The Addict looks from person to person as they speak. Slowly, he sips his coffee, and he sighs. At least the coffee is good. Maybe this isn't Hell if the coffee is good. "I don't know that I want to be someone else," he says, "but it appears we've not been given the choice. What is there to do but while away the hours and keep each other company?" He glances toward the dispensary. "Maybe drink ourselves into a collective stupor."
Letting her eyes flicker towards the television, the Penitent inclines her head slightly. "That was playing westerns last time. Are we going into a music video next? Maybe it'll be less violent for a change." She doesn't sound particularly hopeful on this score. "I didn't realise you were on the Heph," she offers vaguely afterwards, glancing at the Rogue, and then nodding at him and the Deviant both. "Cillian told me that Mo was also David Akala, the psychotic government official that organised the massacre on the Grey Island that we took part in before the Noc. So reoccuring players, yes."
Offering the Addict a ressuring smile, she shrugs her shoulders. "There's a TV, though we have no control over it. There's books, any book you could want. I guess the only reason this hasn't degenerated into a whole lot of sex and violence is because we keep getting pulled away? Has anyone looked in these other doors?" She gestures to the two doors, the 'anywhere' rooms. "I need something to eat." Her mind seems to jump around a lot, but she's wandering down into the dining room and to the dispensery to get just that.
"There's plenty to do, in fact," the Deviant tells the Rogue -- but he doesn't elaborate on what that means. Perhaps it's something /he's/ going to do. He's long since finished his drink and cigarette, the latter put out in the remains of the former and put aside. "I've been into those rooms," he tells the Penitent as she wanders towards the dining room. "They appear to be...realms of possibility, if you follow me."
The Rogue frowned and nodded and offered to Nettie, "I was Cillian's inside man on the heph, though, weren't rightlygoin by that name when I was there." He drank his coffee and shook his head, "I was their shipper, though if I remembah it was Senni that took over at the end. We failed in keepin Evan alive then too." still...very much a regret. looking up to Dirk and back to Martin and back to dirk he shook his head, "nah, I haven't. What's in em?" His eyes fixed on Deviant. He asked Nettie, "You seen Addie or Cillian?"
The Addict looks toward the doors. They get the same measured suspicion everything else receives in this place. Except the coffee. He's good with the coffee. "I think I would like to read the books," he says. "Maybe I'll learn more about what these devices are and what they do. I have no idea how they've made these images appear on that screen, nor how they produce the sound." He just had to come from an old timey world for his first go, didn't he. None of this stuff looks right. "What do you mean realms of possibility?" he asks the Deviant.
The Penitent is not gone long. She knows exactly what she's looking for, and returns soon with a plate of scrambled eggs and a cup of hot, black, tea. Finding a spot on one of the couches, she settles in, listening. She nods at Caleb. "Rhys Driscoll, yes. I didn't really meet the crew of the Heph that much. I was Kylie, running the docks, but you all were just another crew of miners to her. And yes ... Cillian is around. I haven't seen Addie." She lifts her plate, picking up a forkfull of the fluffy eggs, peering at the doors. "Realms of possibility?" She echoes, though does kind of stare at the Addict like he's a crazy person, not understanding a television. Then she is eating those eggs. And she pauses. Leaning back, wide eyed. "Oh my god." She says after a moment, "I can taste food again." There's a little breathy sigh of contentment, and she can't help but beam a bright smile at 'Martin'. "I don't know why I'm so surprised, but I'd forgotten what food tasted like!"
The Rogue wnated to know the answer but there was some little thing that comforted him found in Nettie's joy of tasting food again. The smile stretched and he admitted with a faint laugh, "Yeah got my eye back when I woke up here last night. Been runnin into things all day." It was empbarassing, but relief and comisseration she could maybe appreciate. He fell quiet and looked to Deviant curiously, "What ya got, chummie?"
The Deviant leans up against a wall, ankles crossed, arms folded. It's like watching a preying mantis move, he's so spindly. "The two rooms become anything you wish for them to be," he says. "It appears to be based on individual desires...at least, that's my theory." He looks down at his nails, briefly buffing them on his black sweater. "I haven't tested it out on anyone else."
The Addict smiles at the Penitent. It's transformative, that smile, turning worry into warmth. With a glance to the browning core on the table, he says, "That was the best apple I'd ever eaten. It wasn't ashy, and look." He holds up his left hand and wiggles his fingers. No more locked up, clenching digits. "Jody's legs are both working, only we're not supposed to call him Jody." His smile fades at that. He's not sure if he approves of this 'Chance' person, to be honest. With a look to the doors, he says with certainty, "Then if I step in there, I will be in my house in New Orleans. It won't matter if my wife and daughter aren't there."
