It is the second evening. The Radio is off. A stranger is eating a garden burger with sweet potato fries and a root beer float on the sofa. He is just barely above average in height, classically handsome with dark eyes, tawny skin, and black, curly hair. His features are strongly masculine, with high, aristocratic cheekbones and a cleft chin. A regal nose shadows full lips.
He is impeccably groomed, freshly shaved, with a lingering scent of citrus and fougere aftershave. He is wearing a black dress shirt, a purple vest with matching tie, and deeply pleated black trousers. His shoes are impeccably polished.
It is the first time that Christine slash Nikki has had a second life that she can remember. She is now having to deal with multiple memories trying to influence her life, just like The Penitent had warned her. But, Star, being who she is, spent that first night back doing yoga and meditating to get her head in a good space. And now, she is daring the Facility once more.
Clad in yoga pants and her 'Stop Looking At My Eyes' t-shirt, her hair tied back in a ponytail, Star bounces into the parlor with a smile and a cheery, "Hello. Are you new here? If you need any help understanding what is going on, feel free to ask me." Having done it twice now, she's obviously an expert. "You can call me Star. Though I've also been Christine and Nikki. Which probably doesn't mean much to you at the moment."
The Martyr drops his burger and sets the plate aside, eyes wide, he rises. There is a subtle, unthinking grace to it, though not divine grace. He is still matinee idol handsome, but not inhumanly so any longer. Right now, hope and fear are both naked in his expression, but he smiles, "Nike? Star?" He says the first name exactly like Kemen used to, though his voice is not as deep. his accent is from the Pacific northwest instead of Egypt. "I know this sounds crazy, but I'm Dare who was Finn. And Kemen. Osiris." He blushes faintly, rather than Finn's bright red to the ears or Kemen's rich moss. "It turns out, I no longer think of you like a sister after all."
"Kemen?" Luckily, Star hadn't picked up any food yet to drop in surprise...and shock. "I mean Dare. You...you've changed your face. Again." Her eyes narrow a little before she quickly finds a reflective surface to ensure she still looks the same. All seems to be okay so she looks back to study the Martyr carefully. "Nice look." A little blush to her own cheeks before a little snort of amusement about the sister comment. "Well, you were Osiris. I think those guys //did// think of their sisters like that. But...yeah...that happened. Not a bad thing, don't get me wrong." Her brow furrows. "Umm...you have it all now, right. You know...//it//."
The Martyr takes two steps towards her, "I barely used this face. It was strictly for pretending to be mortal and not being noticed. I've no idea why I woke up like this, but I did. cheer woke up looking like Sekmet. It may be Wendy was sort of a forerunner." he gives her a half cocky, half shy smile, "You like it?" he blushes darker this time, "It's true. I will need some time to get used to my... romantic history when I was a god, but I think it is better than what some of the others must deal with." He looks down, really blushing now. "It was the first thing I checked. It's... not mine. Finn's, I mean, but it's...yes. I have one now."
"Well, technically, you had one before. It was just...truncated" Star offers with a nervous smile. "Hey...how about we talk about something other than your penis. Wait, did you say that Cheerleader now looks like someone else as well? What the heck is going on? And what happened with the Carnival? Did you...finish?" A roll of her eyes. "Now it sounds like we're talking about your penis again."
The Martyr nods, not looking up, "Technically, I have been truncated, but within... normal variation between adult men." He clears his throat. "Really it's fine and it's a relief." He looks wildly relieved at the subject change. "Cheer who was Kimberly was also Sekmet. She looks like Sekmet now. Leona." he shakes his head, "a bunch of us were having a picnic at Yellowstone, and then we were here, along with everyone else. either the Bomb went off early or something went really wrong and we all got pulled. Oh, who was boots and is now Arcade thinks we may have been doing to well at fighting back, but I'm not convinced."
