Log:Apples to Cider

From Horror MUX
Jump to: navigation, search
Apples to Cider
Characters  •   The Competitor  •  The Gambler  •  The Beast  •  The Addict  •  The Explorer  •  The Visionary  •  The Optimist  •  The Martyr  •  The Penitent  •
Location  •  The Facility - Parlor
Date  •  2019-10-28
Summary  •  The Gambler gets several others to play Apples to Apples with her while the others reminisce about past lives and explain bits of facility history.

The Gambler is sort of curled up on one of the couches, her feet tucked under her. She's got a few plates with what look like tea sandwiches and little pasties on them and a mug of tea. She's also playing... some kind of game. It's cards, but not normal cards, they have shapes on them - diamonds, ovals and squiggles in several colors and patterns and numbers. She's got them laid out in a grid and is picking up three and a time, setting them to one side and then replacing them from the deck. Nearby is a stack of game boxes. While she plays she's softly humming an old jazz standard under her breath.


Competitor, or Star as she is known in the Facility, arrives wearing gym gear - including leg warmers. She's been doing yoga again. Focuses the mind. She bounces into the parlor, full of energy, and smiling happily. "Oh my gosh! Flick! Penny told me you were here." She rushes over to give The Gambler a hug before stepping back and indicating the world around them. "Blows your mind, right?" She is no longer teenage Ashley but mid-twenties and her hair is darker.


The Gambler beams and hugs very tightly back. "Hey!" She laughs. "It's so good to see you! I'm..." Pause. "Wait, did anyone tell you what actually happened? I mean back... umm..." She sighs and looks around then nods. "A little, yeah. I'm still acclimating. How are you doing? And... what am I supposed to call you? I... there was something, but there were too many names that were all the same and it didn't get into the memory palace right."


Penitent steps out of the mess hall with a mug of something steaming hot. Not food, just the drink. She's dressed in her white singlet top this time around, and another pair of black sweat pants. Still with no shoes. Never any shoes. Very relaxed and casual around here apparently. She glances at the other two woman as she steps into the parlour. "Hello," she says thoughtfully, stepping towards the TV to stare at the 'please stand by' situation going on. "That's weird." She comments softly, considering.


The Beast comes out of his room and down the hall in his usual jeans, a lightweight sweater, this one in a dark grey, and a pair of white athletic socks. He apparently doesn't plan on going into one of the anywhere rooms, since he didn't bring shoes with him. Instead, he makes his way in the direction of the dispensary with a mug in hand, likely seeking a refill for the ever-present mug of tea. He gives a nod of greeting to Felicity and Star on his way past. "Hello," the Brit says, looking a couple of years older than Morrison was, but not much more than that. His accent though, is very different. He pauses to look at the monitor, coming to stand near Penny, and nods. "It is."


"What happened with what?" Star looks confused for a moment. "Back in the 'story'? That's what I call them. You told me...or Felicity told me. You can call me Star if you like or Ashley until you get used to it. I know Star is a pretty dicky name, Penny's not a fan. Oh, speak of the Devil." A gesture to Penitent. "Hey" she greets with a warm smile before a wave for the Beast. For Gambler's benefit she adds, "The television usually gives us some hints about where we're going next."


The Gambler flicks her gaze to the TV. "Yeah, it's been that way since I came out today." She gives Morrison and Penny bright smiles and then sobers a little looking back at Ashley and wincing a tiny bit. "I... she... lied. A bit. And someone may mention it. That means you probably haven't seen Chance, yet, because I bet he'd be apologizing a lot." Then she shrugs. "Star... that's right. it got all caught up in you-Star as opposed to Star in the last story, Star. And was usually in the middle of someone explaining something else important." To the others she adds, "I think I've decided I like using Flick for my name here. Felicity feels too formal and... Red's just for Dare, I think."


"Oh, I was going to tell you about that. Star. With Cash and all ..." Penny sort of trails off as she glances at the approaching Beast, inclining her head a little. "We haven't really bumped into each other around here, have we?" She comments quietly, lifting her mug to sip at her own tea. Though she doesn't have the British thing going on. "Sorry about uh. Icarus. But thanks for you help, too." Her voice lacks the conviction of Samantha and the anger of Amy. She's far calmer than either of those two ever managed to be.


The Beast nods to Gambler and says, "Flick it is, then, if that's what you prefer." He makes a mental note of it, same as Star, and then glances back over toward Penitent. "No. Much like Dare and I, we seem to see one another more often over on the other side than we do here." He is a bit more soft-spoken than Morrison, a little more like Emory, in that regard. He smiles a little wryly and says, "We both made mistakes on the Icarus. We were both following what we thought was right. You know I hold nothing against you here for that," he reassures her. "I wanted to believe the hope that you were holding onto. Though I'm beginning to think that my life expectancy in space is not good."


"Chance stuck a note under my door apologising for an unnamed event but..." Star shrugs. "What happens in the stories, stays in the stories. Just as long as you don't lie to me here, Flick." A wink for the redhead. "And I had the name of Star before she did." Her look for Penny suggests she doesn't mind not having been told about whatever she was going to be told about. "Icarus...fun times. You want anything from the kitchen, Penny?" Since she's not sure of Beast's name here, she will simply offer the question as a look.


The Gambler nods, relaxing a bit and sitting back down, then grabbing her tea, shivering a little. "Yeah. I... was mostly trying to protect you, but it's better left there. I wish I could." She stares at the game in front of her for a moment. "Anyone want to play something? If there's something you want to play and I didn't bring it out, it may, well, be back in my room."


"I'm okay for now," Penny says to Competitor with a shake of her head. She's got her drink. That's enough for her apparently. She sips at it and smiles briefly at Gambler before returning her attention to Beast. "Oh, you're telling me. Though, losing my mind was a bit. Different of an experience. The worst part was Samantha knew she was unravelling." She shakes her head. "But honestly, I'm just happy right now to feel. Calm. Without that Lester anger for a minute."


"Connor," Beast supplies for Ashley when she looks at him, as though sensing why he just got a look instead of a question. It's then that he remembers the empty mug in his hand and says, "I was going to get another cup of tea -- white plum." Which seems to mean that if she'd like to bring him one, he would gladly accept, and if she doesn't, he'll just fetch it himself whenever there's a break in the conversation. "Play something?" he asks Gambler, "Like a game?" Then he nods at Penitent, seeming to understand. "Watching people unravel was difficult. You, Ocasio.." The two with whom Emory had been closest. "I don't know. I didn't mind the anger. It was a bit exhausting to try to keep it under control all the time, but mercifully, Morrison had years of practice with that before all of that craziness started."


Star is not the snob Ashley is, so she will happily get Connor another cup of tea. Taking the mug from him she heads off towards the 'kitchen', happy to continue conversing at a louder volume. "A boardgame? You probably don't want to play boardgames with me, Flick. I take them way too seriously. Though if you guys want to be beaten until you're crying in the corner, sure."


The Gambler nods to Connor. "Exactly!" She starts picking up the cards in front of her and putting them back in their small box. "I've got Twister, with the extra large mat, mah jong, Scrabble, Apples to Apples, something called Dixit which looks like it could be really fun, Set, of course," this followed by a little gesture to the cards she's putting away with the symbols. "There's an entire wall back in my room. Arkham Horror was feeling a little too potentially on the nose, but I may see about breaking it out at some point, I think I've got two expansions in there that I've never seen before.

"There's older stuff, too. I've got a Senet set and was going to make Dare teach me the proper rules for it, though he says it's like mah jong and gin rummy and even Monopoly where there are a bunch of house rules and regional variations so you sort of have to go over which rule set you're using anytime you play with someone you haven't played it with before..." Her voice trails off and she looks after Star considering. "I don't mind competitive as long as you are gracious in victory... or defeat. I'm not sure I'm... competitive isn't the right word for me, but I do play to win."