"I guess I wasn't sure, because I survived this time, but given everything else resets -- nothing like waking up from shooting yourself in the head -- I had kind of just taken not tasting food as normal, I guess. Oh, I have to tell Cillian this." Not right now though. The Penitent is going to enjoy these eggs! Devouring them as she listens, and soon enough she's leaning back, sipping at her cup of tea and looking content. "Anything we want them to be? I always wanted a swimming pool here. That could be nice." With nothing more to do for it, she's on her feet, padding over towards those rooms under discussion, and then opening the door. Sure enough, within is a modern day indoor swimming pool. The room has much the same decor as the rest of the Facility, and looks like it belongs here. "Oh!"
The Rogue nodded slowly to martin and offered with some sympathy to not-Jody, "Yeah he wasn't proud of that oneLet's... let him walk away from it. You do things to survive sometimes, an it ain't all square and then you go happen about meeting those people again and while, if we honest, chum?" he squint and offered, "None of us are alright nor likely t'be. like that other fella said he's one of us. Seems we are all we got." He took a deep breath to settle his nerves and offered in that easy South African cadence, "I may never see my wife again. All I have is a photo of my kid and some git is tryin to tell me they ain't ever real? i say they're real enough to hurt. What he did? Real enough to hurt Chance so let's just let the man busy that one. Way I hear it, and maybe she knows, won't make a difference. They can give us all the pools in the world but I want to know who is pulling my strings to hurt and get hurt?"
Derrick smiles at the sight of the swimming pool -- not a particularly sunny smile, but it is a smile. Perhaps he just likes being right. Then he vaults himself off the wall where he was leaning, starting to move again. "I shall see you all later, I'm sure." At that, he moves from the parlor back out to the hall, perhaps returning to his room.
The Addict watches the Deviant go. "You're right," he tells the Rogue. With a sweep of his fingers, he tucks a lock of hair behind one ear. "All we have is one another. Maybe Prosperity wasn't real, but it shaped me, and its lessons haven't been forgotten. We all hurt, and we all paid a price, but we fought together, and we triumphed, and we loved, and that matters. It still matters." He drops his gaze to his coffee. "I would like to know who's behind this, but I think it's more important that we continue to take care of one another."
The Rogue watched Nettie and her pool looking from Rogue and back eyebrow arching. Okay that was impressive. he should stay focused on screwing 'the game' wahtever 'teh game' was but he /had/ to ask, "It got palm trees? Ain't no proper pool without palm trees." He got up testing his balance and dropped a hand to Martin's shoulder giving it a squeeze. "That a big fekkin pool."
Though tempted to just dive straight into the pool, the Penitent closes the door thoughtfully. Then she waits a moment before opening it again. This time it's a gym, full of every piece of work out equipment a person could ever need. Once again she closes it, and then she frowns, idly waving her hand at the departing Deviant, before opening it again. What lies beyond this time is gritty and metal, and the Rogue might be likely to recognise the interior of a Penumbra branded space station. It's one of the crew quarters within, the small space with a table bolted to the floor, bulkheads decorated, and a counter scattered with all sorts of electronics. Nearby is one of the terminals, the big green letters spelling out 'NocLink'. One can even hear the hum of the reactor. "Huh." She says quietly, and then just closes the door and turns about, returning to her couch. "I guess it could have palm trees if you want it to." She says quietly. She lifts the cup of tea again, staring across the way in thought.
The Addict smiles up at the Rogue as his shoulder is squeezed. He leans into the gesture just a bit, with a slight brush of his cheek against the man's wrist. He's certainy a fancier version of Martin, and definitely more effeminate. It's like his body knows how to be comfortable even if his mind still isn't sure. "At least they've given us this much," he says. "A pool when we need it, and whatever else we desire. We don't want for food or drink, and while my room still feels rather foreign to me, it's adequate shelter. I suppose things could be worse."
The Rogue watched and his eyes got wide. Oooh the possibilities here. he walked over stopping a short distance from Nettie and hesitated but whispered in case... he didn't know. "I got... my data slate from the 'Heph'. you think it'd...work in there?" He had ideas here but was ready to yeild to brainstorming to not wallow in the losses he was carrying with him. He contemplated running to go get it but instead brushed his thumb across his lower lip in contemplation.
Sipping from her cup of tea, the Penitent wonders after the Addict, "It's curious, isn't it? We get dropped into these ... scenarios with no memories of this place or other lives. Here, we only have memories of this and the events we've partaken of as different people. Nothing before hand, that I can recall." She glances to him to confirm the same. "Why let us remember anything at all?" She shakes her head. Weird. "But these questions will just chase themselves in circles. I enjoy the respite from everything. My room is soothing and I feel like I belong here." For Caleb, she can only shrug her shoulders. "I have no idea what it could do for you." She replies quietly on the data slate.
