Log:Stars and Protocol
The Capitalist had plans in motion, like he usual, so as he approaches one of those two mystery doors, his mind is filled with other places that he could visit, namely the storyline where Wyred Fest took place. Prosperity, was a deep cut for him and he's been avoiding it as much as he could. His thoughts do go back to the 80's to a place beyond the Eager Beaver, but he's not sure that he's ready for that discussion just yet.
So instead, his mind is set on the Tenochtitlan Station and all the splendor that space has to offer. It's only by chance that he runs into the Bravo right before he enters the portal, informing her of his intentions, which really isn't anything much, but to reminisce about this place where one could have fond memories of if not for the looming death of acid spitting, fanged and clawed monstrosities.
Once he enters, he's transformed back into Rhys Driscoll and this isn't the business suave Driscoll, not dressed in his suits and whatnot, as if he were on a meeting. No, this was the security contractor Driscoll, wearing his uniform for ANVIL Security, his own company. While he owned it, he went on missions alongside his people. The long sleeved black shirt is made of a impact soaking thin fabric, utility pouches on its sleeves. He always wears military grade pants, combat boots and looks to be packing with a shotgun strapped to his back and two sidearms holstered, one at his side, on a harness, the other at his belt. He's not certain whether the Bravo has been here before, but he does gesture at the highly populated tourist mecha that's in full swing right now. Must be the right scene, "Welcome to the Noc."
Does she want to go to the space station again? Of course! Bravo only got the empty hallway version of the place the last time, and entering it while it is filled with people is an entirely new experience. "Holy shit."
Eloquence, it is not. But what is fancy is the dress that Bravo gets lucky enough to turn up in, something short, slinky, and entirely of this far more space-age glitzy place than anything she's worn before. It fits. Everything about her here fits here, and no where else. There is a shake of her head, letting her eyes scan the bustling crowds before she takes a breath, letting it out, "Just...so much life."
The Caregiver arrives a bit behind with the Competitor, as she'd briefly seen the Capitalist approaching the door and making that loose gesture through into the dining room her way with either greeting or optional invitation at whatever point when she's done with meal. The nature of conversation between herself and the other brunette, though, has her welcoming the distraction of stepping through a door again.
With the way things are different in a conditional sense inside some of these places or lifetimes now, she's curious and... well, concerned, if she's being honest with herself. She knows Capitalist and the Bravo aren't likely to be going anywhere that changes her own appearance too much or her demeanor, but given he has more lives... it could be very well be a place where the man has to deal with the reverting changes in him at some point after, and she feels the need to understand it, to be ready for it, just in case. That and if there was a chance of her seeing the stars, or the casino again...
Turns out, it's her lucky day. Abruptly, once inside, on trek down the stairs for the casino floor, she grins at who she knows as Christine and all that angst quietly on her before is simply gone, replaced by exciteable sunshine, "... oh my god, we're in a place with buttons to press again, this is ridiculously exciting for me, I never got to go to Vegas in the eighties. The first time I was shown this place, there were no people and I didn't have uh. Credits or -whatever- to know how to make the machines work.
She must really like pushing bright shiny buttons, or at least the idea of it, because the turn of the century woman inside her is still fascinated by the prospect the way her eyes are dancing. The strapless peach dress that flows to crumpled crinoline flare from the bust to thigh turns into something more clinging and futuristic for the floor, designer chic instead of designer elegance to suit the scene.
It only takes a look at the Capitalist once she's down the stairs to know he's someone else, but it doesn't stop her from stepping up to start trying to rifle his pocket with a little lopsided, almost shy grin for Bravo given how she was -last- seen by the blonde, "Gimme money, I'm doing it this time, I'm pushing so many buttons."
Competitor has been in the Noc before, with Kylie, and she got to learn about the centuries of advances in the creation of 'personal shared novelty items'. So she has no qualms about being here again. Like last time, she seems to adapt the role of middle management - is it an eternal curse for her or just Christine lingering? She is dressed in a stylish business suit that also leaves little to the imagination. And she looks quite impressed with Caregiver's new look too. "You would look incredible in a hessian sack, Laine, that outfit is just rubbing it in" she grins.
