Log:Don't forget me
There came a knocking at the Competitor's door, and it was the Penitent. She had someone she wanted to go, she said, assuming the Competitor was ready to meet another one of Penny's 'selves'. She confessed there's actually a couple of things she wants to discuss, but this was the first thing she wanted to do. It's likely to be the best one, she thinks. Once Competitor was assured nothing too crazy was going on, Penny, dressed in her slacks and singlet top like always, took the woman to these magic doors she spoke so much about.
And the door opens to reveal that technological marval that is the Noc. The lower levels of the space station are a maze of metal and wire and look straight out of the movie. Penny has picked some out of the way corner for them to enter, and as she does, her appearance changes. Shorter hair, her outfit is a pair of coveralls, with her name - 'K.Shorely' - right there over her left breast pocket. She's got a toolbelt on, and all sorts of things hang from it. A multitool, a pair of pliers, a few pouches, and a security access tuner. "Welcome, to Tenochtitlan station!" She grins, an easy going, friendly grin.
Even if something too crazy was going to happen, Competitor would still have come along. She likes the company...and wants to help Penitent any way she can. And she is also an incredibly curious soul. Who wouldn't want to go to the future? Competitor's eyes wide as she stares at what she has walked into. Fingers touching the metal walls to make sure the are real; the smell of oil and the sound of rumbling machinery is equally substantive to her senses.
Competitor's clothes have changed to match the new environment. She has no idea what she is now wearing but it looks rather official; management rather than overalls though. Is she forever cursed to be management? She is curious at what she wears on her wrist now. That is not a watch. It looks like it does way more than that.
Of course, the most interesting change is what is happening to the Penitent. "You look..." Competitor shrugs and has to laugh a little. "Still great." Now she has to feel the shorter hair before returning the grin. "This is amazing." Her eyes narrow a touch. "But isn't this where the monsters from alien are?" A quick glance around. "Is it safe?"
"Look at you, moving up in the world. Funny thing is, Riordan was my boss here, so now you probably work for him. And Riordan was also Ethan Drake, once." Penitent teases as she notices the change, immediately setting. This place is an absolutely labyrinth of corridors and bulkheads, but she seems to know exactly where she's going. "Girl, I'm the finest thing you've seen in days, I know, I know. It's okay though, you'll see me for longer." A wink, a grin, and she shrugs a little. "Never been any critters around before, then again, there's never been any people around before either."
Speaking of people, there's a few, here and there. As Penitent is clearly getting closer to a main corridor, there's more. Maintentance and dock workers. It's very much the gathering of the blue collar workers. And a few of them even nod to the Penitent, with greetings of 'Shorely' more than anything else. "So you wanna see where I work, the shitty bar I mostly hang out in, or see my quarters on the station?" She doesn't seem worried about hostile aliens! "The most fun stuff will happen in my quarters probably, but the bed is fucking tiny." She lets a light, playful smile form upon her lips. Not only is Kylie much more confident about her preferences and what she wants, she's down right flirty if she gets going!
"Ethan? Ethan was in charge of something like..." Competitor waves her hand at vast technological marvel they wander through. "Wow. You really do change in each of the stories. Wait, you think I work for Ethan?" No point trying to figure that one out. A smirk at Pentient's self-promotion. "Confidence is not a problem here" she laughs before shrugging. "But, yeah, you are the finest thing I've seen in days."
Flirty seems to have been left behind a while ago - that was an outright offer. "So we don't use the bed, we use the whole room" she winks in return before eyeing off the various 'people' who populate the station. "Why was it named after an Aztec Emperor?" she asks casually, feeling every bit the white collar worker in a blue collar world. A bit like when she hung out with Ethan, Lyle and Roen before everything went to Hell. There may even be glares coming her way. "I will never turn down an invite from you to go to your quarters" she has to admit, "But you didn't just bring me here for fun, did you?" A pause. "Though if you /did/, then I wouldn't mind that at all. Umm...I guess there has been centuries of progress in...umm...personal shared novelty items?" Competitor may be blushing a little though that may be hopeful interest in her eyes too.