"Maybe we remember because these scenarios have things to teach us," the Addict says. He finishes his coffee, then gets to his feet and pads over to the dispenser to get more. He returns to his chair, curling up there. "My room is comfortable," he admits, "and though I don't recognize most of the trappings, they aren't unpleasant." He brushes a thumb along the collar of his sleek kimono robe. "The clothing is odd, but the fabrics are fine. I don't hate this place. I just miss my people, and I awaken to find I have no more now than I did when I first stepped foot in that wretched town."
For all of this time, Arthur has not been here. But suddenly, he's in the entry, all pale wild hair and nearly-as-wild reddish eyes. "Martin!" He is both the old Arthur and the new, this version arguably more youthful, his expression and mien betraying his emotions in a way that his previous incarnation so rarely did. His clothes are casual, too, jeans and a paint-stained blousy shirt, and bare feet.
The Rogue looked back to Martin commenting "If they're our people. I'll be honest, aside from noting you all sound funny to me and likely I back/ i couldn't tell you about where I come from. couldn't tell you if this is left over from some ...event they put us through I don't recall that stuck. really... don't want to think about that right now. But that," He gestured to the ever-changing room, "That could be dangerous to us. we gotta ask ourselves do we want to forget this moment in our lives is being plotted or to we want to know what's real. I don't think we're going to much get it both ways."
Also with the lack of shoes, the Penitent doesn't cut quite as imposing figure as Nettie Hargreave could manage. She's just wearing a tank top and slacks. Very casual. Drinking from her cup of tea, the woman shrugs. "I don't know what I could have learned as when I was Madison Wellson. That woman was a terrified wreck who died in an explosion. I will tell you something though, Martin," she uses the only name she knows to address the Addict by, "surviving does seem more painful than dying. Cillian is not taking losing the life we had together and waking up back here very well at all." She huffs a sigh, sipping more from the cup of tea as she nods vaglue at the Rogue. "I think the best thing we can do is simply relax and enjoy ourselves before we're back in the fire again."
Then Arthur appears and she just gives a kind of vacant smile as she gazes at him. "Hello," she greets, pleasantly.
The Addict stares at the Artist. He looks somewhat different from Prosperity. The long hair, the robe. Still youthful, though. Setting aside his coffee, he gets up and says, "Arthur." There's a wavering caution in his tone. His reunions so far haven't all been warmth and reconnection. To the Penitent, he says, "The survivors have lost their hard won life." Still looking at Arthur, who he approaches swiftly. "But we haven't lost everything." He closes the distance and greets the pale-haired Artist with a long, shameless, needful kiss.
The Artist flings his arms around Martin and clings fiercely. "My love, my muse!" And then he can't speak for a few moments, until his paramour lets him come up for air. When he does, it's, "Nettie! You're here, too!" His eyes are still wide: the adjustment to their new circumstances is taking some time.
Heck the coffee guru wanders in on bare feet, wearing pajamas. He heads right for the sugary cereals. As he listens to the others he's pouring that one that's like fake tiny french toast into a bowl, then adding chocolate milk. Then heated mapel syrup. Then whipped cream atop it all. He turns about and leans against the counter as he munches and watches everyone with bright blue eyes. His brows go up as his blue eyes get warm and he hums an 'awwww' as he watches Marting and Art kiss. He sniffs hard at Art's reaction.
The Rogue, as if to emphasize her point about Cillian, admitted quietly with a shake of his head, "I'm not going to be able to relax until I find my damn wife." He had to concede that things were broken and it was all some fragment but it was also the only real fragment he had. Looking to martin he shrugged offering the counter in a frustrated, but gentle acented tone "Some of us have. I don't care what...iteration of reality anything...is. I told her I'd tear the world in half to make things a'ight again and if it is this whole place?" He turned away from the room of endless temptation and overhanded his coffee to head back to the hallway, "Maybe it is this whole place." Or maybe he was one of many that may drive himself mad trying to 'out cleverly think' the system. He paused and turned on heel telling them, "F'what it's worth? Glad t'see you're all kief." Which might be... good? Maybe alive? Who really knew.
Heck seems to remember something and then quickly beats an exit, whipped cream canister in hand.
Watching the Artist and the Addict, the Penitent inclines her head slightly, smiling at it but somehow it seems like a sorrowful smile. "One hopes you can take whatever joy you can, for you just don't know how long it's going to last around here," she says quietly, watching the Crusader coming and going with a detached curiosity about her. "How do you reconcile multiple memories of the same person?" The question seems to be asked of whoever wants to answer it. "Very different memories, at that. Cillian -- Conrad -- and I ... are in a very weird place right now." She finishes up her cup of tea, dipping her head at the Artist. "So I am, again."
