Log:More than Emily

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More than Emily
Characters  •   The Penitent  •  The Competitor  •
Location  •  Competitor's Room
Date  •  2019-03-03
Summary  •  Penitent visits Competitor to clear the air a little.

Another day, another awakening, everyone once again as it was. The Penitent doesn't really follow any kind of ritual or routine. Hunger is not exactly something one experiences long term in the Facility. Everything resets when one wakes up again. When she eats or drinks, it's really for other reasons than to sustain herself. This time, she's spent a little time in her own room before deciding to head out once again. She's wandering down the hallway when she comes to that door she saw the Competitor vanish into recently. Glancing up and down the hallway before studying that image on the door, it's a long few moments of debate before the soft knocking comes.


"Come in" responds a familiar voice. The Competitor is pretty sure she is in no danger here. The danger is in the 'stories' or whatever it is that is going on. She is currently affixing the Eager Beaver Lodge Staff Star Chart to the wall of her room. It feels real against her fingers. More real than any of the memories of that time. Yet also proof that it /did/ happen? She is dressed in leg-warmers, shorts, and a huge t-shirt (you can take the girl out of the 80s, but you can't take the 80s out of the girl).


With the invitation, the door opens and Penny steps in. Once again in a simple singlet top and slacks combo without shoes, maroon and grey today, she tilts her head slightly as she looks around the room quietly. "Hello," she says in that simple, almost innocent voice of hers as she closes the door behind her, studying the room at length. "What's that you're working with there?" She wonders after a moment as she moves over to check on the star chart that Competitor is working with.


"Hey" Competitor replies. She can't help but smile at seeing 'Emily', even after their previous meeting. Though it is a smile that goes away as she remembers their previous meeting. "It's the staff star chart from the Eager Beaver. It was something I started to try and get them to compete with each other. It ended up being a way to maintain morale and keep them alive." She considers the chart for a moment, a little frown on her face. "Does it even matter now?"


The smile is a guileless thing that echoes back from Penny as she considers the chart proper, nodding. "Oh, that's what you got to keep? This chart? Interesting." A slow nod of her head. "We always get to keep something. I have Emily's sunglasses ... her last real remaining symbol of wealth and all." There's a quiet moment before she reasons out, "It matters. It has to matter. Does it matter to you? I guess that's the only real, important question. But these are the questions that everyone is asking." A pause. "How're you taking this all in, really?"


"I don't know what matters anymore" Competitor answers honestly before moving to stand back on the floor and study Penitent, arms crossed over her chest. "I went to bed one night with a woman who loved me and I woke up to find that she had no feelings for me anymore. Not only that, she seemed to despise the person she was, and, by association, the life we had. I get this is your fourth go around. I get that Emily is just another skin for you to shed. But that life is all I can remember. All that I believe I am for now. So, yeah, feeling it was all a bit pointless at the moment." A quick movement of a hand against eyes to hide any tears before they fall. "I guess I'm just trying to understand. Finn and Danny are together here. Bastian and Max. We're not. How can that not reflect on me?"


Penny's gaze follows Competitor across the room, inclining her head a little. She listens quietly, considering the words spoken, and can't help but just look a little sad at the whole thing. "They've all been here for longer and had something of a chance to figure themselves out, Christine, given they died while at the lodge. While we were still figuring out the final steps they were already here adjusting." She says softly, nodding slowly. "And are a perfect example of how things change. I'm sorry. Why do you say I have no feelings for you at all? I didn't even realise you would be here, with us all. It caught me by surprise, and I hadn't spoken to Max here in ages." She lowers her gaze, and half turns rather than look at Christine.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to -- I don't know. I don't know how to fit this all in. In another life, I was married. To the man you know as Joshua Grey. He was Cillian McTavish, and he was everything to me. And yet, even before that? He was Conrad Wellson, my brother. That's confusing enough. Things can change around here very quickly. And ... no one else has ever seemed to want to really pursue any kind of continuing relationship on that level with me. Before him, there was a girl named Thorne. Or Maata ... but she's gone now, and that's a whole different story. And then there's Roxie as well. And yes, Emily isn't the person I look back at the most fondly, I never meant to ... have you think I didn't care about you."


Competitor listens in turn and things are not getting any better. "You were married to Joshua? Elaine's lover? And he was your brother. And you've been with Roxie?" A little snort of amusement at the convoluted life she may get to look forward to. It sounds like it is just as hard for Penitent. Competitor sighs softly...wearily. "I love Emily...loved...since she doesn't exist anymore. If there is still part of Emily in you then I still love that part. If there isn't...I would still like to get to know the real you?" Another snort, this time with more humour. "Something I said to Emily a lot."