A wave for Bravo...looking damn good herself...and Capitalist, looking like a...soldier? That's not very dapper. Or casino like. "It's nice to see electronics again" she nods to Caregiver. "You think they have VCRs in here? Oh...this is back." Competitor holds up her right hand to show off some device on her wrist that is a computer, a communicator, and who knows what else? "Credits? Like a credit card? I wasn't allowed one by my father."
At the moment, he still retains that core part that is the Capitalist within him, even if he sees the world through Driscoll's eyes. He practically basks in the sounds around him, the flashing light from the multitudes of different games to be played, and of course, being surrounded by a good looking group of tourists, many of them wealthy, who have come to visit this tourist and entertainment mecca. Immediately, he turns in the direction of the brothel, the Total Eclipse, to note several of his people in full security uniform standing at their post. One of them, the person in charge, gives a nod his way, telling him that it's been quiet so far -- Well, quiet isn't the right word, but uneventful.
In fact, a voice comes over the comms strapped to his chest. "The Cargo Bay is quiet. Permission to let Silva go on break?" It was his right hand, Hunt. And Silva was Maria Silva. It's all coming back to him. Speaking into the radio, an automatic action now, his chin lowered, "Permission granted." Thinking further on this now, there's this annoyed crease at his brow, "If we're here doing cargo work, that means..." There's this annoyed look on his face, this forced smile on his lips as he shakes his head, "That we docked late, because we should've been gone long before the tourist started trickling in."
It's only after his communications with Hunt that he notices that they've been joined by other familiar faces. He's spent some time with the Caregiver since waking up in the Facility, but the Competitor is one who he'd not seen yet, but had heard about. "Lake." He murmur, before he flashes a smile at the Caregiver at her excited antics. "Who knows, you might have some credits on you somewhere. You're all fully dressed, it would be sad if our benevolent overseers left you lacking the funds to thoroughly enjoy yourselves." His eyes look the place over once more, when he adds in a low mutter, "Not that they granted us much to work with the first time we checked in here." When the place was still empty. "You pay for a lot of things using one of various devices that you may have on you. Otherwise, credits can come in the form of an electronic 'stick' and there's also cash of sorts. But go ahead and knock yourselves out and if you still need funds." He reaches for the tablet attached to his belt, opposite his sidearm, "I can transfer some to you."
"Nice to see you out and around again." Bravo offers to Caregiver before she glances towards Competitor, offering her a smile as well before she turns most of her attention back to the crowd. Until things start talking to Capitalist, and she glances at him with a furrow of her brow, "C?" It's a single letter with a million questions that have been attached to it, all unspoken.
Then he goes on to describe the cash situation, or at least the money situation. Credits? She nods very slowly before she starts to search herself, looking for one of these mysterious devices, or a stick, something that screams 'I am a source of income'. "What do these things look like, exactly?"
"Money, yes." The Caregiver is pretty not-very-articulate with agreement on what she wants while excitable, nodding her head a few times to all that, at least knowing the part that matters when it comes to these machines. There's no pockets in her dress, so she's worried, suddenly and irrationally that she's missing out in the name of wearing a dress in, a glance stolen down at herself with rub of hands at her hips to needlessly check. And she's never seen a tablet, so she's not sure what that has to do with money, but the Capitalist is making assurances, then she's looking over at the Competitor to eyeball the working-level bracelet at the wrist when it's mentioned.
After a look at Bravo once she's posed the question non-specifically to the man in a certain tone, her attention does stray away from the very concept of 'buttons' and 'excite' to gauge over the Capitalist in work mode. But the brief and accidental trip into Conrad space with him, it has her expecting something of the like this time, so it doesn't really bother her outwardly.
Then with all the wisdom of the frontier and the eighties, she supposes to the Competitor's question on VCRs, "I bet there's like... CDs or something because we're in the future. Where did you get..." Then she makes a little 'oh!' as she starts to point at the other female's wrist and sees a bracelet that's slim fancy tech on her own wrist, not jewelry. Once she figures that out, she darts through two tourists with a chimed 'excuse me' to wave her arm ridiculously at the nearest machine to try and make it see she has money. Somehow. Thankfully the sensors catch on so she can stop looking like an idiot and push that button to see what happens.