"No, Overseer Riordan was in charge of something like this," Penitent says gently, nodding slowly. "He was a troubled man, but very loyal to his staff. One of the best people Kylie ever worked for. And he died making sure he took the creatures with him." While Emily might not think much of Ethan Drake, Kylie has no small amount of respect for Riordan.
Grinning a bit further, she shrugs. "My room is gonna be a mess. You'll end up with a data tape or a circuit board poking somewhere uncomfortable. Kylie tinkered with most everything she could get her hands on. She kept the docks running on duct tape and hope sometimes, while waiting for sign off on replacement parts." She moves along down the hallway, shrugging. "I had you come to see more of the pieces that make me ... me. Kylie's one of them, and one I rather like. And she didn't think twice about hitting on a hot girl. She had a few close women that would come in on the mining ships on the regular." Eyebrow waggle, and then a laugh at that blush like it's the most adorable thing. "Sure, why wouldn't there have been?" She shrugs a little there. "I could show you the stars and you'll see how we're really in space, if you want."
"This is what I have to get used to" Competitor nods about 'Ethan', "How you can be so different but all be the same person. It hasn't happened to me yet so I have no idea, really, how it affects you all. How it changes you. But, yeah, I kind of like this you too." She is going to steal a kiss in the middle of the hall; Competitor doubts that it is something the other crew have not see Kylie involved with in the past. And it's a long steal.
"You have to be loyal to your staff. They're the only reason you can reach so high." Competitor will stop the motivational platitudes now. For a few minutes at least. "So this part of you, and the person outside of the stories, have no trouble being attracted to women. But Emily took convincing. And you had a husband and children another time. I'm starting to understand why you feel so frustrated." A nod to the suggestion of seeing the stars...or was it about the novelty items? "The stars sound good. How long were you Kylie?"
There's no hesitation in Penitent, no worrying about what anyone might think, who might see, she just grins, and returns that kiss with ease. Her arms even wrap around Competitor, crushing her close and as that goes on. "I have no idea how it can all happen either," she says afterwards, grinning easily as she gestures to start moving along again. "Yeah. I found Emily especially frustrating after being someone like this, after being someone like Anette. Two pretty strong women, and then I was Emily, too afraid to be herself. And Anette certainly wants Cillian back, which I'm sure is just as big a draw as it is with him, but he's also got Laine, and there's Maata, who disappeared on him. I wish that had never happened to him."
Quiet a moment as he moves, down through the main concourse. They're certainly leaving the area where the workers work, and heading into something a bit more shiny and new. The Noc was also a tourist trap, boasting a fancy mall and hotel as well. "About four months that I actually lived. And you know, Kylie had some issues in the past too. She worked on Sevastopol and was lucky to get out of that one alive, and did some horrible things to survive that kind of haunted her. But she knew what she wanted and what she was about. Except with the robots, she was curious but just couldn't." A laugh.
"Emily was changing, you must remember that. We were dealing with her alcoholism. She found a purpose with her paranormal interests. We were going to have a good life...I thought. Sky was the limit." Competitor believes it but she might also be the only one. "Do /you/ want to be back with Cillian?" A soft snort of hollow amusement. "It sucks that the part of you that you hate the most is the one that was interested in me." She takes Kylie's hand in hers, quite liking this more forward version of the Penitent. "I won't leave you."
Competitor does drag her eyes away from Pentient to check out the new areas. "Is this a mall? It's huge. Sevastopol?" Such names meaning nothing to Competitor. "It sounds like you often have pasts that are...haunting? No pun intended." They had dealt with ghosts together. "The sexbots? This is all out of a movie for me. It doesn't feel 'real' though it is all around me, maybe because I wasn't here before. I'm not sure I could either."
From the dark and grimy metal to the white polish and tourist heaven. There's a large bulkhead, and an airlock to get through, though it's kept open. The station is capable of sealing off the core from the outer levels in the case of emergency. "She was, but also remember that the stuff after we got on that boat is kind of just a story. I mostly remember Emily's thoughts and feelings as they were in that moment. But she was changing, anyway. Thanks in large part to Christine." She glances sidelong, grinning, and reaches out for Christine's hand as she makes her way to the Twin Star bar and observatory. Normally she'd dress up a bit nicer for this place, but what the hell! This upper end however, is much quieter. There's less people around. It's not tourist season.