The Addict cups the Artist's cheek in his palm, double-checking to make sure he's real and not some cruel illusion. "You look younger," he says with a broad smile. The small differences don't matter. This is his Arthur. "You won't believe what's happened. I can't really belive it myself. He takes Arthur's hand to lead him into the parlor proper. "Have you eaten? Do you need something to drink? You remember Caleb too, yes? Here, take a seat and I'll get you anything you need. I can't believe it's really you." And that's how to make the Addict go from moping to falling all over himself with gladness.
The Artist allows himself to be led, looking from resident to resident with an expression that's rather lost-- and relieved, to see familiar faces, even if they might not be familiar anymore in so many ways, even to themselves. "I haven't eaten. I've been wandering around... hiding in my room. I think it's my room. The piano from the gambling hall is in there. I remember everyone..." He sinks into whatever seat he's led to, and just stares at everyone and everything. "Is this the future, then? This is what I paid for with my brother's life?" That lifetime is still real to /him/, it's this existence that seems like the strangest of dreams.
The Rogue glanced to Arthur and could feel for the guy. To the Penitant he offered "Well, likely not too hard to find. You want to talk about it..." He shrugged nad left that open. He grabbed an apple uneaten off to teh side and dropped it into one of the pockets of his cargo pants and headed back from the moment letting them have their reunion in peace.
"I thought as much," the Penitent says sadly when no real answer is forthcoming to her question. She curls up on the couch, bringing up her legs to slide them beneath her, leaning on the arm of the thing as she watches the Addict and the Artist in quiet contemplation. "We don't know when this is. And maybe." She answers to his question about paying for this with his brother's life, though her expression is soft. She's not judging anything. "It seems we have a lot more new people this time around. Then again, I didn't come out much last time around, so how can I be so sure. I can't believe how good the eggs are here, though. That is still amazing."
The Addict sits Arthur down on a couch, and he says, "I'll get you something to eat, love." He heads to the disepensers, thinking before he presses the button and a slice of apple pie appears with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on the side. Then he gets another cup of coffee, this one doctored to Arthur's tastes. He brings these back to him. "Here, try to eat something. The important thing is you're alive. They're telling me Fleur and little Senni weren't real, and I feared the worst for you." He glances at Caleb and Nettie, and he offers them an apologetic look. He knows he's being a bit extra, but but but Arthur.
"Are they?" Arthur asks about the eggs. "That's good." How strangely normal in these abnormal circumstances. And he looks up at Martin, and then slowly begins to eat and drink. His hands are shaking, but he does his best to steady them. Where did his self-control go? "What happened was real," he says in something approaching his former authoritative tone, "So they were real, even if it was for... for just then. Our lives are not false when we're dead. Our lives were not false because we're here." He might not know shit about shit, but for that moment he sounds like he does.
"It was real, but as you think on it more and more, you'll realise the life of Arthur McTavish is harder to really envision. Except the parts you actually lived, during Prosperity's Last Reaping," The Penitent says quietly. "I know that I am not Anette Hargreave. Or even Anette McTavish. Or Kylie Shorley. Or Madison Wellson, for that matter. But I've been each of those people. Just snapshots of their lives, really." She remains called up on her spot, watching the pair of them with that sorrowful gaze.
"They're gone," Martin says of his wife and daughter, and the sorrow is still stark and fresh in his voice. He sits beside Arthur, curling up close with his legs tucked beneath him. "I remember us in Prosperity so clearly. The rest is like a happy dream I didn't want to wake up from. I remember wanting so badly to survive because we'd be together." He looks to Nettie. "Whoever we are, we've still got each other. We're not in this awful place alone. That counts for something."
The Artist drapes one long, lean arm over Martin. "If everything we've been going through is subjective," he states after a long while's pondering the Penitent's words, "Then I will choose what I decide is real... is me, is my past, is my present." A squeeze of his arm 'round Martin reaffirms that. "I might not remember everything we did after Prosperity, but I remember what brought us together. We chose that. As for Fleur... I heard that sometimes, people return. It won't ease your grief over them, but perhaps you'll see them again, if we live these other lifetimes."
"Just remember," the Penitent says quietly, shifting slightly on the spot. "There'll be new memories soon enough. A whole new life. Different relationships, different contexts for those relationships. It could hurt even more." Her voice is soft, quiet, and the sorrow in it really isn't for them. It's for herself, as she looks away for a moment. "But we do have each other. For better or worse."
The Addict snuggles in under Arthur's arm. Prosperity's Martin would've been far too proper to have even greeted the man with a kiss let alone get snuggly, but this isn't Prosperity's Martin. "It could," he says to Nettie gently. "It probably will. I don't know what this next life," he gestures at the MTV-playing television, "will be like or its aftermath. Frankly, I dread the idea of being robbed of my sense of self to play some unknown role." He sighs quietly. "It saddens me to see you in pain," he says. "And I have no answer for it, just that I see you, and I care about what happens to you."