"Maybe like this?" Competitor holds up the device on her wrist to Roxie before shrugging. "Carrying all our money in this would be pretty cool though not sure how it would fit.. Nice to see you again, Roxie. Or do you have another name? You look incredible" she smiles warmly before her attention turns to Capitalist. He seems to have a job here. "Joshua" she nods in greeting.
"It was just there..." Competitor begins to answer Caregiver before the latter is running off to one of the machines. That crazed waving of the arm seems to have done something and she looks at her own wrist device for a moment before using her other hand to hold down her arm. Is it like an auction? Accidentally hold your hand up and all your money is gone? She walks, carefully, over to join Caregiver. "CDs? That would make sense. Or maybe that really fancy tape they were working on? But you can't put movies on CDs...can you?"
The Capitalist would speak up on what other devices that they may be looking for, but when the ladies notice the bracelets around their wrist, well it seems that they've found it. "You should be able to tap it onto scanners of all sorts within the place. Refill it if needed, though what your bank accounts are like are most likely tied to what this universe expects you to be here." Dark eyes look from one finely dressed woman to the next, "But something tells me that none of you should be hurting for credits."
When the Bravo addresses him by the nickname she'd chosen, he blinks her way, before hearing one of his other names mentioned. This makes him decide to correct Christine, "Here, in this place, I'm Rhys Driscoll," A name Bravo may be familiar with as it's been mentioned disfavorably by the Penitent before, "the president of ANVIL Security." He turns his gaze back to the uniformed guards at the Total Eclipse, "Those are a few of my people. Several more are stationed in the cargo bay as we're also protecting a cargo ship." Though when he says this, he is reminded that both Hunt and Silva had died at some point from his recollection. Not yet, apparently. He can't help but keep his gaze fixed on the pair of guards at the Eclipse. One of them had died as well, the other wasn't assigned the Hephaestus job on their doomed mission. Just these memories sober him somewhat, being their employer and all.
He's distracted by the Caregivers almost child-like excitement, watching her run pass several of the other tourists towards one of those loud and flashy machines. There's this tension that's suddenly come over him, his stance even moves from casual to alert. Remembering exactly what happened here and those monsters that infested this place has brough upon some of his PTSD towards this place. "Let's go see what Laine is up to. I'm just hoping that she doesn't dwindle all of her savings in one go. Though it might not matter too much."
When Caregiver discovers the bracelet on her wrist there is a look down at Bravo's wrist to find much the same, then she shrugs faintly, "What I want is.." She trails off when Christine asks about her name, and she stares for a moment, "I'm not Roxie. But I'll answer to the name." It's starting to become something of a rote response these days, and there is almost a resigned sound to the response. But thankfully there is a compliment and she smiles, "Thank you."
Then Competitor moves to join Caregiver and Bravo just stands there for a little while, absorbing the sound of people. "Can I shoot one of those?" It's asked suddenly, a finger pointing towards the sidearm that Capitalist has on him, but at the notion of moving to join the others she seems ready to move finally. It's deeper into the sea of humanity, afterall.
So. Turns out, the Caregiver cares about winning, but not for money by the sound of her. She probably just wants it to light up and make noise or minigame within the game or do whatever neat thing the graphics and lights are advertising as possibility for the gambling slot machine experience, "... okay, do something else except spin and go 'blah' at me." Patience may be her forte with people, more or less, but machines, not so much. She bounces over to the next machine, telling the Competitor helpfully, like she's got it all figured out this time and is a professional now, "I'm not sure about movies, but I'm sure that machine is a dick."
Then she pauses with demonstration that's seriously her telling the machine hello by all outward view, "You just wave to tell it hello and then it knows you're ready to play after you greet it. And it can see the money bracelet." Sensors aren't really a thing to her, maybe she thinks there's robots with cameras telling the machine it's okay to spin, who fucking knows. It's the future and they're in space! As Capitalist and Bravo come near, she glances over her shoulder, then suddenly does a double take as she catches onto the question asked, "... is it a laser gun?" Then her machine makes a fuckton of noise with random free spin in the middle of her button pressing and she reflexively makes a noise of glee to snap eyes back and watch with fascination, "I'm winning!"