"To be honest, I'm not even sure where I was. The last I clearly remember was being at a ballgame with Lorraine...Emily. I was explaining what I was going to do to survive." Her brow furrows as she tries to concentrate on the memories. "What happened after that..." A sigh as it doesn't come to her. "I guess I'll remember it at some point. Boots? But now Arcade? People are changing names and faces? Yes, I like your face." She rubs at the back of her neck. "Do we want to talk about the whole 'not a sister anymore' thing?"
The Martyr nods, "Would you like something to drink? I..." He tries to run a hand through a forelock h hasn't got anymore, then smiles sheepishly on finding the short, tight curls instead, "I think we should. Talk about it."
"I'll just get myself a juice. Please, sit back down." Star smiles before she gives him a quick hug and a kiss to the cheek. "It's cool, Dare. Nothing to worry about. I was warned about this. And it's this place too. The way it just chops and changes us for experimental purposes. It's pretty obvious we get reprogrammed in the 'stories'. I mean, we were both gay on the island. Right? It's what happens here that is the real us. Whatever the real us is."
The Martyr hugs her back, relieved. He is Kemen's height and of a similr build. He smells rather like Kemen when he was pretending to be human, down to taste in cologne and after shave, but the sent of soil and growing things is gone. He kisses he cheek brotherly, but his surreptitious watching of her as she walks away is not brotherly at all. Unless one is an Egyptian god, at least. "I think the relationships we chose ourselves both here or there matter. I know I... fell for you hard in my... weird Osiran way. I... I don't know how you feel or what you want." He does that Finnish gesture with the absent hair again, but drops his hand again frustrated.
"Of course you fell for me. You're only hu...well...you weren't human. Gosh, a god fell for me. Though I suppose I was a goddess." Star returns with a juice and sits down with Dare. "I fell for you too. Though that whole touching thing made it difficult. For a while there, I thought I was going to be as sexless as Christine." A laugh at herself. "Why do I end up being kinky prudes?" Star sips at her juice as she considers Dare's words. "I think I still love Emily, even though at the Carnival I didn't look at her in that way at all. What I felt for you there...it was real. Is it the same here? Well, it isn't the same as it was //before// the Carnival but you keep changing your face." A wink to show she is just teasing. "But you've had way more lovers than I. I'm not saying that in a bad way. You still care for all of them, right?"
The Martyr is remembering her singing, "You were definitely a Goddess." He cocks his head, "There are so many things I don't know about you. It's hard to figure out what to ask first." He nods, "Briar and I are still Briar and I here, though we were not like that a the Carnival. We... need to figure out where things are with other people, but we still fit. Cheer and I are together as well looks like. I care about who I cared about there. I... wish I could grow you a crown. I still feels like...." He looks away. "I am what I am, I think. God or man. I love and it's all different, but it's all one kind of love or another. I know you had trouble with that, with Emily."
"There are a lot of things that //I// don't know about me" Star smiles before nodding along to all the relationships that Martyr has going now. "Wow, you don't hold back, do you? How do you do it? How do you care about all these people...I assume equally." Her smile turns a little bashful. "The crown was nice. Made me feel special." Another sip of her juice. "The 'trouble' I had with Emily was that she didn't remember who I was at first, and then didn't really feel the same way about me. She didn't carry on from the Island like I did. I was still feeling the same way, as if it was the next day in our relationship. She didn't. Things are better now...I hope. She's probably still hiding in her room so I haven't seen her since the Carnival. Where was I going with all this?"
The Martyr blushes almost to his ears, "Fertility God." He takes a sip, "I think one of the things that makes me me whatever face I wear is Love, deep as the ocean, warm as the sun. It is almost like I am... a particular expression of it. You and I both have... drive. You want to win. Me? It is that love, many flavoured and too big to wrap my head around pushing me hard to give one way or another. To... dismember myself metaphorically. I do not think me being a dismembered god was an accident. Death and Life. Love and Sacrifice. how could I have been any other God? And you, how could you have been anything other than Nike crowned in glory. With a whole bunch of obstacles that for you were just challenges to over come."