The Artist's gaze drifts back to Nettie, but Martin words it better than he ever could have. The television draws his gaze as it had before, and he just watches, fascinated, at the kaleidescope of leather and spandex and hair that is 1980s MTV. He's an artist, after all, and so the spectacle leaves him transfixed. "Mmm."
Giving a soft little sigh, Nettie shakes her head and puts on her vague smile. "Oh don't mind me. I'm just getting used to this place, I suppose, and probably more than a little jealous. Enjoy whatever you can while you can, that's my philosophy." She rises up to her feet then, making her way out into the dining room and back towards the dispensery for another quick visit to pickup something!
The Addict nods to Nettie, and he says, "That's what I intend to do." He kisses Arthur on the temple and smiles softly at him. "Because everything we have is so fleeting, we should take it in while we have it." He looks at the TV without Arthur's artistic eye. It's all sound and flash to him. "I was going mad," he tells Arthur, "with the idea that I'd never see you again. I couldn't have taken that."
The Artist holds him even more tightly. His voice is a little dreamy as he murmurs, "My love, you are my anchor in this mad little world. I would not let go of you for anything." Even if his eyes are glued to MTV. He's forgotten his coffee and his pie, but he's already eaten most of the latter.
Returning from the dispensery, the Penitent has two things. One, is a bag of hard sweets. With her sense of taste returned, the hard candy is just the thing! The other, is a big ol' bottle of whiskey. She pauses though, apparently not wanting to leave just yet, and sets herself back down on the couch. The bottle is set aside, and she's fussing with the bag. Plastic wrapping crinkles annoyingly, sometimes, but she gets it open and helps herself to a treat! She opens her mouth, as though to say something but then just ... doesn't. Instead she's leaning back, and staring at the TV in quiet contemplation herself.
The Addict glances over at the sound of plastic crinkling. It's just not a sound he's heard. They didn't really do plastic in the lifetime he remembers. He perks up as he sees the candy. "They have anything you want to eat here," he says. "I haven't had roasted venison in so long, I think that's what I'll try next." Still, even succulent Bambi can't draw him from Arthur's side. "Nor I you," he tells the Artist. "Did you see the piano, love?" He gestures to the baby grand. "When I first saw it, my heart broke at the thought I'd never hear you play it."
The Artist offers to Nettie, "You can come over here too, if you want. I have an extra arm." He's not leering or anything and it's kind of awkward, but he's just feeling so much solidarity for his old acquaintances and friends right now! And then word of a piano makes him look around. "I didn't notice." He must have been quite upset, if he didn't! "I can play it now if you like. Don't be sad."
Noting the glancing from the Addict, the Penitent just tosses one of those wrapped sweets in that direction, shaking her head at the Artist. "Oh no, that isn't necessary. I am just trying to reconcile memories. That is why I'm jealous, you don't have ... the conflicts." She shrugs though, because it's apparently her burden to bear. "I can play, too," she notes, glancing at the piano.
The Addict holds up both hands to catch it, and he grins at her boyishly. He unwraps the sweet and pops it in his mouth. "It doesn't taste like ashes," he says with unholy pleasure in his voice. He sucks on the sweet happily while he inspects the plastic wrapper it came in. First he feels it with his fingertips, then sniffs it, then licks it, then he looks at it oddly. What is this stuff? "I always want to hear you play," Martin says, "but I'm also not in any hurry to have you leave my side. Do what you desire, love."
"Would you play for us?" Arthur asks 'Nettie', after considering both her and Martin's reply. That Martin can taste again makes him smile faintly: he's less reserved than his previous incarnation, but oddly, he smiles less. Still, this one is more genuine. Food and candy don't seem to be something he's dwelling on but, then, he didn't taste ashes for a year!
The Penitent, setting aside that packet of sweets, rises up to her feet. Sure, apparently, she'll play. Nothing to really speak of it, she settles down at the piano and tries to recall how to do this. It's not something Anette was ever good at. But Madison Wellson, little rich girl in 2018, she knew how to play. It's that skill she draws on now, her hands moving over the keys. The song? Velvet Underground's 'I'm Waiting for the Man.' She doesn't sing, but she's got the melody down. It's rote, really. She knows how to play, the keys to press in the correct timing and sequence. It's not really a work of art.
The Addict rests his head on Arthur's shoulder and smiles softly as Nettie plays. A piano sounds proper, and it's a welcome sound to his ears, even if the song isn't familiar. It's still how music should sound. "Whatever happens in these lifetimes," he tells Arthur quietly, "I will always love you." So bold to make such a claim, foolish and naive, too. In that moment, though, he means it. "We'll always have this to return to, even if we don't know it at the time."