Okay, she's not lying, but it's literally only fourteen credits by the time it's done doing something. The machines make noise over very little to make things sound amazing and she doesn't really know that. But at least she isn't calling this machine a dick and stays still to hit buttons more.
"Nice to meet you, Rhys. I'm Star." Competitor even holds out her hand to shake his. "President of a security company? Nice. I believe I work for somethng called Weyland-Yutani. Nettie was telling me that means 'Ethan' is my boss. The universe is a strange place." A nod to Roxie's words before she heads off. "Give me a name /you/ prefer and I will call you that."
Caregiver's enthusiasm is a wonder to behold and Competitor smiles as she goes crazy over the machines. Should she point out that they are designed to make sure the House wins most of the time...there may even be a sticker on it saying just exactly that. No. Caregiver looks like she is enjoying herself and that is a win in the Competitor's book. "Wave 'hello' to the machines? Okay, guess that makes sense." Her arm with the device is still being held down and away from anything that might take the Competitor's money away. A laser gun? She eyes off the weapon too before there is a look of excitement. "Do you have a spaceship, Rhys? Think you could take us for a spin? Is it an X-Wing?"
His gait is one that belongs to someone with some combat experience, moving with purpose and looking to be prepared for anything. Still, he's fully armed and in uniform, so when he passes by a few of the tourists, he graces them with a polite enough smile on his way. Now, while he could be nice, Driscoll was also a man with profesionalism on the brain, for the most part. He had his own Code. So when he's asked by Bravo if he'd allow her to to use one of his weaponry, there's a brief glance given her, eyes looking her and her attire over, before he faces forward again with a flat out, "No."
His demeanor warms up eventually as they gather around the Caregiver and these money-stealing machines and though he doesn't turn to face her just yet, he cares enough to explain himself, "The only shooting range in this place is at the Colonial Marshalls station and while I've been a Marshall, myself, I've moved on from there and I doubt even Sommerset would let me sneak guests in for fun."
The Caregiver's directions to the others on how to use these machines allows one edge of his lips to tug into a smirk, but he doesn't look like he's about to correct her at the moment. Instead, he responds, "They use normal bullets. Just like they do in 2018 every single lifetime that I've been in. Don't get me wrong, there are higher powered weaponry that the military uses. But these are simple revolvers and the shotgun uses shotgun shells." That smile still lingers, "I'm sorry to disappoint."
It's Christine's introduction that his him arching a brow, though he takes hers to shake, despite it. "I know who you are, but whatever you want to do." Here, his shrugs his shoulders, "I didn't make this name up out of the blue, mind you. It's a name like Christian or Cillian. Out of my hands."
The rest of what she says his him correcting, "Actually, Overseer Riordan," He knows that's who Professor Ethan was here, having worked closely with him, "ran the Noc for Penumbra. They owned this place. Weyland-Yutani is the megacorportation who brought death and destruction to Noc. One of the most powerful scientific corporations around and one not to be trusted. If Riordan's your boss, then you're with Penumbra, I'd say."
Then... the spaceship is brought up. "We don't have personal 'spaceships' here. In fact, I've been hired by a cargo hauler," Here, his he returns to his tablet, skimming through various information to see just which hauler he's working for this time around, "The Atlanta." Not the Hephaestus this time. "They just pay my company to ensure safe travel." That said, his posture straightens, eyes looking to watch what else the Caregiver endeavors to do, "I do know how to fly a hauler, however."
"I don't have a name I'd prefer." Bravo replies with a shake of her head, "Just call me hey, you...or Roxie is fine." It's not /fine/, not really. But she'll answer to it.
There is, at least, an amused smile for Caregiver and the interactions she's having with the machines, "The house always wins." She offers helpfully, her arms crossing over her chest. And it's true, she fully believes that the house literally always wins. Which might explain why she's not leaping in to try out the button pushing machines. Instead she slants a look towards Capitalist, then down towards the gun in question before she makes a sound, adding, "Maybe. Who was Sommerset? Might be we could bribe them with something."