"Believe me I don't hate Emily the most. That's reserved for Madison really, and as for Cillian, it's complicated. The answer is 'sometimes'. When Nettie is feeling particularly close, yes, of course. But I'm trying to give him some distance on that score for the moment. He's got a lot to figure out with Laine, and he needs Madison more than Anette, right now." A little sigh there. It's followed up with a smile though, and she gestures. "Tada. A perfect panorama of the star field and the binary star of the system. Let's get a drink," and she's moving towards the bar to do just that! "So, this thing with Madison is something I wanted to talk to you about."
"You're right...about the memories after the Lodge. It's like looking through a scrapbook or a slide night. You're pretty sure they happened but all you have are those images to convince you. And they are only moments and nothing about what happened between them." Competitor frowns a little. "They were good times though. I have to believe that." A smile for Kylie. "What can I say, Emily brought out the best in Christine. I can't believe I'm referring to 'myself' in the third person."
Competitor will happily go and get a drink but first she has to take in the view. Her eyes and mouth wide in awe at the sight of the binary suns. This is /much/ better than any special effect she has seen/remembers. No blue matte lines for a start. A glance around when she realises Penitent is gone and she quickly rushes after her to the bar. "He needs the person inside you that you hate the most? This is the brother sister one?" At least it sounds like it will be all explained once they have their drinks so she will rein in her questions for now.
"Yeah ... and in some ways I think it's a blessing. Don't get me wrong, I'd go back to that life afterwards if I could. They were good times. It's better than living in this in between. But if I have to lose it and have ... this. I'm kind of glad I don't remember it properly? If I think about these things, I get very sad. And if I think about the daughter I had, I just ..." She nods once, and then sets off. Ordering a couple of drinks -- no wine for Kylie, it's whiskey tonight -- Penitent carries them both towards a table, waiting for Competitor to catch up with her.
Once there, she even pulls out a chair for the other woman. It's quite the view -- and yet, for Penitent, it's just normal. Space stopped being amazing many, many years back. It's still kind of pretty, though. She stares a bit at it. "We're going to try something, and we don't know if it will do anything. I think it won't, really, but just in case. I wanted to talk to you." She licks her lips a little. "But I'll have to explain my first life to you properly so you'll understand, okay?"
"I can't imagine the effect that children would have on this kind of life. I'm sorry you've had to suffer that..." Competitor isn't sure what to call Penitent in this context, so she shuts up and takes the offered seat with a smile of thanks. She makes sure she can still see the stars though her attention /is/ on what Penitent has to say. And whiskey is a good choice.
Why does Competitor feel a little unease about this plan even before she hears anything about it. Though there is a silver lining to be found - Penitent wanted to talk to Competitor about it /before/ it happened. What they have is important enough for that. Competitor nods once. "Okay. These first lives we have, including mine, I guess they're not the /real/ ones. We just don't know what came before them." She holds up an apologetic hand. "Sorry, you need to tell me things and I will listen instead of asking inane questions." Competitor will take Penitent's hand to encourage her to say what she needs to say; possibly out of habit with Emily rather than thinking Kylie needs it.
That hand is squeezed, and Penitent taks a sip at her drink, giving a satisfied sigh. "Better than what they server down in the Afterburner Bar," she says with a grin, before shrugging. "I'm not the only one who had to suffer it. Conrad and I -- we made a promise, a while back, to always look out for each other no matter what. It doesn't matter what we do in these stories, if our new personas hate each other, if barely talk, we're always there for each other. I know if I need something from him, he'll do everything he can to provide it, basically no questions asked. And I'll do the same for him. But this one ..." She pauses, gives a little sigh, and shakes her head. "I'll start from the start."