A deep breath before Competitor relaxes a little. "It was a shock...I don't even know what to call you now. I can't call you Emily...there's too much misplaced emotion there. As I said, one night we were in love, the next we weren't. I just need to get used to this reality." She walks over to the other woman, making sure to stand in front of her, taking her hands lightly if allowed. "I can't just throw away these feelings I have but I know they are attached to another you. But you still look the same..." A soft smile. "You look even better if I'm honest."


"Well, that was in Prosperity. Joshua was Cillian McTavish and I was Anette Hargreave, leader of the Black Widow Gang." There's a soft little smile on Penitent's face, and she considers, nodding a little. "He was my brother in another life. Just as Laine was Eilis, his cousin, back in Prosperity. These things blur together, and for all you know Christine next time we wake up with a new life we'll hate each other, or we'll be sisters, or something. And you'll have a new name and a new life, and might not even care about me anymore. I'm not used to people ... wanting to continue such things after the main story has passed. No one has ever seemed to want to before ..." she glances aside then, her hands taken up easily.

"Did we though? I don't quite remember whatever happened after our final moments at the lodge. If I think about it I can recall it, but it doesn't feel like I lived through it. I know what happened, like I've read my own epilogue, but I don't feel like I lived it. And I've never chosen a name for myself here. Madison, Kylie, Anette or 'Nettie', Emily. Those are the people I've been. I'll answer to whatever you like." There's a little smile. "Emily is a part of me. And I've got a lot more experience to draw on than she did. After being a woman so strong, like Anette, become the scared college girl who was too afraid to even be herself? You can see why I think it's a bit of a downgrade. But I never meant to hurt you. And I will always, always be sorry. That's basically all I'm really good at."


"No. You are good at so much more than being sorry" Competitor assures Penitent, squeezing her hands gently. "You were the best ghostbuster who ever lived for a start" she grins before a solemn nod. "You're right" she has to admit. "What happened after the Lodge. I am /sure/ it happened, but it is strange to remember. Does that happen all the time?" Sisters? That could make things interesting. "Do we have no choice at all in who we become?"

A nervous swallow as Competitor adjusts to being back at square one. "There is someone now who would like to continue things but, you know me, no pressure. We can start again. See if we like who we are here. No guarantees. No expectations. The leader of outlaws in the Old West? I hope I get to be something so cool. How long do we have before the next...story?"


"Well, yes, I am good at other things. But you heard what my door symbol is. And my room?" Penitent gestures, "It's basically a prison cell. It's a comfortable cell, but it's a cell all the same. I'm guilty. I don't know of what, but it's always there. But I'm comfortable here, in this place. Also, when I first wake up here, for about half an hour or so, I remember nothing. It's brand new all over again. So I didn't have any moment of 'one night I went to sleep with someone, and the next I woke up here'. I woke up a blank slate, and the memories came back slowly." The squeeze at her hands is returned, and she nods a little.

"No choice that I've been able to figure out. Though I have noticed we're dealing with the past a lot, in these scenarios. I mean to mention that to the others that have done as many runs as I have." There's a small nod. "Well, you'll find I'm not unconfidant about things like Emily could be, really. And I have no concerns about what people think of me, about who I'm sleeping with and what I'm doing with myself. When I was Kylie? She was so gay with no interest at all in men. Then I was Anette who was so straight she could be a ruler. So you don't need to worry about having to 'get through' to me again, or whatever." There's a grin at how cool she may have been, and a little shrug. "I don't know how long. Time's a bit weird in here. No matter where you go to sleep, you'll always wake up here in your room. And we all fall asleep around the same time, too."


"We're gassed?" is Competitor's reaction to the falling asleep at the same time. As well as a look up at the ceiling as if expecting to find smoke pouring out of a vent. But it's much nicer to look at Penitent so she soon resumes that. "Sounds like you've tried a lot of things in your time" she smiles. "I guess, with the memories I have, I'm bisexual. Not that I slept with a guy at the Lodge. I just have those strange memories of doing so beforehand. Sleeping with you.../much/ more vivid.

"I heard about the door...but I didn't hear you lived in a cell. Do you have any idea what it means for each of us? You could say it was our...personality? But is it always the same in each 'story'. I couldn't see Emily as an outlaw leader" Competitor notes. "I'm glad I don't have to convince you about girls again" she blushes. "Though I guess I have to do the harder thing; convince you about me."


"No, we just fall asleep. No matter how much you try to stay awake." Penny explains a little further. "There's no vents. This place doesn't make sense, at all, don't try to look for a logcial explanation to why things happen. Or do, I suppose. Sometimes you just need to come to the same conclusions we did, but on your own terms. I can tell you a lot of things but you probably still need to see it for yourself, you know?" There's a brief little smile and Pentient shrugs her shoulders just slightly.