Staring at the screen a bit more, Penny beams a bit of a smile back at Gambler. "It's a fun idea. I'll have to play some time, but personally, not right now. Don't let me stop the rest of you, though." She cups at the mug for a bit, laughing at Competitor's self-awareness before inclining her head to Beast. "Perhaps it was different, coming into that with all the experience. I am ... not usually so angry, though. Even Nettie at her most furious was nothing compared to Amy. It was exhausting. Even if it came in handy towards the end there. By the way, I'm not sure if you know, but call me Penny here." She considers and then nods once. "It's good to see you around, though."


Board games must not be a thing that Connor is particularly familiar with because he only recognizes two or three of the games out of those listed. "I suppose that I could try something sometime, as long as you were willing to teach me the rules." Because why not? It's not like he has a wealth of things to do at the moment. He gives Star a smile when she takes the mug to bring him back a cup of tea, "Thank you." He nods, "I'm sure that it was. Morrison felt very.. secure in his own skin, when I was inhabiting him. He had that rage, but he also had the control to go with it."


The Addict emerges from the hallway. Their door is the first one to the right. Today, they're dressed in jeans and a red t-shirt, with long hair worn loose and lush, and a dusting of facial hair, no makeup. Apparently they're feeling boyish today. They walk barefoot toward the dispensary, gathering a bottle of beer and some curly fries. Once they have their lunch, they turn to look at the others and say, "Hey, Connor, Star, Penny, Flick. What's up?" For those who remember Danny, they've got a very 'Danny' vibe about them.


Star waves to Addict from the kitchen area. "Hey, can I get you anything?" She certainly knows Danny, it was the first role she met them. "Flick was just talking about playing some games. No, not the kind you normally get up to, boardgames." She looks over at Gambler. "Twister? Seriously." She looks at Addict. "I stand corrected, that would end up like the games you play." A pout sent Penny's way. "Aww...you don't want to play? We can always play Twister later if you like" she winks.


The Gambler laughs and shrugs. "Twister seemed like it could be fun and like I'd be more likely to get some people around here to play it than something more essoteric." Then she grins at Connor. "I am always happy to explain the rules and teach people how to play." She considers her stack. "How about Apples to Apples? Nice, light, simple rules. Not a huge problem if people drift in or out of the game. Holds up well to bystander kibbitzing." Briar gets a bright smile and a wave. "I am trying to once more lure people into having fun. Thank you for last night."


"You are incorrigible." Penny decides of Star after a moment, shaking her head and grinning a little. "I'm just ... thinking. I'm in a mood to be thoughtful. Don't mind me. I'll come sit with you, if you want," she suggests before nodding to Connor again. "Some day I guess I'll wander around Lake Havasu again. And all the other places. I just don't know what this 'please stand by' means. Are they out of ideas." She gives a dry, unenthused laugh at that idea before offering a finger wriggle of a wave to Briar. "Hello," she says in that simple tone to them. "Sorry about the uh. Well, you know. Sorry about Amy." That's really all there is to say.


"Briar," Connor greets Addict as he comes in with his curly fries and beer. Though when it's suggested that Twister might be the game of choice, he shakes his head. "I think I'll pass on that one, but you go ahead if you like." Though he shakes his head at Penny and says, "I have no interest in ever seeing Lake Havasu again, though I would go back to Vegas. Those were good memories to keep." He looks back to the television monitor and says, "Neither do I. Perhaps it will start playing something in a few days. They don't always start right away, from what I recall." He can't help but smile just a little bit wryly at her though when she apologizes for Amy. "Don't apologize. She was one of my favorite cousins."


The Addict takes a swig of beer, then grins. "My Queen," they say to Star, sketching out a theatric bow. Then they tell Flick, "Hey, anytime. I'm glad you had a good time." They take a seat and puts the curly fries on the table, making a gesture that they're for everyone. "Aw, Penny, don't worry about it. Jade had it coming. Besides, I can't get mad at you." With a nod to Connor, they say, "Vegas was good." They take another drink, they say, "I'm totally down to play Twister sometime, by the way."


Star emerges with a tray - tea for Connor, fruit and juice for herself. "I'm very encourageable" she teases Penny as she offers over the Beast's mug. Finding herself a seat near Gambler, and with a look of invitation to Penny, she then studies the television for a moment. "Maybe it //is// showing what it's meant to" she suggests with a shrug. "That's the kind of thing they do before emergency broadcasts." Her first 'memories' are of being in the 1980s with the threat of nuclear war every moment. "Maybe a less physical game for now, Flick? Apples to Apples sounds...fine?" She has no idea what that is but will go with it.


The Gambler nods and grabs another of her tea sandwiches. "Twister another time. Apples to Apples now." She reaches for the box pulling it out of the stack and opening it up. "Okay. So there are two kinds of cards. We all have a hand of noun cards. People, places, things, some gerunds. We go around the circle and one person puts down their hand and draws an adjective card... those are...well all adjectives. 'Silly', 'Beautiful', 'Horrific', etc. They set it out and everyone else has to choose a card from their hand which they think best exemplifies that adjective or at least which will be funniest when paired with it, possibly for being so absurdly not that. Then the person who drew the adjective card takes all the chosen noun cards, shuffles them together so they don't know who played what, lays them out and picks the one they think works best. Whoever played it gets that card to keep score. And then everyone draws back up to ten, and the next person around the circle becomes the one who picks an adjective card. So who's in?"


The Beast takes the mug from Star and says a quiet, "Thank you, Star." Then he holds onto it for just a little bit to let it cool just a tad before taking a sip. The television screen is studied again and he nods. "Perhaps. Though usually it was always followed by - this has been a test of the emergency broadcast system. Then you would end up back in the middle of your television program, having missed some critical piece of the plot." He studies Flick as she lays out the rules for the game, and then shrugs his shoulders and moves over to where they are sitting. "I will play a round or two." He takes a seat next to Addict, and waits for the game to begin.


"Maybe for you," Penny says with a laugh for Connor, shaking her head. "You didn't really get slapped around like poor Jade did once. I mean, once that I can remember sharply. Though it could have been worse if Hector hadn't decided to get in the way. There's a few people I should apologise to." A pause, and a not back to Beast. "Apologising it kind of. My thing." She shrugs and makes her way over towards Star. She'll settle in nearby even if she's not playing the game directly for the moment.


"I'm in," Briar says, "it looks fun." To Amy, they say, "Yeah, but I called you 'Rabid Spice' and a crazy bitch. Rabid Spice is pretty funny, though. I'm just saying, you were provoked." They munch on a curly fry, savoring that fried goodness. With a glance at the television, they say, "Maybe next time, we'll all work in a TV station. Or..." They pale a little. "Maybe it'll be a nuclear apocalypse."


"Rabid Spice?" That makes Star laugh before offering an apologetic look to Penny. "Sorry...but it was funny." She leans over to give the Pentient a kiss on the cheek before looking to Gambler. "We're sort of a thing here too. I'm sure that one day, whoever puts us in these stories will have us trying to kill each other. Can't have people be too happy in here." Her eyes narrow. "That is a //lot// of rules. I'll watch a round to make sure I have it." A nod for Connor. "Sure, there would usually be something else, unless the bombs dropped before it could." A nod to Jade's suggestion. "But let's hope not. We'd all die pretty quick."


The Gambler shuffles a few times, then starts dealing out cards as people say they're in. When Briar suggests nuclear apocalypse, though she looks up, eyes wide. "Oh... that. Yeah, or something like that. Something that would leave the emergency stuff broadcasting, but no one there to send a useful message out. Though... I am now disturbed to realize that somewhere in my brain is a map of the US with 'in event of nuclear war, this area will be just gone, this will be whatever the firestorm leaves, and this area will be a hellscape, try to get to this tiny little spot here' in like overlapping concentric circles on it. In other news, it is cruel to make math geniuses who love statistics do research papers on some things."