"The first life I knew was Madison Wellson. She was the rich, wealthy girl. Heir to the Wellson fortune, she was good with money, she was good with making deals, playing the stock markets, buying and selling business and land. She learned it all from her father, really. She had a brother, Conrad Wellson. Dad didn't like Conrad much. I -- Madison -- was the little princess. Conrad always had to go to extra lengths to prove himself. It wasn't until we were basically adults I really learned why. It's because our father wasn't. He wasn't Conrad's father. Our mother confessed it to me one night while drunk. Anyway, in his effort to prove himself, he had this idea."
"Wyred Fest. We were going to take an island, in the middle of the pacific ocean. No infrastructure, no anything. Abandoned and untouched by civilization. A month long music festival. Streamed live across the internet in real time. Tickets would be expensive, people could come and live in luxury. We had to set up everything from scratch. Power, plumbing, wifi, everything. He would make it the music festival to be talked about for the rest of his life, his legacy. And he needed me to bank roll it, so I did. I even got the perfect island that he wanted, despite resistance from the islander government. They wanted the tourism sure, but they didn't want us using that island. I happened to find the official with just the right amount of shady to take a bribe and make it happen."
"Of course it all went to shit. The communications went down almost immediately, due to sabotage, and we had a lot of angry guests on our hands that needed something to do. There were some old ruins we'd been told not to go near, but we did anyway. We kind of organised a tour of these ruins. Completely out of our hands of course, it was never an official activity of Wyred. But there was a lost trive of inbred natives, they wanted to sacrifice people to their ancient gods, we fought back, their ancestors rose from the dead and attacked us. Pretty standard stuff for our various lives now, really, but being hunted across an island by skeletal warriors is about as unpleasant as worrying about ghosts every other moment. Neither myself, nor Conrad survived that one." She pauses there, to let the situation sink in.
"We could make a similar promise if you wanted" Competitor offers. "You know how much I care about you, even outside of the 'story', but I haven't tried the different lives yet so I will understand if you don't want to." One hand in Penitent's, the other with whiskey that she sips at every now and then, Competitor listens to the tale. And it is quite the tale. She will even keep quiet about the number of business mistakes that seem to be involved. "So, like, zombies and inbred cannibals? Whoever is putting us through all this has a worrying imagination." A wince at how they didn't survive. "I'm sorry to hear that." Even though she is talking to one of the 'dead' now and the other one is roaming around outside of the door they came through. It was still probably painful. "So if you died, what are you planning to do?"
"I don't really hold anything against anyone for anything they do. We don't seem to choose who we are or what we might care about, when in our new worlds and lives. We could, but I think you should wait until you've had a second try at this and then see how you feel? I'll be here for you either way." Penitent replies quietly, giving a simple little nod to that and squeezing at the hand. "The thing is, before it all went terrible, it worked. We were making so much money, and it was a real live test of this solar panel technology I'd learned about called LITE. I forget what it stood for, but we could've changed the third world with this stuff, and Madison would have secured her own future. Unfortunately this was all a trap led by that shady official I mentioned. Akala. But not zombies. Skeletons. With swords and spears. Ancient ancestors of the tribes ..." she shakes her head. "Anyway ... we're going to go back. use these rooms to go back to just before Wyred Fest all happened. We're going to play our parts as Conrad and Madison, and we're going to prevent it from happening. And then we're going to see what ... happens." She nods, and leans back a little. "Personally, I think not much will happen. In our own little conjured up reality through these magic doors sure, the festival won't happen, but I doubt it will mean anything to us. But I might get myself lost in being Madison because I'll have to be her properly, and commit to it for a while. I guess there's an outside chance these rooms really do let us travel through time, and without us being at the island, we'll never die, and never end up in this ... place, this facility. But I really do doubt that. These rooms seem to spring up from our desire, and I think they're just a copy. After all, this station we're on right now?" She shrugs. "We blew it up rather than risk the alien get off here. This place was destroyed. And yet here it is, fully functional."
Competitor nods about holding off any promises though there is a smile at Penitent still offering to be there for her. "What does Joshua think will happen? I think you're right. This isn't the same place as it was when you were last here. If it was a time travel trip, where is everyone else? Who am I? I wasn't here before...I think" Competitor muses on that for a moment but she's pretty sure she wasn't, not even as a background 'player'. "If you are /choosing/ when in a timeline to appear, then it must be generated by you. And you didn't generate it when you were dropped in there the first time. And what difference does it make if you died or not? I didn't die at the Lodge, yet here I am."
