Log:Home Fries and Hypnosis
The first thing the man who was Nolan McTavish did upon waking up back in the Facility was breathe deeply for several minutes. He could still remember the painful rattle and shallow depth of his diseased lungs in Prosperity. Then he got up and took a very long shower, to get the memory of all the grit and grime of the Old West off him, even if only there spectrally. Then he went to see Bella. Ramona. Or whoever she is in here. He spent a few days of scribbling furiously on the chalkboard in his room, but tonight he's in the dining room, in dark blue button down with rolled up sleeves, and jeans. He looks to be in his early 30s, cleanshaven, and healthy. In front of him are eggs benedict with home fries, bacon, toast, orange juice, and coffee because breakfast for dinner is his small defiance of this place.
Over those few days between waking, and venturing out into the public spaces, Bravo has been doing what she does, reading, drinking coffee, smoking, and generally standing around like she's expecting God himself at any moment to offer up some change and entertainment. Which leads her out to the dining room tonight, dressed in a blue tank top, and cotton pajama bottoms with stars and moons on them, as well as obnoxious bunny slippers. At first she doesn't pay the man with his breakfast any attention as she moves through to the dispensary. When she returns she's got a cup of coffee in one hand, and a bowl of cereal in the other, both of which she carries right over to where the man formerly known as Nolan is sitting, setting both items down before she sits as well, "Wonderful weather we're having, don't you think?"
The Pedagogue looks up over the rim of his coffee mug and blinks at the woman. "You're new." Obvious statement is obvious. "How long have you been here in," he gestures with one hand in general, "wherever this is. Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Alien spaceship. Whatever." Pale eyes study her curiously, new people are both suspicious and pitied in equal measure.
"I am, so are you." To her, at least. She takes a sip from her coffee before she sets it to the side, leaning her elbows on the table as she examines the food spread out in front of him, "I'm not even sure how long I've been in here, if you want the truth. Not long...and I've no frightening stories of death and chaos to share. Were you the one that stabbed someone, or got stabbed?" She wonders curiously, reaching out to try and steal one of his fries. "I've not seen any aliens, either, just so you know."
"Nah, this is my third time," Pedagogue explains. "Some of us have been here for a while but get pulled out, I think, or something, for.." He grimaces. "Has anyone explained things to you? My middle brother, er brother last time, er, well he should have arrived before me but I haven't seen him." He grunts a bit at the stabbing question. "Neither. I was sick there, in this place called Prosperity, in the old west. I had Tuberculosis, but I died from wounds suffered banishing demons back to Hell." He wrinkles his nose a bit, then stabs a fork into his eggs and hollandaise. "I think I died a hero but who knows. I seem to die like that a lot."
"I've run into two others here, both male, one new like me...we've established that, and one talking about chaos and death, and someone being stabbed. Here." Bravo points towards the floor, indicating in the facility and not out there. "So you've died three times?" She is taking a stab at that since he mentioned this was his third time. In addition, she seems to be going to continue stealing his fries since he didn't stop her. "I've heard a little bit, and I think it's all crazy, and mass hypnosis, nothing more. No such thing as demons, or aliens, or...anything other than psychopaths probably."
Why not share food? He can have as much as his heart desires with a walk over to that replicator thing. Not-Nolan ohs and shakes his head about the stabbing. "Not me, that was my, um, friend? I don't know what to call her. In Prosperity we were really close. Died together. We died together all three times." He frowns at that and dips his toast into the egg yolk and hollandaise. "Might be mad scientists sure. Or it could be Purgatory, like those people on the island in Lost." He shrugs. "Either way, we're stuck. We've tried everything to get out. No dice."
"Not everything." Bravo shakes her head, "If you tried everything, you'd be out. You just haven't tried the right thing." She's going to stick with that, at this point, because the alternative is too sad to think about. "You might need new friends if you keep dying with the same ones. Seems questionable."
"Oh we barely knew each other on the Island. The first time we died together. It's been crazy." He's awfully calm for all this. Almost jaded. The last "life" took something out of him, it seems. "I mean the first thing I remember was the island with the festival and then the skeletons and stuff. And I was in my 50s there. Woke up here looking like this and bout pissed myself." He eats some of his food. "I've been trying to work some things out about how we know such different things in different scenarios. I don't know if we're being programmed, or if we ARE a program. AI, are we sentient programs?"
"Hypnosis." Bravo repeats, taking another fry, but this time she wags it at him, "It's all a delusion, so even if the person that programmed us, through hypnosis, didn't really know what skills we need...what does it matter? Because you can just program us all to accept that you did what you said you did, right? They are already programming us to accept a trigger that mimics death, right?"
"Not sure that would work. Hypnosis can help you remember or forget things, can trigger you to actions, but it can't make you actually GOOD at them if you didn't have prior knowledge and experience with them. So whatever is happening to us is either technology beyond what we think we knew, or something supernatural." Pedagogue shrugs and gnaws on some crispy bacon, just the way he (thinks he) likes it.
"Except you're not dying, so maybe you're just remembering that someone is good at something, same as you're remembering you died." Bravo counters, shaking her head before she turns her attention towards her cereal, "But what do I know? You've been here and dead three times."
"It's different though. I remember sensations attached to those memories of being in those places. The memories of lives before are more like snapshots. Photos that tell me something or other happened, but I can't physically remember them. Not the smells or the tastes or the sounds. Does that make sense? Like reading a book rather than living an experience." Peda drains his juice glass. "I've a feeling you'll be learning soon enough. We're never in here all that long before it starts again."
"Oh, sure...because it's shared delusions." Which makes no actual sense, but she's going to stick to this theory for as long as she possibly can. "I'm not sure how I feel about your prophecy of doom, though. If everything I've heard is right, it'll be a miserable hellish experience."
"It is. But there's some beauty in it, in moments," Peda murmurs quietly, thoughtfully, looking far away for a second. "I think you learn a lot about yourself. In as much as I have know idea who I actually am. But my choices, my decisions in these...scenarios for lack of a better word...feel like they're mine." He's almost zen at this point. Or exhausted. Take your pick.
"Except if you're programmed, they aren't your choices." Bravo points out in the most unhelpful of ways, leaning back from him with a frown, "Look, I can't deny that you and the other one experienced something, your stories match up in a way. But I still can't just...trust it's not some crazed delusion, which means that I don't agree they were your choices. Unless you're both lying as part of this experiment."
"Just wait. When you wake up here next time with another person's lifetime in your head, you'll think differently," the man declares, before he rises up, leaving his dishes on the table, and heads for the hallway with the rooms. He gives her a small wave of farewell, before he steps into one assumed to be his.