She blinks at Star and scrunches her nose. "It's... honestly not a lot of rules. And you'll understand it better playing, but okay. Someday I will show you Arkham Horror, then you will understand 'a lot of rules'." She frowns. "Well, three will work for a round, it's really better if you have more. Like five to seven is perfect." She thinks. "I'll judge first, that way you all can see how that goes."


"True enough," Beast says when Penny points that out. Other than Sky in the boxing ring, and Fran, no one had slapped Morrison around. He smirks just a little bit at the name Rabid Spice and shakes his head. Though the mention of nuclear apocalypse has him glancing back at the screen. "Or zombies. I really hope it's not zombies." Someone is not a fan. Then he says to Felicity, "We can always wait and play it when there are more players." He doesn't seem to mind much either way.


"It's not like you did that for no reason." Penny shakes her head. "I don't know, anyway. I guess I became a vampire killer anyway so that makes up for everything right?!" She beams a smile that really is at odds with the vampire killer image, settling into a couch and watching as Flick explains the game. She's paying attention, sure.


"You were pretty badass," Briar says. Then they shudder and shake their head. "No, no zombies. Ugh, now I'm going to have the heebie jeebies." They munch another fry and look curiously at the cards. "I would've made the worst vampire. I love laying out in the sun. Flying would've been cool, but..." They take another drink of beer. "Man, I was a dumb teenager. Never again, please."


The Gambler is sitting with the others by a coffee table. There's a stack of game boxes and she's apparently convinced at least some people to play. Maybe. Star is apparently sitting out, so she just shrugs and pulls a card from the adjective deck. "Gritty. Okay, so now anyone playing looks at their cards and chooses the one they think goes best with 'Gritty' and plays it face down and then I'll shuffle them and choose which one I think works best." There are some plates of food around as well.


"I would have made a terrifying vampire," Connor considers as he thinks about that for several long moments. "Morrison with an uncontrollable hunger on top of that barely controlled temper would have been.. " He shakes his head. "It would have been bad." He glances down at the hand of cards that he has and considers the nouns that he has and what to put down that goes with gritty. There's a furrow of his brow as he considers his options and finally plays his card: Clint Eastwood


It's not like the sound of her door would be subtle, even if she opened it gingerly. The Visionary's door is right there, at the very end of the hallway, just before it spills out into the parlor. She's not subtle about opening it this time; odds are it was kicked, albeit casually, from the inside. There's no bothering to put up a small note penned in advance, or anything so elegant or orderly. She's inherited Mona's handwriting for now, but it takes on that typical skew common to writing on a blackboard as she scrawls 'back soon' with the same perennially refreshed light aqua giant oil stick pastel, before she tosses it through the remaining crack back into the room, and tugs the door shut behind her.

She doesn't look much like herself, in some respects. Her expression is flat, and rather than the wrap of her coverlet or one of her typical, breezy silk hippie dresses, she wears a simple crop top and silk boxer shorts, both in a faded, washed charcoal color. Still barefoot. Still wearing both of her rings. That much, it seems, will keep.

"With a better marketing pitch, I'm sure most of us would have signed on the dotted line," she notes distractedly to the talk of becoming a vampire as she passes. One hand lifts in an equally half-hearted wave, but she isn't looking at anyone beyond a brief scan of the room for a few particular, absent faces. "Live forever, stay young and beautiful... never mind the trap of blood red amber." That gets the barest wisp of a smile, but it's fleeting.

She's clearly en route to one of the Anywhere Rooms, though she murmurs, "Never fear, I won't be long."


"Same. Dumbest of teenagers," Penny says with a laugh. "And Amy was so conflicted. Though Arcade apparently thinks her tough-girl style was extra cute." She roles her eyes a little and shakes her head. "Amy being a vampire probably would have been bad news, too, yeah. Though it seems Fran wanted to just kill the new vampires she was after anyway." There's a shrug of her shoulders and she leans back, glancing at Star a moment. She glances up at Visionary's appearance, offering that simple smile and a finger-wriggle of a wave.


The Addict looks up when the door opens. They know well that door, it's right across from their own, right at the end of the hallway. Or beginning, depending on one's perspective. They purse their lips, then they take a swig of their beer, and they say, "Hey, I wanted to tell you I'm sorry. I wasn't as supportive as I could've been. I was a stupid teenager, wrapped up in my own shit. I should've been there for you more." To Amy, they say, "Arcade is adorable." Then they look at their cards. The card they lay down is 'Applesauce.'


The Gambler blinks at the Visionary for a moment and then smiles. "Hi! What should I be calling you here? We're playing Apples to Apples if you decide you want to join in instead. We could use another." She picks up the two cards and switches their places a few times, but, honestly, it's two cards, then turns them over and laughs. "Okay! I have to go with Eastwood on that one. Who played that?" assuming Connor acknowledges playing it, the adjective card gets passed to him and she picks up her own hand. "Okay, draw another noun card and then, Briar, you pull one of the adjectives."


"Arcade?" Connor asks, not sure who or what they are referring to. He does indeed cop to playing Eastwood, and then reaches to draw another noun card from the pile as directed. He glances over toward Visionary but doesn't comment on her assessment of the sales pitch on vampirism. He still looks a bit skeptical. "Perhaps," he concedes. Then he waits to see what adjective is placed on the table. His mug of tea is lifted and he takes another small sip from it.


Briar's words mark a hitch in the Visionary's step, and when her foot does land, she pauses, turning her head. She's still simply not entirely there, but she does manage a smile; it seems intended to be reassuring and confident, but those qualities are fragile at best. It's still sincere, maybe painfully so. "It's all right, Briar. I love you, OK? We had bigger problems to contend with than being stuck with the poor little spoiled bitch rich girl trope in-"

And it's there she pauses. She pauses, and she turns, wheeling a fraction too quickly to summon up the sort of gusto only associated with a full-blown flash of frustrated agitation. "Can we all just agree that was pretty much the worst teen movie ever, and that whoever wrote the script should be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes?" Her hands plant firmly at her hips.

"Fuck that casting director with a rusty chainsaw."

The flash of impotent fury is gone as quickly as it came, like a dust devil evaporating into the desert sand from whence it came to leave the tumbleweeds to jostle back into a slow, meandering roll. "Cassandra," she says, her expression more empathetic, if still a bit distant, as she glances to the Gambler. "Cass. Cassie. Or any of the others: Dahlia, Pandora, Angeline, Ange, Angie, Danica... " Her head shakes, and she tries to laugh, though it falls flat. "I'm glad and sorry to see you here, both because I like you, very much. You're a good sort."


Star watches the game as she eats and drinks. "Clint Eastwood is still a thing where you all come from? I loved those spaghetti westerns he was in. Oh, and the ones with Clyde the oragnutan. "Right turn, Clyde'" she smirks before going back to eating. And then the Visionary is going crazy. "I've seen worse ones..." she offers quietly before a smile for Penny's look. "You really did kick ass back there. We wouldn't have made it through without you." Back to her food.


"Arcade. Spear Thistle? Harkaway," Penitent supplies for Connor, nodding her head in explanation of who's who. She watches them play the game, inclining her head. "Okay, I think I get it. I will have a go." She suggests mildly, leaning forward. It's something to do.

"I dunno, was it the worst teen movie ever?" A blink. "I don't think I've seen enough teen movies to make that assumption." She shrugs a little and gives a sly sort of smile, as Visionary starts listing off names, and quietly adds, "She's a wifi technician." There's a beaming smile there, and she nudges Star just a little.


The Addict smiles warmly at the Visionary. "I love you too, Cass. I'm glad it's over. I don't want to be that young ever again." They take another drink of their beer. They've got a strong 'Danny' vibe to them right now. Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, facial hair, drinking beer and eating fried vegetarian food. He lays down an adjective card: Educational. "Gritty applesauce was bad," he admits. "But it was the best card I had."


The Explorer arrives from The Facility - Hall of Rooms.