Competitor takes a big mouthful of whiskey, looking concered at Penitent. "You know I won't stop you doing anything you need to do. I certainly wouldn't try to make you break a commitment. If he needs you to do this, and you made a promise, then you have my blessing if that is something you need. Will I be heartbroken if you never return." A little laugh as she nods. "Damn right I would be but it will mean you are free. And you are happy. And that is all I have ever wanted for you." She sucks on her lower lip. "What if I came too?"
"I don't know, it's just something he needs to do, I think. Conrad always took it hard that his legacy, his festival, ended in death and horror for so many. Madison wasn't too thrilled about her part in it either. It was because of her that it was even possible. Maybe this will allow us to close the book on those siblings for good, and feel like they're done. Maybe it will just be another way of torturing ourselves with what ifs, like I suggested." Another mouthful of her drink, and she nods. "But really I think it's just something he needs to try, and me, I'm trying to look at it from a more scientific and curiosity approach."
Another slow nod, Penitent pausing a moment there. "You know, I dunno what'd happen if you came too. You weren't at the Island or Wyred as far as I can remember. I dunno if you'd become Christine Lake as of 2018 or if you're like. Just 'someone' like you kind of are here. But anyway ... given I might be living days or weeks as Madison I might need some help finding myself again. I dunno. I'm just worried that I'll become her and lose everyone else, I think."
"If you came back here, then you would lose Madison like you have everyone else. She would just be a part of the real you again. If you don't come back and live the rest of your life as Madison, then there is no self to find. You are Madison and I would be some strange babbling woman. Especially if I was fifty." A little shiver from the Competitor at that. "I doubt you'd find me hot then" she smirks.
"There are so many unknowns here, Kylie. If you can do that and fix it so it doesn't happen, then you will never be at the place that allows you to go back and fix it, so it was never fixed and you're back where you started. Time travel is a real bastard. If it works, what's to stop me going back to the Lodge before the storm and talking Dani out of it? Or going straight to all those anchors before it happened and setting everything free? If you go back to Madison before it all happens, you might not remember all that you know now. Or there will be two Madisons roaming around." Competitor rubs at her forehead. "The short answer though, is I will do whatever you need me to do. Come with you or be here for you when...if...you get back and try and help you find yourself again."
"The idea of living the rest of my life as Madison kind of terrifies me," Penitent offers quietly, shaking her head. "Even though I guess she would be ... happy enough, with her life. When I first woke up here, and realized Madison was kind of distant and hazy, I was relieved. So relieved. That I wasn't actually her. I've found this place, this prison, comforting ever since. The comfort is wearing thin as things get done, but maybe there's some healing and carthasis to be found in undoing our mistakes. Even if it is just a copy of the same situation and not actually changing anything. It might help me come better to terms with her."
"You're right, there are so many unknowns. I really do think it's more for our personal feelings and closure on this whole thing. And maybe I will be able to shake Madison again and I'm worrying over nothing, but maybe -- I won't. So I'm going to ask you to help, even if it means you're a babbling woman." She laughs. "And yeah, Madison wasn't really into girls, or anyone really. She was too busy making money and pretending she wasn't ruining lives while doing it."
"You know, I do have a bit of experience with being a bossy overachiever" Competitor points out with a sly smile. "Do you think you will seek closure on every story where you don't 'win'?" A nod to the station around them. "Blowing this place up to stop the Alien. That was a win? Some of the people who didn't die probably didn't think so. Hmm...what if you going back to resolve Madison causes someone who got out alive to die?"
"Hey, Madison hasn't met /me/ yet. She might be smitten. Heck, she /will/ be. I am pretty irresistible." Competitor is kidding! "Look, Madison is just another facet...a role if you will...that /you/ have had to play. And the real you is a kind, confident, generous person who wants to do all they can to make things better. That will seep through into even Madison because she is not as real as /you/ are. I am glad to help. I know I never said it while at the Lodge, it was too soon and too stressful and you would have said it was the adrenaline talking, but I'm pretty sure it was said in that year afterwards. A few times. And, yes, I am talking about 'those' three words and, yes, I know it was said to Emily, not /you/, but the person who said that is part of me too, and it was meant. Of course I am going to help you. Tell me how you want me to and I will be there."