He gazes at her dark eyes wide with wonder, "Oh Star, they grew for you and only for you, the melilot. You were special. Never doubt that. I may have been in a web of complications, but you were special and still are. I am... the Emily thing broke my heart to watch last time. I can never be all yours, but I do feel the same as I did the night you asked me touch you knowing how horrible it was going to be for you. Thee are so many promises I can't make you. I have no idea if I will be still me next week r if I'll have the same orientation next time. I do know that while I can remember you I will always love you one way or another in whatever flavour I am capable of loving you."
"We do seem to have many of the same traits when we are in the 'stories', though I only have two examples to base this on. You're right, I don't give up. I need to win. Though I like to think I do it without making everyone else lose...if you see the difference" Star frowns a little. "Are we nothing but traits to be jammed into an experiment? Do we even have personalities? I like to think we have choice here, but even then, we have pictures on our doors that signify what we are. Do the pictures match us, or were we made to match the picture?"
Star sighs and shakes her head at herself. "Sorry, going all philosophical again when you wanted to talk about emotions. The Emily thing broke my heart too." Her skin goes a little more pale at talk of her visions when they made love. She remembers that well enough. Though her smile is soon back as Dare makes his 'promises'. "You know, if we were anywhere else, that is not the greatest proclamation of love that a woman wants to hear. Or anyone wants to hear. But, I guess, it is always nice to be loved, in whatever form. Thank you."
The Martyr grins, "Oh I do. One of the things I really liked about you from the start was they way you tend to define as many people surviving as possible as winning. It might come from different motives, but our drives push us towards the same goal. You don't buy into the zero sum bullshit. You re fighting with everything you have for the whole team as it were." He steps closer, "We clearly have personalities. For all the things that change a few things that make us us remain. I asked Wendy, and she remembered a guy who had my room before me. He was taciturn and sort of shut down, but he was kind, and he gave his life for others. Not me, but... similar. A variation on a theme. A cousin, not a twin. I think that the... the most essential core traits. Caleb's tendency to hunker down. Misty... I forgot what her name is here, her wanderlust. Fizz's easy going nature and tendency to party. Your drive to win. My... love and sacrifice. That's why they chose us, and we vary within a range with that at our core and the other things that make us us they get translated in different ways, but we are still ourselves."
His smile has a tinge of self mockery in it, "I know it is not the most romantic of promises, but I can not lie to you about a future I likely can't imagine. In a million years I wouldn't have guessed I'd wake up a God one morning and when I was a God I rejected mortality emphatically. I can't promise you forever when there is always a chance I'll go out and not come back. I can only offer you things I know are ours: the relationships we chose for ourselves and the love that burns like a constant under my skin."
"I haven't even bothered to ask about who may have been in my room before me. I don't think it matters. Unless they found a way out. And the way out is in my room. Then I may be interested" Star smirks. She reaches out to take Dare's hand and give it an affectionate squeeze. "I am pretty sure I will always love you too. In whatever flavor that occurs. You are a kind person. A caring person. Intelligent. Interesting. Charismatic. Sexually attractive to half of the people in the Facility." She giggles at that last one. "I'm jealous. But I guess you want to know if what we did in the Carnival carries through to the Facility." A nervous suckle on her lower lip. "I don't know, Dare. I don't know if I can be one of those people, which I think is everyone //but// me, who can be //in// love with more than one person here. As the lives build up, I don't know if I can still stick to that, but, right now, in the Facility, there's only one person I love //that// way."
The Martyr squeezes back gently, then lips her hand to his lips, to gently brush his lps to her knuckles, "If that's the case, then I wish the both of you love and happiness here. If you want a friend, I will be that to you. We were friends first and I would very much like to still be your friend." His dark eyes sstudy hers. For all that has changed Finn, Kemen, or Dare, his eyes are pretty much the same. He's a lot older now on the inside, and his face, his height, his ethnicity have changed, but those are still his eyes.
"Of course we're friends." Star is shocked that Dare would even consider that would not be the case. "We are best friends." She offers him a warm smile. "Never say never. I know I'm not the only one in her life and I would //never// try to impose any restrictions on her. But I love her, and she loves me, and we'll see what happens. "There was a time when we treated each other like siblings, remember? We can do that again. Just not Egyptian or Greek ones" she winks.