Caregiver is getting pissy, expressive little bird she is, and the longer she stands there, the more she looks to be on the verge of kicking the machine to make it play ball the way she wants it to. Because she's starting to get familiar and realize -exactly- how much she's sinking into the thing over and over with very little action save for the occasional cheap thrill of noise and lights and animation and even though she's not even sure where the money is coming from, well, she's enough Elaine to be horrified suddenly at what she's spending. Even as a millionaire, there were things you just didn't do with money, according to her, if it left you nothing to show for it in trade. She grew up way too poor and hustled far too long with her body for all this catchup and it's a realization written all over her.
Huffy, she pulls hand back and hides her bracelet arm behind her back briefly (she wants the machine to feel the absence of her withdrawing funds in a quick huff by the look of her) she seems torn. Her eyes flit around the machines and the people and the high-flying ambiance of the casino floor and she's visibly thinking about changing machines again while listening to the Capitalist. The brunette's eyes drop to the gun again as she turns away from the machine.
She actually does look disappointed that it's just bullets and not lasers, but it's fleeting, because after the Bravo's advice and seeing she's the only one dumb enough to be playing the odds for the sake of flashing lights and noise, she steals another look, then seizes on the Capitalist saying he can fly a thing. Immediately, she's looking between other company to see if it sparks them the way it sparks her, ".. can we ride in it? Or do you more mean... a remote control flying forklift or something?"
"Riordan. That's him" Competitor nods. "Penumbra? Okay. I remember Weyland-Yutani from the movies. You're right, not nice people. No personal spaceships?" She seems quite disappointed about this. "The movies lied!" She laughs before watching Caregiver a little longer. "Doesn't three of those worm things get you a special game?" The machines probably cheat too.
A smirk as Bravo blabs about the House always winning. "It's true" Competitor confirms but as long as you're playing them to have fun and not expect to win anything, then you'll be fine." It doesn't look like Caregiver is having fun anymore. "Maybe we should play cards or something, Laine? Do they have cards here?" A quirk of her brow at Bravo when bribing Somerset comes up; and not with money but with...something. "Does Somerset have the keys to a spaceship?" she smiles sweetly to Rhys. A nod in agreement with Caregiver. "Or if you have something we can fly around in. Put us in maintenance staff clothes or something and sneak us in."
"As it seems that you've all been here before, whether it was filled with tourists or not, I suppose that you've been shown the other sights." The Capitalist announces to the group. Not that he is trying to tear the Caregiver away from the machine, but even in his mind, the calculations he's done says that she lost a lot!
"I know that Laine has been to the Twin Stars Observatory, the most beautiful place on this floating death trap." He says rather affectionately. He'd go on, but he's interrupted briefly by a flash from his tablet, making him unhook the thing once more from his belt to go through various menus. No matter what day this is or what contract his crew has worked out for this visit, Driscoll is still an employer and while this is a brief visit, he finds that he's unable to stop doing work. If anyone's close by, they'll notice that he's pulled up a time schedule with several names listed for two different locations. The blinking light is just a reminder for him to ensure that the schedule is being followed to a T.
"This is also the largest mall in, well, space, I guess I can say. So if you're curious about the fashion of the time," He knows that he's speaking to women! "Feel free to wander if admiring the stars isn't your thing."
Once that is done, Bravo gets his first response, "Sommerset works Homicide and we were stationed together during my stint as a Colonial Marshall." There's this smile that cracks on his lips, "He's one of the most unforgiving Marshalls that I've ever met, Hard on crime, but I was always glad that he had my back." To Caregiver and her wanting to go for a ride on whatever this hauler is, he just has to sigh, "I've flown Cargo Haulers before. They are some of the largest ships ever built, created to, well, haul cargo. I, however, am not the Captain of the Atlanta, we're just hired as security for them." He then goes on to murmur, "And I'm sure they'd be none-too-pleased if I took the giant out for a joy ride."
Now with the Competitor conspiring with the others, his arms lift to cross over his chest, brow raised once more, "First of all, I'm contracted by two different companies. The Atlanta and the Total Eclipse. I don't work for Penumbra, personally, nor do I have access to any private locales as that's not what we're being paid for. If you were meant to be maintenance, then you'd be wearing the uniform. That said!" His voice raises a bit, "Those things would be so much easier if this place wasn't populated, but it is now."