The Gambler beams at Penny and deals out ten of the noun cards to her, as well, then she sits back to study her own hand. "He was also apparently the world serpent went you all were gods. He liked that one." She shrugs a little at Cassandra. "I haven't learned to hate it yet. Given everyone else, that may chance, but... I can't hate it right now." Finally she chooses a card to lay down: A College Dorm


"Correction," the Visionary says politely while holding up a single fingertip. "I was a very bad wifi technician." The smile strengthens a little to Briar, and she nods to them; her eyes are certainly decades older than her face, at the moment, despite the attempt at humor. "Agreed. I'll be back in a little while. I... feel the need to be very old, for a little while." Though, with that, she turns to continue on to the vacant Anywhere Room.


Strolling out into the parlor, seemingly come straight from one of the Anywhere Rooms, Senni is still in her divine hunting regalia -- specificially, a sleeveless white tunic belted with criss-crossing leather, a lightweight cloak in forested green wool, and a quiver of arrows to fuel the bow she carries. She looks a bit tousled and dirty, but she's grinning as she pauses in passing by the gamers to reach out with her free hand, and ruffle Briar's hair. Catching sight of the Visionary on her way out, she finger-wiggles a wave, then asks rhetorically as she continues on toward the dispensary, "Think this place knows how to make ambrosia?"


"Ah," Connor says when Penny explains who Arcade is, giving a small nod of his head. He had not heard of Harkaway/Spear referred to by name in the Facility before, and so the name is a new one to add to his collection. He glances over at the adjective card and then down at his hand, looking thoughtful for a moment and then plays : Bean Dip as his card of choice. He frowns and says, "That was the worst of them for me. Even the ones in which I died, at least I was human." Then he nods to Explorer when she comes down the hall, "I'm fairly sure if it's a food and you think of it, it will make it."


"Come on, at least one of your copies on the Noc was a good wifi technician I'm sure," Penny decides after a moment, waving a hand dismissively at Visionary's correction. She stares at the card Briar plays, looking at that word. Educational. And she selects a card to play for herself. Grave Robbers. "I didn't much care for myself at the carnival either," she notes quietly to Connor. "Lorraine is probably the worst person I've been."


"Clint Eastwood was the world serpent?" Star gives Flick a confused look. "Oh...you mean Arcade. Yes, first time I met him, he was the snake. Any teen movie with both Coreys in it was way worse than what we went through." A sip of her juice as she waves at Senni. "If it could feed us Ambrosia in the 'story', it should be able to make it." Seems logical to her. She will idly stroke Penny's hair while watching the game.


The Addict smiles up at Thea. "Hello, beautiful," they say. "I bet it can make ambrosia. It can make microbrew from the Pacific Northwest." They take another swig of their beer. "I'm conflicted about Diamanto. I mean, on one hand, she was a bloodthirsty maenad who literally tore people apart with her bare hands and ate them. On the other hand, she was family-oriented and really loyal." They look at the cards laid out before them, give them a shuffle, then say, "If the U of O taught me nothing else, it's that College Dorms are educational." He holds up that card.


"It might end up as the marshmallow, coconut, coolwhip, fruit salad stuff, which I'm guessing is really not the same," Flick comments before really thinking about it, then winces a little and sort of hides behind her cards. Still, she laughs at having her card chosen and claims the adjective card, then reaches to draw a new noun. "Connor, your turn to draw an adjective." She's a little more subdued, though, like she's trying to make herself smaller.


The Explorer's grin deepens just a touch, and she points at the Competitor. "Right? That makes complete sense. Maybe not the immortality-imparting variety, but something that tastes the same. I'm in the mood for it." Here all these people are talking about how awful their personas were at the Carnival, and she looks to be embracing hers. Curious. "Lookin' good enough to eat, there, Danny. Just sayin'." She winks at the Addict, then heads into the Dispensary to test the ambrosia theory.


"Keme wasn't a bad person. Keme wasn't a person," Connor says to Penny with a shake of his head. "He was an ancient being of nature, the very thunder and lightning, storms, and battle, the glory of battle. He didn't feel for people. He didn't feel in the way that people felt. His was a rage far greater than anything Morrison ever felt, a rage at being one of the last of his kind, a storm unending." He shakes his head. "I don't even have real words to describe exactly what it felt like being something that could wait for hundreds of years and feel it was nothing." He then picks up one of the adjective cards and puts it down : Delightful


"I mean, I guess Lorraine wasn't a person either. But she was a killer, and that doesn't settle so great with me. Unrepentant murderer." She sighs a little and shakes her head, offering a finger wriggle of a wave for Explorer and smiling a little. "Oh no, don't awaken the Danny, then he'll come out and never stop flirting." She laughs a little and grins at Briar a second before leaning into that touch from Star. As the card is played he puts one down: Caffeine.


The Addict winks at Senni. "Delicious and nutritious." Too late, Penny. Too late. "Dia was practically more animal than person. She was a nature spirit driven mad by Dionysus. I still have some misgivings about eating pork because of all the cannibalism, but she was what she was. She couldn't help it." To Flick, he says, "We've all been fascinating people. I think the happiest life I've had was Danny, and it's the one time I've died." He plays the card: Imagination.


The Gambler nods. "Yeah. I'm kind of boring currently. Sorry." She frowns at her hand and sighs, finally putting down 'a lamp'. Apparently she's going for pun value. She's still a little quiet.


Senni, or Artemis as the case seems to be tonight, returns after a short period with a triumphant smile and a plate laden with loukoumades. What the fuck are loukoumades, you might wonder? Well, given that many have theorized that ambrosia was honey, or at least closely related to it, one could surmise that it could've been drizzled over other Greek foods. In this case, over fluffy, sweet bite-sized donuts, deep fried to golden and crispy perfection, then sprinkled with cinnamon and garnished with toasted sesame seeds. Food of the gods, indeed.


"Keme didn't even think twice about killing. People were like ants, breeding, replicating, and dying faster than the blink of an eye to him. To ascribe importance on them was beneath him. He didn't care if people died. He'd simply wait, and another two, three, four generations would come and go," Connor says as he considers the cards in front of him, then remembers he doesn't play this round and sets them back down again. He glances over toward Addict and says, "I liked Danny. I didn't mind that life, so much, though I hated what it did to Julian, and to Lyle." He considers then and says, "Connor and Morrison are probably the happiest lives I had. Connor never got his time with Andrew. We were on the flight back to London when we came back here. At least Morrison got his life with Theodore." He then looks over to Gambler and says, "You're not boring. No one who is here is boring." Then he surveys the cards that are played after shuffling them face down in front of him and he chuckles at one of them. He holds out "A lamp", apparently liking the pun.


"I'm not very good at this," Penny notes at the state of the game, giving a bit of a smile. "I mean, neither did La Llorona. But the point is after the fact, I kinda do. Knowing that's something, someone I've been? That somewhere within me is that casual disregard to life, someone who would murder for fun." She shrugs and shakes her head. "Anyway." She reaches for the adjective cards and up comes: Misunderstood.

"Amy was pretty happy for a while. But she was a teenager so everything was either perfect or the worst, it felt like. I think Emily largely had a miserable time. Anette Hargreave did too. They both got pretty happy endings, I guess. I don't know, the happiest have always come at such a cost."


The Addict tells Flick, "There's nothing boring about you, and Hell, no one paid this past time around like you did. Sometimes, when people reminisce about lifetimes I never lived, I feel a little lesser, but I know they're just sharing themselves. It's another way of saying 'this is who I am.' Doesn't mean you don't have something to say, too, Flick." The card he puts down is: Love. "Do you guys find that parts of your lives remain in you? I mean, like, sometimes it's like I can hear their voices."


The Gambler flashes Briar a warm smile. "Sorry. And... Yeah, I've mostly enjoyed listening to it, honestly. Just..." She shrugs. She considers her cards and makes a face, then plays: a Cactus. That done she grabs another of the tea sandwiches. "It ended badly, but... I think a lot of you had a much harder beginning. I... came back and had friends and loves and people who cared about me. I hadn't had to deal with a lot of the nasty at the beginning, just the trauma at the end."


