], [Scavenger Station], and [Auto-Factory].