The Artist listens intently and appreciatively to this new song, filing away each note, the tempo, the style, into his creative brain. His room is crammed full of art supplies and instruments, many that he doesn't remember playing, and yet...
He lifts the Addict's hand, the one that had been 'permanently' damaged, to his lips. Neither confirmation of Martin's declaration, nor argument, comes from him, because he doesn't know enough to know if it's possible-- but he appreciates the sentiment all the same. "Yes," he murmurs softly, "We will have each other here. And all of our friends."
The song comes to a finish and the Penitent stares down at the keys, quietly contemplating for a moment. "I hope it works out for you two. I really do. But what will you do if next time, you don't even meet each other? Or you are different people and don't like each other? What if you're family next time? What if one of you murders the other?" Her gaze focuses on the Artist mostly at that last question. "What if one of you is just gone, like Thorne?"
The Addict watches Arthur's face, his proverbial heart in his eyes. "I told you once that I would forgive you anything. I meant that. Even murder." He can't conceive of a reality where he would be the one committing the deed. He's still so young, and he has so much to learn. "I would like to think that we'll be able to reconcile. If we can't, then we'll have had this, and I don't regret that. If I come back sometime and Arthur is just gone..." He swallows and bows his head. "All the more reason to make here and now count."
"I don't know," Arthur states simply to Nettie. "It hasn't happened yet." He doesn't seem inclined to overthink it: he is here, he is now, Martin is here, Martin is now. And he /was/ distinctly amoral in his previous life, so that's likely coloring his views now... which he might well be aware of. Now that he's had time to sit amongst friends and eat and relax, some of his former composure has begun to return. He smiles softly at Martin, taking in that love like any artist might, feeding on the emotion of his muse; fortunately, he cares back.
"It has happened, to me. And I don't know what to do about it." The Penitent says quietly, shifting away from the piano now to collect her things again. "Normally I can just push it all away and happily exist here, but this time ... Anette is lingering in ways I'm not sure I'm happy about. Or maybe I am, but old memories confuse the new ones." The packet of sweets, the bottle of alcohol, those are picked up again.
The Addict steals a quick kiss from Arthur. Having him here outweighs social mores from a time and place that is no more than a memory. Maybe Martin of the Facility feels more comfortable in himself, kimono robe and all. Whatever it is, he's freely showing his affection. He attention turns to Nettie, and his brow furrows. "You need time," he tells her, "and to be kind to yourself. I think we're all trying to figure out who we are after what happened."
"Would you let me paint you?" Arthur asks the Penitent, after another long pause. "If you aren't sure who you are on the inside, maybe having something to look at from the outside might help." He accepts the kiss and returns it softly, for he's never cared about social mores, and it hasn't occurred to this version of himself to, either. Just like he's taken note of the changes in Martin, filed those things away, and accepted them all without comment or complaint.
"You can paint me, if you like," the Penitent says with a shrug of her shoulders. "I'm sure who I am, of a sort. I'm me, and that's enough. It's other people I'm not sure about, I ..." she trains off a moment, and glances down the way, towards that hallway of rooms, frowning. "When I was Madison, I had a brother. Conrad. I cared for him, my little brother. I looked after him. We ended up here together, and I was distant. Then I was Kylie, and there was a girl Kylie came to care about. Michel Thorne. Thorne was also here, with us. But she was Conrad's girl. So that was strange, but I let them be to figure themselves out. Then I was Anette, and Anette loved Cillian McTavish more than life itself. She fought for their life together. But Conrad? Cillian? They are the same person here. And now I can't shake this feeling that I ... married my brother." She lowers her gaze, confused.
The Addict grimaces and says, "Oh my goodness, I can see where that would be difficult. And you don't know how Conrad-turned-Cillian feels? Or is that not the point?" He untangles himself from Arthur and murmurs to him, "I'll be right back, I need to get a few things." He then tells the Penitent, "At least we can be reasonably sure we're not truly related. I hope. I mean I doubt that we are." Now he's starting to confuse himself, and he shakes his head. "I'll be right back." He heads for the hallway.
The Artist watches him go, and then looks back to the Penitent. "I don't know what to make of all of that," he admits, "Except that it all sounds very awkwardly complicated. I don't know what I'll think if this happens to me. I'm not sure I'd care, but I don't know yet."
"We're both trying to work it out." The Penitent says quietly, shrugging her shoulders and putting her smile back into place. "And with Thorne apprently gone, it seems we only have each other. And everyone else here, of course. Nothing in here has really worried me before." She follows the Addict's movements as he dashes off, eyes widening. Not really the reaction she was hoping for! But she nods vaguely to the Artist. "The funny thing is, when I only had Madison's memories, I was so certain that I was not her. I'm someone else entirely, I know that, but it's like you said; it was all still real."