"Well, people don't come into my room very often. Cillian is the only person who ever has, actually. But yes, it seems to be revealing something about us. Some of us have been pondering ways to get out of this place and back to ... whatever normal life might be available to us. But I think there's recurring themes throughout each story. I've always felt a certain kind of guilt and sorrow about something. Things I've done or who I am." She tilts her head slightly though, and laughs a little. "I don't know that you really need to convince me about you. But I have other people as well, that's all. But you'll have to meet the other people I've been, as well."


"So this place is like some polyamorous knocking shop between lives of horror? I'm sure I can share you if that is what you need" Competitor shrugs. "Lucky I'm not the competitive type. Invite me to your room any time. Just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you? Just put your lips together, and blow." She looks confused for a moment. "Not sure where that came from. I was talking with Finn...Dare...last night before you showed up. Some of the words I was using. I'm not even sure I'm American now. I don't have an accent, do I?" She doesn't.

Another glance at the world around them. "This is just another place to beat, that's all. I might look for a way out, might not. But I will probably need to find the answer and if you want to be my guide, I couldn't think of a better person." Competitor smiles warmly before leaning in to try for a kiss. She has missed those lips, even if they belong now to someone else.


"Not exactly," Penitent begins to reply, though whatever she might have decided to say gets completely cut off with that instructional how-to on whistling. Her brows arch up a little and she inclines her head slightly, looking just as confused. "No, no accent. Some people around here do, though. And then don't when we see them as someone else. When I'm feeling closer to Anette I tend to slip into that old western drawl a little, so these things happen, I guess."

A pause and she shrugs. "If it can be beaten. It could be that's your reason though, the need to win against it, even if it's impossible. Some people think this is hell, or purgatory. I think it's a prison, but it's coloured by my own way of thinking and doesn't work for everyone." The kiss is accepted easily, confidantly. It's both like and unlike kissing Emily. Penitent knows what she's about, a hand lifting up to cup at Competitor's cheek.


With the kiss so readily accepted, there is another, and another. Each a little more passionate. Competitor's arms moving to wrap around Penitent to hold her close. Lips parting. Tongues playing. It is the same yet different. Better? That last though causing Competitor to blush and pull away slightly to study the face of 'Emily', fingers rising to brush through her hair. "I look forward to meeting these other you, but I kinda like the one here too. "If it's a prison, I could think of worse places to be in." A wry smile. "You know me, always have to win." She quickly adds, "With the help of others. Umm...was there someone in this room before me?"


There's a soft little laugh from Penitent, and a shrug of her shoulders after a moment. "No one that I knew, so I'm not honestly sure. Maybe there was someone here first. People disappear sometimes, new people show up. We're not sure why. I like to think they got out, and are living their lives out there somewhere. I'm not naive, but I do prefer the happier thoughts on what happened to them." There's a small smile again, tilting her head to the touch in her hair. "I want to get out, though. I can't keep doing this. There's four different lives in my head now. I don't know that I can take much more, truth be told."


"I bet it can be pretty confusing" Competitor frowns. "But you're not alone. There are others who have been here as long, yes? Max? And I may not be able to empathize, but I can sympathize. I'm pretty good at snuggles. And I'm also here for you if you need someone to talk to." The stroking of hair is gentle, loving. Her words sincere and warm. "That's a nice way to think about it. I wonder if we're just as much ghosts as the ones at the Lodge. We need to move on in the same way."


"I'll say," Penitent agrees on the confusion. "There are. Max, and Joshua. Ethan." A pause. "He's been Ethan twice now. I'm gonna need to talk to him about that. That's a first." She licks her lips momentarily, just sort of leaning herself against Competitor comfortably as those touches continue. "But yeah, there's lots of conflicting emotions too. Emily didn't like Ethan Drake much, but in another life he was Max's lover, and Cillian's cousin, and Max was Lupe, my sister, and ... see what I mean? Max has also been a robot on top of all that -- a literal sex bot. I never fucked her, but I thought about it. This rabbit hole just keeps on going. I dunno about ghosts, but I guess it's a good a theory as any."


"Yeah...I see what you mean" Competitor's eyes wide open at the incestuous goings on. "Sex robot? Like in 'Cherry 2000'? Wow. So you've been in the Old West and when there are robots?" She looks down at her leg warmers. "I think I am going to have a lot to get used to." A pause. "Always wanted to see Ancient Greece. If any of it is real or just an experiment. But...this also reminds me of conversations with Emily. We can hypothosize all day but evidence would be better. Dare told me that Lyle is completely different here. Older. I've noticed my hair color changed but nothing so drastic as decades added." A pause. "I guess I should be thankful for that. And, like I said, you look great. Confidence agrees with you."