"I bet we could do it." Bravo is fully determined about that, but then she points towards Total Eclipse, "I want to go in there. I didn't get to see that last time. I don't think." The memory of what she got to see around here is fuzzy, and the change of the way the place feels when there are people is enough to make her question what she does manage to remember.
But then she shakes her head, "I like the stars, though. I'll wander around where ever the rest of you really want to go, it's fun to just..." She glances around, observing the tourists and those that clearly work here. "It's fun to just watch them."
"Fuck those worms in the wormhole, they're hungry, slimy whores." The Caregiver tells The Competitor, which she clearly expects the other female to concur with as a self-driven person in need of a win. It comes out with residual pissiness over not getting the cool bonus game in the time she was standing there, but at the same time, it's just as warmed with amusement. It helps she's entirely placated by the idea of getting to fly in something, momentarily.
She doesn't jump on the bandwagon with the Bravo or Competitor about bribery or bending rules, though, for some reason. It's a bit as if she's reading the Driscoll persona as a piece of protocol made to maintain order as much as she's viewing remnant life pieces of the Capitalist before she knew him.
When he says the hauler is a big thing and not a smaller thing for play, though, and they will not be flying, she sniffs a little before admitting with a glance at the staircase wistfully, "... I do love the stars. I'm sure flying a space ship of a certain size just feels like flying in an airplane and you can't tell you're moving much. Also last time I shot something it... was a fishperson. So mm."
After looking unnerved a tick with the memory of why she had a gun, who taught her to use it, and what she did with bullets last time she had them to fire, she spins to see where the Bravo is pointing, "What's Total Eclipse?" Her attention is finally fully stolen from the bright lights of the machines and she's waiting to tail in whichever direction. Then suddenly she has a champagne flute in her hand being delivered by a server pointing to a man across the way, some rich semi-silver-fox tourist ready to play sugar daddy from the look of him.
To be fair, even with the Capitalist standing there, she looks like she's talking to security with just lady friends nearby all dressed to prowl. It's so real to her, suddenly, she huffs surprised laughter and makes a cheers gesture his way, but that's about it. She also doesn't drink it, she nurses it to be polite, but years as a stripper has her reflex weird about drinks from men she didn't see poured herself.
"We could always change /into/ the uniforms" Competitor sighs to Rhys; does he not understand the art of deception. "Never mind. I don't want to get you in trouble." Still, she wants to fly damnit! Lips pursed as she thinks and looks around. "This is the biggest mall in space. And a tourist attraction. Are you telling me they're aren't spaceship rides somewhere? Even just a quick out and in..." She leans over towards the other women. "Which is what she said."
Competitor's attention also turns towards the 'Total Eclipse'. The name has her confused. "Is that a Bonnie Tyler museum or something? She really did well out of that song." A shrug at the career the Welsh songstress must have had. "Kylie took me to the observation bar. It was beautiful."
A consoling hand on Caregiver's shoulder. Of course Competitor agrees that the game is evil. An amused look at the arrival of a drink for Laine. Of course she would get such treatment from complete strangers; she is gorgeous and kind. Competitor still awaits her first such drink. "You don't want it?" she asks quietly before looking over at the man who supplied it. "Bit old but, hey, he could have plenty of credits for you to spend on the scummy machines."
The Caregiver has the right of it, though not many has known Driscoll personally enough to know of his little quirks. He's in uniform, which means he's on duty, for one. He's also been known to take his job very seriously once the contract is written up and the first deposit made. "In order to get here, you would need a large enough space travelling vessel for equipped for long distance travel. You'll mostly be asleep for much of the flight. That said, there's EVA suits if need be and some docked ships might have emergency shuttles within them, but again, I have no access to any of that."
His posture stiffens once more, eyes observantly taking in his surroundings. Something which he does on the regular, but right now, he's looking for something in particular: The actual Penumbra Security team.
"My only obligation is to protect the Atlanta where ships are concerned, but if you want to try and sneak your way aboard one of the others, I'm not getting paid by any of them." Once his sweeping look of the large area is given, he turns to Christine, "But you're going to have to fly it yourself if you're so tempted." Obviously, while he won't protect the other ships, he had a reputation to uphold, thus he was not going along for the ride.