Sinking down next to the Addict with her plate of deep-fried Greek deliciousness, the Explorer glances over the game in progress, then seemingly dismisses it. She doesn't know the game, so she's got zero clue as to what's happening. Instead, she focuses in on the conversation going on, waving a donut in Penny's general direction. "You got the rawest of raw deals as Nettie, but I'm glad you made it out of there and got to be happy. And, for the record, I loved havin' you as my sister."


"Sure," Connor says to Jade, "There are parts of my lives in me. I feel like.. since we're such blank slates here.. that we get to choose who we are here, what parts of them we want to keep, what parts we don't.. what parts we're going to claim as our own that maybe aren't even parts of those lives. But they're all .. in me, part of me, even if I don't keep every part of them as part of me." He takes a deep breath and lets it out, "I used to think a lot about who I was before I was here. Eventually I decided that.. I'm going to be who I choose to be here .. and if someday I find out that I was someone else.. then I'll have that existential crisis when I get to it." He lifts his cup of tea and takes another sip.


"I think we've all had enough existential issues anyway," Penny says with a shake of her head, looking at the played cards. A cactus makes her laugh more, so she selects that one. "I feel like they're all still in here, yes. Sometimes, when I'm in the mood I can sort of. Channel them. I've definitely deliberately pulled Nettie up to the surface before. And Amy, Kylie. Madison, once. Samantha would be easy. It's easier too if I visit the locations they come from." She blinks a little, looking at Addict and Gambler. "Sorry, I don't mean to make people feel 'lesser'. It's just." She shrugs. "I don't know."


The Addict shakes his head and tells Penny, "I don't feel lesser now. It was my own issue. I like the stories. I've been to both the Noc and the island now. I still don't know what it's like to live them, but I know more about what was there and what happened." He gives Senni a kiss on the cheek. "Hey, doll." Yep, definitely feeling Danny today. "I can feel them inside me, though. Most of the time I'm some mix of them all, but today I woke up wishing I was back in Oregon, because Danny was easygoing. Stuff didn't bother him." To Flick, he says, "I hope your next one won't have all the trauma. Unfortunately, these lifetimes tend to specialize in it."


The Gambler shakes her head and flashes Penny a smile before claiming the adjective a little guiltily. "Well, good news is I can't win this round since I'm judging." She looks like she's about to say something to Senni and then seems to thing better of it, instead she scrunches her nose and continues to Penny. "It's okay. I don't even really feel lesser, just like you all know who I was and most of my trauma. I mean, I could tell you why Felicity's parents sucked, though, honestly, I can barely remember what they looked like. I mean, that was kind of part of how they sucked, but still. I get the feeling all of them include trauma. Some more, some less, but it's always there." She draws an adjective and then just laughs before putting it down: Scary.


"I think the key, at least in part, is to take those good parts of each incarnation of yourself and hold them close, learn from the bad things that happen but don't dwell on them, and grow," the Explorer muses, after swallowing down a bite of her honey-drizzed miniature donuts. "Mmm! Fuck me, those are good." Tipping her head back, she calls out to the ceiling as if some deific being could hear her -- or some technician monitoring this place on hidden cameras, perhaps. "Compliments to the chef!" Then she turns and delivers an answering smooch to the Addict's cheek, that may leave just a little sticky sweetness behind on his skin.


The Beast glances through his cards, regarding the adjective and then plays the card: Oatmeal. He nods a bit to Explorer and says, "I've tried to do that, as much as I can. And I've tried to have something here that matters. Something to come back to. Even if I know it could be gone at any time, I'm going to hold onto that for as long as it can last. Because every story is filled with trauma, and usually death, and is probably going to end badly -- if not for me, then someone close to me. Having something to wake up to.. helps."


The Penitent beams at Explorer, inclining her head a little. "That's how I try to do it. But some of them are harder to shake the bad off, so to speak. But also, I don't know." She ponders a moment. "You say Nettie had it rough but she was free. For the most part. We all had it rough in Prosperity. And she taught me a lot about shouldering my burdens. And, some great family. I still think we, somebody, anybody, should go back to Prosperty and rob a train with the Widows. And anyone else. I just always seem to run out of time." She looks at the cards she holds and plays a simple one with a light chuckle: School Cafeteria. There's a questioning glance at Connor and she agrees with a nod.


The Addict grins at Senni, and he rubs his cheek a little to get that stickiness off, or at least spread it onto his knuckles. He plays the card 'Experiment.' "Jade left me feeling insecure for a little bit. I still kind of feel it. He wanted his dad's approval so much." He laughs. "Then I find out my brother was gay, too? Or at least bi. And dating the guy I had the hots for? Figures. But things were happy at the end."


The Gambler considers the cards played before her and scrunches her nose. "I usually like experiments... I think I'm going with School Cafeteria as the scariest. That encompases oatmeal within it and so many more horrors." She settles back. "I mean, I'd absolutely come with you to rob a train. That sounds like it could be a lot of fun, really."


The flinch that the Explorer suffers is so subtle that only the Addict is likely to notice it, since she's curled up against his side. Still, it happens, seemingly in conjunction with Connor's statements about having something to wake up to. Beyond that? "Count me in!" she exclaims, grinning toward Penny. "I always wanted to ride out with you and Lupe and see what being a Widow was really like. I bet Ange would love it, too."


"Prosperity took its pound of flesh from everyone, I think. I don't think there was a soul that truly escaped Prosperity unscathed," Connor says, considering. At least, not that he can remember. He notes the questioning glance from Penitent, and his eyes move from hers down the hall and then back to hers again. It's sort of an answer, maybe. If she wants more of one, she'll have to ask sometime. He falls quiet for a moment or two as he considers Prosperity. He opens his mouth as if he were about to say something, but then closes it again and shakes his head, lifting his cup of tea to finish the last of it instead.


The Martyr arrives from The Facility - Hall of Rooms.


"Reckon you'd fix to come along with a posse of no good outlaws to relieve some fine citizens of their worldly possessions? Ain't nobody in Prosperity who ain't heard of your skills." Penny wonders of Connor with a grin, suddenly her voice carrying that western drawn of Anette Hargreave along with it. She puts her cards down and grins at Senni, nodding. "Yes. It should be fun. And maybe dangerous, who knows. Sometimes it was!" There's a shrug of her shoulders there again. "I think I'm going to wander around for a bit. Think on some things. Have fun, everyone."


"Prosperity was my first lifetime," Briar says, "and maybe it was just Martin's way, but it's where I came to love you guys so much. That dance, the night before one of the challenges, when Senni taught me how to cut a rug, was one of the happiest moments I've ever had. I was willing to die for you guys, because you were people worth dying for." They blink a few times, then laugh a little. "Okay, so that's my sap quota for the day. Take care, Penny." He tips back the last of his beer, then sets the bottle aside, not showing any inclination to get up.


The Martyr has been drinking. Not that much, mind, but his cheeks are a touch rosy and there's something a scooch too lose in his walk as he emerges from the hall. It's in the too open toothy smile he gives Connor. In the way he grins and waves at Amy. He comes up behind Flick and bends all the way over her to kiss her awkwardly upside down, giggling a little. Then he's bobbing on over to Briar grinning widely, "I haven't seen you like this in ages." Fingers glide along stubble as he tries to tilt riar's face up for a long kiss.


The Gambler waves to Penny. "See you later. Thank you for playing." She starts to say something else and then she's being kissed, upside down even. She laughs and beams at Dare, even as he continues on his way to kiss Briar. "Do you want to take over Penny's hand or should we give up the game and just chat? If we continue, I think it's Briar's turn to judge."