"I don't know. I don't really need to do this, but like I said. Conrad and I are kind of in this together for the long haul it seems. As much as he frustrates me at times with his distance from me, I don't know what I'd do if I woke up to find he was gone like some others. I really don't. And technically they did win, at the island. They put the curse to rest and appeased the ancestors and got out. We just weren't some of the ones who made it. A lot of people died. A lot."
She leans foward a little, and nods. "I know, I know. I know all that. She's a part of me, and she always will be, and pretending she's not is foolish. If Emily taught me anything, it's to stop pretending. But my fears aren't always rational, you know? If I even know what rationality is in this place ... anyway." She smiles a little. "Feel free to check on me now and again, I guess. I don't really know what I need you to do. I guess I trust you'll know what to do at the time." A pause. "But if you want me to tell you how I want you, well, not to undercut the moment but I still do intend to take you back to my quarters in the sublevels."
"I might be still here" Competitor shrugs about the possible disappearance of Conrad. "No one has ever figured out where their lives are definitely heading. We deal with what happens the best way we can. We fall in and out of love. We find friends, we lose them. But I do know that you will never be alone. You're much too good a person for that. And so /totally/ hot." A wink for the Penitent.
"You intend to come out of the 'story' every night or something? I thought you were disappearing in there for however long you needed to be in there to do whatever it is you think needs to be done. Okay, I can keep an eye on you. Do you know if there are cameras available. Photographs. Maybe we could take photographs of us together or something to prove to Madison that there is more to her than what she believes? That I am someone she knows. It's a start anyway" Competitor suggests before a wicked grin at that last statement. "Oh, don't worry, I still intend to be taken there."
"You know what I mean," Pentient says with a shake of her head. "And Madison was alone, at the end. She was alone and scared in the dark and no one came for her. And then I was alone and scared here, too. I was the first person that we know of to awaken in this place. I thought it was my punishment for what I'd done. To be alone for ever. But thankfully it didn't last long before others started showing up too ..." she trails off, her gaze distant and then shakes her head. "Maybe. Max said the time differential is severe. Like she spent a weekend there and not much time at all had passed here. You'll proably find even now we've only been gone for a couple of minutes."
A pause, and she shakes her head. "I don't know if anyone has a working camera. There is something that you'll probably always be able to use to get through to me though. In my room, in the nightstand, second drawer, there's the items I seem to end up with after every life. One of them is a ring. There's no way I can ever forget what that ring means to me." Even though she suggested the whole quarters thing, she does pause on that for just this moment, to go over this marginally more important talk. But there is a smile, and a sparkle of anticipation in her gaze.
"You were the first?" Another squeeze of Penitent's hand with that information. "I cannot imagine how horrible that must have been. A ring? Nettie's wedding ring?" Competitor nods solemnly. "I'll use it if I need to. If /you/ need it." Her smile is warm and tender before she nods to the door into the bar. "Come on, show me this bed of yours. Though it had better last longer than a couple of minutes. I don't care what the time differential is" she giggles, downing the rest of her whiskey and standing. "Seriously, Kylie...Emily...Annette...Madison, anything you need from me will be given happily."
The Penitent gives a confirming not to the Competitor's guess of what the ring means to her. "Chances are you're right, and I'm worrying over nothing. I doin't think anything will really happen, to me or to the whole 'timeline' thing, but." She nods. "I thought you should know, anyway. I'll tell Roxie too, and maybe Lupe. Max. Oh! She might have a camera, actually. She was a photographer, once." Pursing her lips in thought, she takes a breath, and then lets it all go, knocking back the glass of whiskey and setting it down. "C'mon then babe, let's get out of here." And she's rising to her feet, as well, tugging Competitor along to lead the way back towards the lower levels and the crew quarters.