The Martyr laughs, "Siblings again is fine. Really, the thing I want most is for you to be happy. I am honored to be your best friend and honorary non-Greek or Egyptian Brother. i admit, I was a little loathe to call you sister after having been Osiris, given the givens." He wrinkles his nose. "I was worried you might take it as me making a pass. I am... going to have to do a lot of processing over some of the things I thought and did when we were in the '30's, aren't I?" He watches her face, "Are you going to be okay? After the... special diet and the curse?"
"We're all going to have to do some processing. And, if you believe those who have been here a while, it's only going to get worse and worse. I am not ashamed of anything I did back then, it just needs to be unpacked and sorted. God, I sound like one of those guides to good business books I read." Star smirks. "You want to hear my new theory? You're going to anyway. All those stories we are in, treat them as roles in a movie. Consider us 'actors' that are very good at certain roles, thus we get rehired. Sometimes we will fall in love with our co-stars and carry it past the movie. But all the things we did...kill, love, die...just part of the role."
The Martyr nods, "I'm fine, I really am. Unpacked and sorted makes sense to me, business-speak or not. I'm really good though. Better, I think." He looks down and away, "It's like I have foundations of stone now. I had... sharper edges before and everything was very... intense. Now, my edges are worn smooth. I still feel strongly about things, but it's all less... urgent." He looks up again, "I think we're clones. I think the people we're copied from suited the roles whoever is in charge of all this were looking to fill, so they copied most of them, erasing key details, and they'll keep sending us out until we no longer fit for whatever reason. I think your 'actors' theory fits."
"Send in the clones, as they say in the classics" Star smiles before adopting a look of superiority. "Obviously I am the original" she sniffs, though it is definitely self-mocking. "Don't get rid of all those sharp edges, Dare. They're useful sometimes. Keeps everyone alert. Have you seen anything that suggests where we're going next? //If// we're going somewhere else. And what about some of the new people, have you seen them here? Zeus was new."
The Martyr grins, "Oh, you are definitely and original in the best sense, Star, and whoever we were we aren't them now. Our choices have changed us." He shakes his head, "I keep checking to see if the radio's replaced. I've not seen Zeus, but Bik's here and having a very strange time of it. He's not used to being flesh at all, but he's got walking down and has been experimenting with eating, now he's over the initial panic."
"Bik? Which one is Bik? Was that Oh? Wasn't he human before he became a giant snake? Have we lost anyone that you know of?" Star taps her fingernails om her glass. "Your former version. My former version, if there was one. Why did they disappear? You said 'when they were not needed anymore' but were you really //that// different from the last person in your room? I guess only Wendy knows that answer to that. Did she change form instead of being replaced? And Cheer is black now? Like Wendy. I wonder if that is an intentional change of the experiment parameters."
The Martyr says, “Bik was the little corn god in the wheelchair. Oh was actually here brifly before. he used to call himself Boots, but he's decided on Arcade for now. He's... not having an easy time either. He had less than a week as a human before becoming an abstraction in giant snake form. I worry about him. I'm not sure who's missing yet. Fizz, Briar, Cheer, Chance, and Caleb are fine I'm sure I'm missing someone." He nods, "I'm different. I think they needed a more... talky version for Beaver Lodge. I was there, talking to everyone, tying the threads together, getting information out. From what I understand, the one before be was not a talker. He'd have been good for missions, but he'd not have been able to do the things I ended up dong for you.... I'm not sure Max was Lantina and now is black. Cheer and I were white; she's now black, and I'm pretty sure I'm now Latino. Did anyone else change, do you know?"”