"I've no issue with a little danger -- to us, or to the people on the train," the Explorer points out, her grin taking on a bit of an edge. She glances up and over as Dare swoops in to claim a kiss from Briar, leaning maybe a little away from the latter, so as to not be in the way. Another donut is plucked from her plate, and she drags its edge through the spiced honey to make sure it's well-coated before taking a bite. Her gaze flicks to.. well, Flick.. while she's chewing, and wordlessly she scoots forward to the edge of her seat to rise. Those fingers that aren't currently busy holding either plate or donut waggle in a generalized wave, and she starts back toward the Hall of Rooms silently.


The Beast smirks a little over in Penny's direction and says, "Evan was a bounty hunter, but it was his great grandmother or something like that who helped start the widows. You're probably the only bunch of outlaws he /would/ ride with if it came down to it." Which isn't a yes or a no, really, but at least an acknowledgement that there was a reason he never brought in a bounty on a Widow. He glances over toward Briar and says, "Now if only you could have learned to shoot." But it's said with a slight quirk of his lips, good-naturedly. "I think I'm done with the game for now." He sets his cards down. Then he glances over at Martyr and studies him for a moment, brow arching slightly. "Evening, Dare." Is it? One never knows, but he calls it evening nonetheless. It's been a while since the last sleep cycle, at least.


Another finger wiggle of a wave and she hops up, grinning at Beast. "Hey, I know it. We had enough scalp hunters after us, at least the folk of Prosperity didn't add to it." She grins and shrugs, and then slips off, padding down the hall while humming to herself. The tune isn't really anything, just noise. She's in a decent enough mood apparently.


The Addict's brows lift as Dare comes out and distributes kisses. "You're in a generous mood," they say. When Senni gets up to leave, they purse their lips, then they tell her, "I'll come find you later." They seem pensive, but Connor's remark about learning to shoot gets a smile from them. "Martin was useless in a fight. Useless! But he was good with the books. But notice how I've said nothing about getting in on this train robbery. I'd only be in the way."


The Martyr waves back at senni, brow creasing a little at her escape, then remembering with a wince. he murmers something to Briar. His eyes flick between the people left at the table, and he perks up. "We robbing a train? Cool." He blushes a little, "I was paying calls. A little vodka here, rather more whiskey there...." He leaps over the sofa back to land with a thump next to Briar. He eyes them, "You could be the sexy arm candy with the sack to collect fobs and the like."


The Gambler catches the look and her smile fades again and she starts gathering up cards. "In that case, I think we've lost too many players for it to keep going, really. Ah, well, was nice while it lasted. I'll keep trying. Maybe Twister really is the best idea." Dare gets a flicker of a smile, "Apparently Connor and Penny and some of the others were going to go rob a train in Prosperity. Sometime. Not right now. I'm... not sure if I'm invited along or not, but it sounded fun. I think Cassie is in one of the rooms. I'm not sure if the other is busy or free."


The Explorer pauses, nods simply to Briar, then heads off down the hall toward her room.


The Explorer heads towards The Facility - Hall of Rooms
.

"I never actually said that I was going to go," Connor points out to Flick with a slight smile. His tea mug is empty, though, and he considers it thoughtfully. More? He decides not for now. Then he says to Gambler, "I'm sure they'd be more than happy to have you along if you wanted to rob the train." He then says, "The Widows were an all-women outlaw gang in Prosperity." He nods toward one of the Anywhere rooms, indicating the one Cassandra had disappeared off into.


The Addict murmurs a reply to Dare, giving his hand a squeeze. Then they say, "The Widows terrified me. Martin hadn't made the acquaintance of a lot of ladies up until that point. He didn't realize why, but his father kept him away from women because he emphatically did not want grandchildren. Family curse, you see. So the first women he ends up meeting are an outlaw gang. Penny had him all verkempft."


The Martyr grins, "Twister is fun. Lots of wrestling and tactics involved." He considers Connor's statement, "Does that mean if we go you and I should go in drag? That'd be... interesting." He is having real trouble picturing what connor would look like in late Victorian drag from his expression and the head tilt. Then he's nodding solemnly in response to the Addict's whisper. "I'll remember." He squeezes back, "Poor, sweet Martin."


The Gambler nods once to the Beast. "Noted." She's gathering up the remains of an aborted Apples to Apples game from the coffee tables everyone is gathered around and packing it away into its box. Once that's finished, she reaches for her mug of tea, then frowns on realizing it's gone cold. "Anyone want anything from the dispensary while I'm up." There are some other game boxes stacked at the end of the table and a few plates, mostly empty.


"If I were going," Connor says, "I would not be going in drag." Drag is not a thing that he does, or has done, in any of his incarnations. And it doesn't seem like he's aiming to start now, either. "You're welcome to slip on a corset and a bustle though if you feel so inclined." Because other people in drag is entirely up to them. He glances down at his empty tea mug and then shakes his head, "I think if I drink more tea tonight I may slosh when I head back to my room. Thank you, Flick."


"Don't head back to your room - fall unconscious out here - make whatever this place is put you back in your room. Fight the power!" says the Optimist as he comes in from his own room. He is wearing a pair of tracksuit pants and nothing else. Supreme comfort, only.


The Addict says, "I'll take another beer, Flick." Today is a beer day. "Martin always wondered what it would be like to wear a corset and bustle, but he never did. Then I woke up here and the first thing I wanted to do was put on the kimono robe I found in my closet. I had no idea why. People had to explain gender fluidity to me." He (because today he's definitely a he) looks to Arcade. "You still wake up there, though, and my comfy jammies are in my room."


The Martyr flashes a smile at Felicity, "Ice water maybe or mulled cider. The non alcoholic kind, please. If you don't mind." He's studying connor again, "Yeah. I couldn't picture it. You kind of have a classically masculine James Dean thing going on." He gives the Optimist a long look, "So, corset or no corset for you, Arcade? I think corset for me, but only if Briar is willing to deck me out. I couldn't possibly get the styling right." He leans his head on Briar's shoulder. "What do you think, Briar? Or would I just look silly."


The Gambler flashes a sunny smile at Connor and then nods to Briar and Dare, though the smile turns a touch warmer, there. "I presume someone early on tried getting everyone to fall asleep in someone else's room. And all in the same room. I mean, I doubt it would be any different, but still. I mean like everyone on the same night going to sleep in a room not usually their own." That said, she flits off towards the dispensary, taking her mug and the empty plates with her.


"I'm certain if I drank enough I could pass out under the piano, but I've no plans on doing so this evening," The Beast says as he glances over at Optimist, nodding his head to him in greeting. "The bed is actually comfortable, even if the decor is not particularly exciting," he says of his room. It's true. There is not a single thing feminine about Connor at all, not that it would be a bad thing if there was -- there just isn't. "There've been many experiments, but yes, when you wake you are back in the room that is assigned to you, regardless of where you sleep or who you are with or not."


"I like to imagine I'm ruining their lives by just a tiny bit," says the Optimist to the Addict cheerily "Draining a miliamp or something because I'm making them reset me. Of course, it's really hard to sleep while you're rollin' balls at a rave. So mostly I just black out at some point - I assume - before the reset and arrive nice and clean back in my room. The benefit is - I can build up the most _munted_ sweat dancing, but I wake up clean and fresh as a daisy." He pauses, odd expression on his face "What's non alcoholic cider? There's like. Apple juice. And then there's cider." He yawns, and he glances at himself, and then says to Dare "I dunno if I really fancy not being able to breathe correctly, man." He adds "Has anyone ever worked out why _alcohol_ is allowed out here, but drugs are _not_? I mean pill type drugs. Seems a strange border to draw, right?"


"Right?" Briar says to Arcade. "Alcohol and cigarettes are fine, but God forbid you blaze it or pop pills. Especially when you just reset anyway, so even if you do OD every day, so what?" He shakes his head. "Also, might I add, it seems kind of dickish to make me an addict and take away all the good stuff. I call discrimination. Though the funny thing is I'm not really addicted to anything in here. Not physically, anyway. I don't go through withdrawal. Anyway, non-alcoholic cider is made by pressing apples. It's kind of brown and murky, whereas apple juice has all the murky bits filtered out."