"Yeah. It was 2149, we were on Tenochtitlan Station, though everyone just called it 'The Noc'. It was a space station developed by Penumbra to mine a gas giant after Seegson's own Sevastopol station had suffered an accident some years before and fell into said gas giant. Penumbra also turned it into a tourist trap right there in the Zeta Reticuli sector. We were hunted by alien creatures from that movie. Alien, and Aliens, Christine knew about them I'm sure? Similar to that, but slightly different, though the Company was involved. Fuckin' Weyland Yutani. Anyway yeah, Ramona -- Max -- was a synth. So were a few others. I was a technician who worked the docks, bringing mining ships in to dock and overseeing operations to get their cargo unloaded for refining. I liked being Kylie, somewhat. She had issues too, though." There's a self depricating smile there.

"Well, this place doesn't give us a whole lot of evidence. People like to theorize, I find it frustrating because there's no way to confirm anything. Some people are somewhat different, I suppose. But yeah, some are older or younger versions of 'themselves'. And I wasn't all that confident to begin with. You can thank Anette Hargreave for that. She was ... an intense person to be. But still, some day, you should meet that sort of part of me."


Competitor's eyes narrow on hearing about the Alien story. She does indeed known those movies...and that they were movies. Works of fiction. "I think that blows Dare's idea of being time travelers out of the water. It sounds like you became part of a fictional story using fictional companies. How could that be real in an objective sense? Subjectively, sure. We feel what we feel." She is in danger of theorizing a whole lot of stuff right now but decides to put that off. Holding Penitent and stroking her hair, and occasionally kissing her, is much more enjoyable. "I want to meet all of you" she nods. "I wish I had more to show you."


"There's nothing more real about any life we've been in than any other." Penitent counters with a shrug of her shoulders. "Just because in one life the setting of another was a work of fiction doesn't mean anything. Whatever this place is, whoever runs it, it seems they can create any existence they want. It's all fictional, Christine. And yet we lived it, so it happened. Why is what happened at the lodge any less fictional? Maybe 'One Summer at the Eager Beaver' will be a book we read next time, too." She shrugs her shoulders, and gives a small smile. "You probably have more to show me than you realise. You just need to learn about yourself now too, because there'll be more to you than just Christine Lake. But I'll take you through one of our Anywhere doors and you can see some other places I've been, and who I've been."


"The book we wrote. You remember it?" Competitor has to smile at that. "We were about to make millions from the movie" she laughs, "And I was pretty sure I was going to be President one day. I've seen lots of books around but are there video tapes? Movies?" She moves to sit down on the bed, bringing Penitent with her, still holding her - even sitting her on her lap if allowed. "Max and you mentioned yesterday that the doors had changed. That there were people there now. Max said she saw her mother. What would happen if I went through there to where we were before I woke up here. Would Emily be there if /you/ weren't?"


Casting about in her mind, Penitent considers for a long few moments before nodding slowly. "One of my lives existed in 2018. I don't remember a president Christine Lake, but that could have been a seperate existence." She grins a little, and then shrugs. "No, nothing like that, that I've seen. Unless someone has them in their room, specifically." She'll be led to the bed, and even claim that lap all by herself, wrapping an arm around Competitor. "I doubt it would stop you from showing up." Penny says with an incline of her head. "But I guess you wouldn't be any particular person. We were able to go into them before and just be anywhere, but they were completely empty, and we were just ourselves. Though naturally, when I was in a particular environment I tended to ... channel, that particular person that belonged there more than anyone else. Come on, we should go try maybe? If you're ready for such a thing."


"That's the thing. Are all these stories one timeline? In 2018, did you ever hear of a Beaver Lake massacre? Thirty dead wouldn't be forgotten easily. And it was also almost that thirtieth anniversary again." Competitor frowns at the idea that it could all happen again before she smiles to Penitent in her arms. "Somewhere there is a President Lake...and a First Lady Reed. I don't think I ever told you one of the 'jokes' the staff were saying at the Lodge. 'What do you often find inside a lake?' 'A reed'. Get it? Didn't say it was a good joke." Another slow kiss for Penitent before Competitor nods. "Let's go see what is out there. Together."


"You got it all figured out, huh?" Penitent says with a laugh, and another quick kiss. "Who knows. I don't recall anything about it, but I was Madison Wellson. Why would she care about a massacre that happened before she was born?" There's a blink, and a deep kind of laugh again at that joke. "Were they really saying that? Oh my. Emily would have been utterly mortified at the thought of it. That's kind of hilarious though." She shifts then, returning that kiss and then getting up to her feet. "Yeah, come on then."