"I will always be Arthur," states the Artist serenely, and so assuredly, "So perhaps that will help. But I wish there was something I could do for you. I liked you back then, and it seems strange not to keep liking you. I suppose I might like you less if you'd tried to murder me, but you haven't yet."
"That's why I asked how you would handle all those situations. Not because I was trying to break what you have, I'm honestly curious about what you'd do." Another smile from the Penitent, and she shrugs her shoulder. "Murder here doesn't seem to matter. You just come back anyway. It was tested. Anyway, I've resolved to be a pacifist here. I can't make any promises about what happens out there. I'm honestly not sure how responsible we can be for our actions when we have only the memories they give to us, anyway."
The Judge heads to the dining room.
"I'll immortalise him in paint and song," Arthur smiles. "Even if it sours, I'll always have that." He settles back more snugly in his seat; he'll wait until Martin comes back, even if that takes hours. "I don't understand anything about this place, so I suppose we'll revisit this conversation a few more lifetimes from now." This unsettles him, but he's gotten better already at keeping that from his face.
The Judge comes from the dining room.
The Addict emerges from his room, and he has two blankets, both soft and warm. He dumps them on the couch, then keeps padding into the dining area so he can get three hot toddies from the dispenser. He brings these back with him, and he distributes first to Nettie, then to Arthur before keeping the last for himself. "There's no reason we couldn't be having this conversation in a bit more comfort," he says. He reclaims his spot on the couch beside Arthur and drags one of the blankets over them both. The remaining one is apparently for Nettie.
"Mmm, that's fair. None of us have all the answers, so I don't really expect anyone too. But talking through a problem, well, it can help." With the Addict's return, she's happy enough to sit down again. Oh yay, a blanket! But she declines the drink, shaking her head. "No thank you. I don't drink." Nevermind that bottle of whiskey she got!
Another door from the hall of rooms opens, the one whose emblem is that of a male figure holding a feather in one hand, and a sword in the other. A burly, heavy set individual walks out, familiar to some, less so to others. He carries a pair of books in one hand, and his heavy footfalls carry himtoward the bookshelves in the parlour, giving a curt nod of acknowledgement to the other men present, along with an unadorned, "Gentlemen," before he notes the recent Nettie. The big man's lip bends in a tight, short-lived smile. "You made it back. Good," he observes, simply.
The Artist settles in with the blanket, the toddy, and Martin. He inclines his head to Nettie, and then regards Samuel as that one arrives, too. He's tired, and shifting emotions and realities and everything else have left him feeling more spun-out than ever. He looks it, too, ethereal and frail on the couch, his red eyes the only color in his face. Weren't they gray back in Prosperity?
The Addict's brow knits, and he looks pointedly to Nettie's whiskey bottle. He says nothing though, save for, "At least grab a blanket." Then he sets the toddy down on a table. Free toddy, folks! He snuggles under the blanket with Arthur, hands wrapped around his mug of boozy tea. "Hello," he says to the Judge with the respect one might afford a reverend. "It's good to see you."
Speaking of siblings, the Penitent stares at the Judge thoughtfully for a long few moments upon his entry. "Sam," she says. She knows that he's been around as long as she has, but never really got to know any of his other selves. So she settles on the name she does know. "Wow. That's a new perspective too. Is it good to be here again? I suppose it's okay." She does take a blanket though, noticing Martin's look at the bottle and giving a soft laugh. "Oh, I'm sorry. That's not for me. Cillian isn't quite ready to come out and face the ... this. So I'm going to take it to him."
The Artist murmurs softly, of Cillian, "I wonder if I should see him. Will he remember me badly?" And about perspectives, "Why wouldn't he be glad to see you? Is it so wrong to hang on to things that are dear, even when nothing is certain?"
The Addict tells Nettie, "That's a kind gift. I'm sure he'll appreciate it." He nestles close to Arthur, red-eyed or not, seeming comfortable enough with the differences. "I'll show you my room tonight," he tells him in a low tone devoid of subtlety. "It's strange, but comfortable. At least whoever has us locked up in this place doesn't want us to be miserable while we're here."
"Seeing as how we don't know where those who disappear end up, I'll consider another turn on the wheel to be a good thing," the Judge muses in return to the recent Nettie. Her comment on Cillian gets a rueful chuckle. "Can imagine that might take some getting used to. In your favor, he can't run away, this time," the big man notes to his former sister. "Martin gets a small smile, as well. "Good day. You boys look to be doing well, good to see." He places the carried books back into the proper gaps on the shelf, and searches out another.