"Oh! Bik is the guy in the wheelchair. I remember him. He didn't need to walk, he just appeared wherever he needed to be. I have no idea who he was meant to be at the Carnival. Yeah, I can understand Oh's problem. It feels like it has been years since I kissed Emily. Hey, maybe she's gone off me in all that time" Star giggles nervously. "I'm still the same but I haven't seen anyone else yet. Was doing yoga and meditating for a day. But...I'll go and see Emily soon. Take her some breakfast or something. In the carnival, I think she did some horrible things that will be weighing on her mind. Maybe she's changed too? Though the ones you've mentioned, were different at the Carnival too. This form you have now, did you choose it? I mean, you can't be a clone of the same person since I've now seen you with three different faces."
The Martyr says, “He was sort of an English mangling of a Japanese spirit of some sort. He was basically a scarecrow glamoured to pass for human. I rather liked him." he shakes his head, "How could anyone go off you once they know you? Still I will wish you luck, even though your own personal qualities are the best argument for success." He shakes his head, "It was a surprise to me that I woke up this way. I barely wore this face there. I think I am better looking than when I was Finn, but if I was going to change, I'd have expected to wake up looking like Kemen. I have a... speculation though." he takes a deep breath, marshaling his thoughts, "When Max became Wendy it was because she... needed to not be Max anymore. She was still her, but there was a pretty fundamental change. Bigger than from a single trip out there, say. What if... this is like that, only not for my mental health, but because the ones in charge needed... a bigger change for next time? I can't tell how different I am from inside. I can tell that I'm different, but how much is integrating Osiris and how much is... being in a very different body?"”
"A Japanese spirit? Hmm...okay. Good to see we're getting more multi-cultural in here. I didn't really talk with him much" Star shrugs. "You're definitely the social butterfly here" she adds with a loving tease. "I'm sure Emily and I will be fine. If not, we move on. If so, we have years to make up. We might be in our rooms for another few days. Though we always end up back in our own rooms in the morning no matter where we fall asleep." Her brow furrows. "I hope our hosts don't knock us out right in the middle of something fun. Do you ever wonder how long we're out for? We //assume// we're waking up the next day, but with all the repairs that they sometimes have to do, who is to say that we're not waking up six weeks later?" She nods about Wendy. "Yeah, she needed to change. I think Emily is getting close to that too. Hopefully I can draw her back. I mean...it won't matter what she looks like if the same person is in there, but...damn she is hot. I don't think I integrate who I am. I've decided, like I mentioned, they are roles, and I will treat them like any other actor. They may hang around a bit, and I will always remember them, but they are not me and they can be cast off."
The Martyr nods, "I am. I really do think that's why I'm here. I like talking to people. I really do think they needed Love and Sacrifice only with more social butterfly." He sighs, "I think that's how I can tell that the facility isn't paradise. If it were, we'd wake up in our lover's arms instead of alone." He thinks that over, "We can't really tell anything about time here. A day could be longer or shorter. We could sleep any length of time, or there could be more than one copy of this place and they just shift us to a clean one and fix the one we left while we're awake there. The technology is further advanced than Star Trek if you just take the food dispenser into account. who knows what else they can do." He nods, clearly worried, "I hope you can draw her back too. She... worried me last time."
"If you woke up in your lover's arms, they'd need a bigger room to fit you all in" Star winks. "There'd be arms all over the place. I never thought this was Paradise...other than the company. The technology is astounding...Star Trek? Dare, you never told me you were such a nerd. But, hey, maybe there's not technology at all? Maybe this is all a mass delusion? Or...even more worrying...only one of us is actually real, and they're dreaming everything. We could all be aspects of one person." Star does not like this idea so time to move on. "She worries me too. I will always try to make her happy. And I should start now and take her some breakfast. We're okay, Dare?"
The Martyr has the decency to blush delicately, "I meant the lover I went to bed with. I love the people here, even if out there gets ugly and i like that we can have adventures in the anywhere room we'd never have time and money for out in the real. It's not perfect here, but I'd not want to lose the people.' he laughs, "Of course I was a nerd. You saw me when I was Finn. I wasn't quite Spock ears nerdy, but close enough." He shakes his head, "I refuse to succumb to solipsism. It never leads to anything good." He offers her a hug, "I think we're good."