The Martyr sighs, "I wish we could wake up were we went to sleep. It's proof this isn't heaven that we don't... What's non-alchoholic cider? Delicious is what it is." He is tipsily nuzzling Briar's hair, "I think... welstill are who we are here, but there's enough distance... Out ther I can't see the ways I'm selfish. I can't see the patterns in what I do. In here I can. I can resist my... um, tendancies a little. Maybe it's like that for you, Briar."


The Gambler returns before too long with a tray. She distributes a beer to Briar (Negro Modelo Especial) and a mug with a cinnamon stick in it and steam rising from it to Dare. She sets the tray down - she's apparently gotten a plate of fancy candies and cubes of fudge in a couple varieties. And then claims her own drink, which also has steam and... maybe a piece of sugar cane in it, settling back to drink carefully.


The Beast has never given it much thought, and so he offers no opinion on why particular items are offered from the dispensers and others aren't. He's watched enough random foodstuffs come out of them to be unsure of why there are any limitations as to what they can produce. His expression turns thoughtful, but once more he abandons that train of thought. "If my door is any indication, then I should be surrounded by people I've killed, and yet there's only been one scenario in which I've actively killed a large number of people, and that was Prosperity. I don't feel particularly murderous. Not that I haven't hesitated to resort to violence if the need arose in more than one scenario." Then he sighs, "It would be nice if we could wake up where we went to sleep."


"Four twenty," says the Optimist "And yet, I can get totally ratsarse in an Anywhere Room, every day of the...week? Is it a week?" He pauses "Why should it be a week. I'm declaring every day a month. Anyway! The thing is, I suppose addiction is totally possible here? I mean emotional, or mental addiction. What happens _if_ someone gets so badly addicted emotionally that they spend all of their downtime high?" He glances towards the Addict, searching for ideas "I can't talk to dickish behaviour, since I lucked out. I'm like, waiting for someone to cinderbrick me out of jealousy."

The Optimist flops down into a chair, and he puts up his feet, crossing them over on a seat in front of him "I could try the cider. Resist what tendencies? My tendency is my personality. I don't know what bit I'd be stopping." And then he says to the Beast "I killed a tonne of people in the Carnival. Doesn't seem very reckless to me. Actually, I don't think Harkaway was reckless either, but..." He shrugs, and he says "But that's my door. 'Reckless idiot'." He eyes FElicity's drink thoughtfully "Oooh."


"You usually seem like someone who's just able to cut the shit and get things done," Briar says to Connor. "But yeah, I've never seen you be particularly murderous, except maybe those folks who died in Prosperity, but those were extenuating circumstances." They take their beer and smile at Flick. "Thanks, sweet cheeks." That Danny, though. Dare gets a kiss on the cheek, and Briar says, "Maybe it's because my body resets every day. All my chemicals are in balance. The rest is psychological, and while some days I really just want to rip a fat one off a bong shaped like another bong, mostly I'm content with a decent wine buzz." Then to Arcade, "You're not a reckless idiot. You just have a positive outlook."


The Martyr smiles up at her, "Thanks, Red." He pops a cube of fudge in his mouth, "What're you drinking?" Contemplating the restrictions, "Wendy once convinced it a raw heart covered in chocolate was food. That bit of tech is weird on a number of levels." He's studying the Beast, "You definately seem a least level of force necessary sort of guy... Maybe it's metaphorical? Or just about willingness? I mean, I've never ripped my heart literally out of my chest, just metaphrically."

He sips his cider, then reaches across to offer the Optimist a taste, "You're upbeat. Even when you were a psychopath you were cheerful and sure we'd all survive. Cheer is reckless, I think. So am I, in my way, but I think it's more a side effect of the drive that consistantly puts me between people and fists or loaded guns. I mean, I'm a guy who seduced a psycopathic ex-boyfriend to distract him from destroying Braden and his marriage. I'm a guy who thinks being lured to a cliff in the middle of the night is flirting and being pushed off of it is... nevermind. Sorry. Note to self: Do not mixclear and brown liquor." He thinks over what Briar says, "That would make sense. The chemicals reetting soo you can't physically addict."


The Gambler beams at Briar and laughs the appelation, then hmms? at Dare. "Oh? Um. Ponche. I mean, it's not really the same without ladling it out of a giant pot while trying to not get too many of the bits of fruit, but enough that it's still ponche, but... It'll do." She sips some more, then considers Arcade. "Did you want to try mine, too? Or any of the rest of you?" She shrugs. "I suppose we'll have to see what my patterns end up looking like."


"I live in a room that looks like it belongs to a hit man," Connor says to Briar with a slight shrug of his shoulders and then nods. "I accepted being the Colton's champion." He knew what he was getting into when he'd signed up for it. Then he looks over toward Dare and says, "To be fair -- it /was/ flirting." He pulls away from the wall then, though and begins to wander back toward the hall of doors, drifting away from the conversation and back toward the rooms beyond, somewhat lost in his own thoughts.


"Well, you do have to admit that most things just seem to work out." And Arcade pulls a face at the idea of a raw heart and chocolate "Grosssss. Oh, that reminds me. We should make a tsunami in the anywhere rooms, and I should try surfing it. Though I don't know how to surf." He taps a finger against his cheek, and he says "Pushed off a cliff, what." And then he says "Yes, well. Harkaway had issues. I don't think they were entirely his fault, but they still caused problems for everyone else." Then he, too, is getting up "I'm going to go back to the nightclub." He says "Sure I'll try yours soon, Felicity, but I need to go dance. Oh, I wanna see the hitman room sometime!"


The Addict gets up as well. "I had no idea that's why Angel hooked up with Harkaway," Briar tells Dare. "Braden was so clueless. He was just so into his science. He was the kind of person who was brilliant but hyper-focused." They give Dare a kiss, and then Arcade a hug. "I'm going to go play guitar and try to ride a horse, without tack, who I have never met before." They give Felicity a hug, and they call to Connor, "Take care, man."


The Martyr grins at Feliciy, "Sure, I'll sip some." Then he's blushing, "Incredibly effective flirting. It was like you knew exactly the right thing...." He watches him go, then tucks up his legs the better to cuddle Briar, breathing something in his ear. To the Optimist, "She was courting. Sort of. I think.... I can teach you to surf. I bet Cheer'd like that too. Surfing a Tsunami." But Briar is getting up and he's being kissed. He looks posatively bereft. "Can I come watch?"


The Beast smiles a little wryly as he heads off and says to Arcade. "Sure, it's the door with the grim gentleman surrounded by bodies on it. Very welcoming." He glances over at Dare for a moment and studies him but then he just nods, and continues on, lifting a hand to wave to Briar as well, before he continues on his way.


The Gambler waves to Connor and Arcade and hugs Briar tightly. "Have fun." Then she offers her mug over towards Dare. It's not all that much different than the mulled cider, except there are a lot more fruits involved and it's kind of reddish. She gives him an amused look as well. "You could not keep your eyes off his ass. It was hillarious."


The Addict arches a brow at Dare. "Yeah," they say. "I do." THen they meander toward the unused Anywhere Room. It won't be long before they're back with a broken collarbone and a confession that they aren't good at riding horses, but in the meantime, think of the fun!


The Martyr reaches for the cup blushing, "Oh come on, have you SEEN that ass? It's a work of art." He sips, "Okay, this? This is amazing." He is watching Briar walk like it's taking all his effort not to follow that ass like a moth chasing a flame. He rasps, "Yes. Oh yes. Please."


The Gambler shrugs. "It's nice enough." She glances after Briar, "His... theirs, too." But it doesn't seem to be a thing for her in the same way. Still, she looks amused. "I am working my way through the foods Felicity kept missing because they were available in the Bay Area and not so readily in Lake Havasu. I find I don't always remember having them, but I remember missing them, which means they're probably worth it. Though that one is a Christmas thing. She'd end up alone around Christmas a lot, so she'd sneak off to big public parties and that was usually at some of them." There's a pause. "Please what?"