"That's not what I meant," the Penitent says quietly to the Artist, shaking her head as she leans back just slightly. She does give a slight smile to the Addict though, which is then turned upon the Judge. "I like to think they escaped, somehow. Or were let go. There's no real reason to believe that, but it's a nice thought. You know Thorne -- Maata -- is gone? I'll miss her. Oh and did you see the new doors?" She does peer at the other two again, too, just blinking slowly as she considers them.
The Artist is the one, now, to rest his head on Martin's shoulder. "Yes." He is too worn out for passion, but the closeness is comforting. He lifts again when the Penitent asks her question. "Doors?"
The Addict slips an arm around Arthur's shoulders, and he nods to the Judge as he says, "We're doing much better now that we've found each other." His expression dims as the missing are named. He never knew them, but he takes no pleasure in their absence. "New doors?" He glances toward the hallway.
The Judge may sound noticably more educated than the half-injun preacher in Nevada, but he is no better at lying. When the Penitent speaks of how nice it is to believe that the issing have been released, the big man looks away for a moment, forces a smile that looks a bit more like a wince as he looks back, and just nods. He might as well have a sign over his head reading 'I don't want to take that hope away, but...' His expression settles into a more comfortable gruffness at the mention of Thorne/Maata. "I did. And I won't," he notes to missing her. "Not after what she did our first time in this place. Which reminds me.. Anyone seen Lupe, this time around?" He glances down the hallway at mention of new doors but only briefly. "Yes. And a few others are missing."
"The ... I don't know what to call them." The Penitent says, gesturing at the doors over the way. Just two doors, here in the parlour. "They open to ... whatever you desire, apparently." She nods enthusiastically towards the Addict. "Yes. Those ones, they haven't always been here. Whatever you want to be behind them is there. I found a swimming pool. And also ... the Noc." Yes, the entire space station, apparently. She frowns a little though, looking at Sam. "To be fair, it was Lupe that offered to die for them to see. I've seen her, briefly. I don't think she's come out of her room much, though."
The Artist just shakes his head, wide-eyed. He doesn't have anything to say, because it all sounds like madness, and half of it is incomprehensible anyway.
The Addict says, "Oh, those doors." He winds a curl around a fingertip. At least he's pretty, even if he might not be all that bright. In his defense, he's still taking in a lot of new information. To Arthur, he says, "She opened the door and there was a pool, then there was a room full of equipment I didn't recognize, then another room full of different equipment I didn't recognize. It's supposed to turn into whatever you desire in there." He gives Arthur a squeeze and murmurs, "But I have everything I want right here."
"She's unselfish and curious, like that," the Judge returns to the Penitent, stern in tone. "But there is a world of difference between being willing to die, and being willing to kill somebody for no good reason." He nods once at word that 'Lupe' has been seen. "Then she's back, too." With that, he lets the subject pass. Eyeing Arthur and Martin, he makes an effort at an apologtic shrug. "The first days we all got here.. some folk didn't handle it as well as you two are."
"She wouldn't have done it if Lupe hadn't suggested it." The Penitent says with a shrug of her shoulders. That's not exactly how it all went down, of course, but the fact remains it was Creepshow who gave anyone the idea. "I'm glad to know that we at least can't be killed in here. In case someone gets violent. But yes. She's back. I'm not sure how she's coping, she seemed ... different. But then she was her usual self again for a moment."
The Artist rubs fiercely at his forehead. "I think I want to lie down." The enormity of the weirdness is definitely weighing on him! Even Martin's declarations of affection aren't reassuring him. He's not handling it great, either, despite his brief earlier aplomb.
"She enjoyed hurting people," the Judge states, with an edge of finality. "Just never seemed right," he mutters, in conclusion. A short nod, on Creepshow's condition. "I daresay she had it as bad as any this last time around, and a great deal worse than most. She needs time, she can have it." A terse exhale. He eyes the book he'd selected off the shelf, and notes aloud, "Think I've soured the room enough, for this hour. I really ought to give it some time to let the plants grow back," he says in rueful self-deprecation, as if there were any plants to begin with.
The Addict's brow furrows, and he rubs Arthur's back gently. "Get some rest, love," he says. "I'll come find you later, unless you want me with you now." He glances between the Penitent and the Judge. "We're still having our moments, but mostly I just want to sleep it off, not murder anyone. I just want..." More of his tea toddy, apparently. He takes a long drink before he says, "to be with Arthur."
"Yeah, you're probably right," the Penitent says with a nod of her head, rising up to her feet. "But Kylie liked Thorne, so what am I to do." Scooping up her candies and her bottle of whiskey again, she just gives a completely guileless smile and shrugs her shoulders. "If you want to speak to Cillian," she says, trailing after the Artist, "His room is the one with the guy counting coins. I'll let him know you're around." She too, though, is retreating down the hallway to her room.