The Martyr shrugs and moves his butt and his drink over to her side, "I think whoever Finn was moddled after was an ass man. That's a theory, I have, that they find pople out there with the right traits for the job they want than then they make a copy. It would explain why people like Cheer, Fizz, and Arcade who start here instead of out there have personalities and favorite foods and such. I mean it's either that or they're abducting and partially wiping people's breains." He hand her drink back and sips his own, blushing to his ears, "A thing I've great hopes Briar and I will be doing to each other soon if he doesn't break his neck


The Gambler laughs and takes another sip of her drink, then sets it down for a moment and leans in to kiss the side of his neck. "You two are really adorable together." She shrugs. "The copy thing would make a certain amount of sense. Well, and people just have things that they like. But they do sort of have to have tried them somewhere. I... hmm. Induced amnesia might make more sense. It's just kind of creepier."


The Martyr curls up aganst her, "Have I told you I'm a cuddly drunk?" he nuzzles her neck, "I'm ridiculously happy here most of the time. It makes out there worth it, to have these times together." He rests his head against her shoulder, "Has anyone explained to you about what happened to make Max into Wendy? The Max/Wendy thing is an important data point."


The Gambler beams and cuddles in, relaxing against him. "You hadn't told me that, but I don't object. I like cuddles. And... it's good to know that. It's been... there are so many people who seem to hate it here so much. And I don't. Maybe I will later, but... people I mostly like, not having to do laundry, food is provided. There are drawbacks, and it's not perfect, but... it could be so much worse." Then she shakes her head. "No... no one's explained the Max/Wendy thing. You'd... said something about her having to be remade and she was falling apart, but didn't really explain."


The Martyr sets his mug down, the better to curl both arms around her, "I love it here so much, even with the occational loss and drama. I may feel different if certain doors disappear, but so far? I have he people I love most here, I can eat or drink anything I like, travel anywhere I want. This is where I want to be."

He shifts so hie can bury his nose in her bright hair, "Wendy who was Star Thistle woke up first. She's the oldest of us, if only fractionally ahead of Penny and the other really old ones. My first time hear she was a mess. She apparently evolved when we were at Beaver Lake. In a way that was causing a conflict n her essense or function or whatever you want to call it. Falling hard for Seb was not within the... original design of her. Or something like that. She had already been showing cracks acording to people older than me, but she dramatically destablized. It got bad. She couldn't go on the way she was. She started asking people to kill her. Which one of the Elders did, but instead of resetting or dying she transformed."

"Until she did, everyone woke up in the same body they started with. Like, things like weight and height and disability would change, but they stayed them physically. Recognizeable. She was Latina. Now she's black. She liked a bunch of different foods she'd never heard of before all of a sudden. She had the old memories and the same essential... the elders started calling them archetypes after Icarus. I don't know how I feel about that, but her fuction is the same, but she's... less narrowly focused and a little sodfter around the edges, and a lt happier. Less randomly stabby andin a lot less pain. It was like they'd found someone else who fit, either wiped or cloned and wiped someone they would for one of us and then transfered the Max memories on top of the wendy brain. Or something. Like she's integrated, but it was different and shocking."


The Gambler listens and then blinks slowly, clearly thinking this through. "That's..." It takes her a while as she tries to find a word. Her eyes are doing that thing when she's planning or doing really complicated math, like she's actually looking at something somewhere else, slotting things into places somewhere in her mind. "Huh. Terrifying. I think I'm going to go with terrifying. And yet... I suppose it's good that she's... happier now. And still somewhat her? There being some sort of corrective measure is interesting. It does mean that the ones who vanish it's not just that they broke or couldn't integrate anymore, because... then she would have just vanished."


The Martyr nods into her neck. "I have a theory there too. I asked around to find out what the person who had my room before me. He was the strong silent type. Didn't talk much, but under the crust he was really kind. He died saving the others the first time they wwere in Space. Sacrificed himself. Love and sacrifice just like me. That's the shared essnse, right?" His tone turns very serious, "But there is no way in hell he could have done what I did at Beaver Lake. Finn was... really really smart, but he was also a baby giraffe in a suit. Like clumsy and so weak physically the wind could knock him over. He was also a lawyer. Aces at research and organizing information. He crossed between various cliches and groups, talking to people, making friends, gathering and sharing information. he made handouts up to three times a day. Posted them all the fuck over with the latest information about the murder ghosts, theories, and various calls to action." He shivers, "People were dying gruesomely, but he saved so many lives with one of those weird paste smelling old mimeograph machines. By talking to people. That other guy couldn' have done it. Wrong temprament. On Icarus? I was liason officer. I ran around talking to people and making sure information got where it needed to go, that people with information in different departments talked to each other."

"I think that guy got yanked and replaced because they needed someone who could do what he did but also a whole bunch of things he couldn't and his personality and mine are to different to massage into each other. It was easier to yank one love and sacrifice guy and put in a more flexible version. I think sometimes they need a certain thing and they add someone, or they don't need a particular type anymore which is why they yanked Addison. I think they switch people in roles if they need a different... variation on a theme."


The Gambler frowns and nods. "Okay. Yeah. I can see how that would make sense." She shivers and snuggles in with him more. "That's... creepy, but I can see it. And makes me wonder what they thought they needed me for. Do people often drop in in the middle of whatever happens there?"


The Martyr says, "Christine... That's Star who was Ashley turned up several days late at about the same time I did. Sky who was Zeus turned up a while into our sojourn at carnivale. There were a bunch like that. It's not common, but it happens enough to notice. There were a few others. I think there was a you before you. Briefly.""


The Gambler scrunches her nose. "And the me before me didn't work out somehow, and it took them a while to find me? Possible." She sighs sits forward to grab a couple of the candies and a piece of fudge and then snuggles back in against him, while she eats them thoughtfully. "Any other deeply disturbing revelations I should know about?"


The Martyr sounds sleepy, "Blond maybe? Ran into her in the common areas after we got back from being Gods. Helped orient her. Real quiet, liked cards. I can's remember what she called herself. I may or may not remember her in the background on Icarus, but she wasn't... ital, they way you were towards the end. I think they were experimenting and they liked the idea, but the particular example didn't work out. Maybe it took a while to find the Right one to do what you do."

He contemplates this, "Not sure what counts as disturbing anymore." He sits up enough to sip some more cider, then snuggles back in against her, "Do you think me having three bodies and cheer having two counts?"


The Gambler frowns. "No... the different ages and some of the other things people have said make that just sort of part of the general weirdness of here." She studies the TV with it's 'Please Stand By' display. "We were speculating about what that means. We're thinking some kind of wide-scale disaster scenario, but... not sure what. Also, I would like it noted that I can't tell if this is part of what they needed which is why I'm me or if it's just that being Felicity put it there, but the thing where people mention something stupid or horrible or whatever and statistics and other things related to it show up in my brain. Like someone earlier mentioned nuclear war and I ended up thinking of a distressing map showing likely survival rates in various areas of the U.S. from where they thought the bombs were most likely pointed. It was bleak." Another piece of candy popped in her mouth.


The Martyr says, "I think it might be. She was more odds focused than big scale statistics, but she was the right kind of analytical, if I'm remembering her right." He yawns, "Well, most people still have variations on their old bodies, but I changed twice and Cheer once. My theory is the change is for stability. Right basic psychology, but more grounding. Like a subtler version of the Max/Wendy scenario done between facility returns. I thought my change meant a bad one for me was coming up. I was right. And Cheer... used to be a lot more... it's hard to explain, but she feels it too. She's steadier now." He nuzzles her neck and makes a wordless sleepy happy sound, "Want to come tuck me in? I'm suddenly all sleepy.""


The Gambler laughs softly and snuggles. "I would love to, let's go. Much more pleasant option."