With attention turned to the Total Eclipse, he turns to there, eyes narrowing to see whether Venus was around or not. Why wouldn't she be? "That's where people go to get their adult entertainment." A pause, "A brothel. It's has both humans and synths under its employ and promises to fulfill your every fantasy. I'm contracted with them as well, in the case that some of their clients get a little rough."
The delivered drink seems to catch his attention now too, chin lifted so that his eyes find the wealthy tourist who ordered it. Seeing that it was brought by one of the Noc's waitresses, it's probably safe...
"Really?" Bravo wonders, her attention fixed on the door, then she shakes her head just a fraction, "I'll catch up." She doesn't give a good-bye so much as she just starts to wander off to see what this space-age brothel is about. The concept of a synth is enough for her to forget about what might be in store for them on a ship, if they could even steal one, or the stars.
Oh, more drinks come, one for the Competitor and one for Bravo just as the blonde decides to head over to the brothel, something to take with her for nosing, because someone's suddenly a try hard after the Caregiver's polite cheers that way, which makes the brunette start laughing more. He's not just aiming for her now, he wants the trio! "Fair point. It's... just strangely funny how alive that made things. Even with people in here, it's hard for it to feel like unlike a movie since it's futuristic for me."
She eyes the drink with consideration after shooting the departing blonde woman a look of amusement about her destination, "But -now- that we're being eyeballed and not just moving as part of the swarm, I'm feeling the element more. I just don't drink things I don't see poured myself unless I trust the man. Too much club time. Granted, it probably came from the server, not his personal bottle and we -do- have security standing right here." With a 'fuck it' air, she suddenly drinks and starts to walk some to lose herself from eyeline of their sudden admirer, "If we go up to the stars, I'll tell a story about them."
"A brothel?" Competitor stares at the entrance with a little more curiosity now. Out in the open? In front of tourists? 42nd Street this isn't. Things have really changed in the future. And then Bravo is heading off that way to...indulge? Competitor looks a little confused at the two left with her. "Why would Roxie need to pay for anything? She's gorgeous. And I know I'm not the only one who thinks so." She is trying so hard to get used to the new polyamorous 'reality' she has woken up into.
Speaking of...sort of...she is now feeling rather like a third wheel with Capitalist and Caregiver. "I could go for a wander" she suggests lightly, "If you two want to go visit that observation bar. It /is/ really romantic, Laine. You should totally go." In the far future, 'totally' is cool again. And she is getting a drink...from the same guy! What a scoundrel. Still, she raises her glass in his direction before enjoying a sip. "He doesn't look like he could handle one of us, never mind all three." A smile for Rhys. "I'm sure your drink is on the way."
Rhys Driscoll isn't here to intimidate guests, unless they look to be starting trouble and he would only be prompted to take action if it happened anywhere around where the Atlanta were docked or at the Total Eclipse. So he pays the older gentleman no mind. With the topic of the brothel still hanging overhead, Rhys says something that that he remembers so clearly, "The last time I was here," Which... would be in the future to this as there are no aliens here now and the Hephaestus isn't the ship docked, "The Madam, Venus, told me that she knew men like me. Men who would never think to pay for sex, but she promised that I wouldn't be disappointed. Synths, you know? Programmed to be the ultimate pleasure toys." He can't help but add, "Makes me feel bad for the non robots who work there, but then again, not everyone's comfortable around synths. Some don't trust them at all. Which... I don't blame them for." Returning to a normal tone, lacking most of the wryness in his voice, "Long story short, these synths are far superior than any human lover. They get wet, they have a pulse. The works."
It's a little odd for Rhys to hear the Competitor trying to push himself and the Caregiver together. He's not Christian, for one and Rhys has never met her in this place. What he does say is, "I'm on duty." Which was yet another of Driscoll's Codes. No fraternizing of any sort when on duty. Or drinking! Another look is given to his tablet to check to see if the rotations have gone through among his employees, "Are you planning on sneaking off to attempt to fly a ship?" His gaze then lifts to view Competitor from over the edge of that flat screen. "Either way, it looks like, Laine is in a generous story-telling mood."
"She may just be going in to look if she can tell the synths from the people or to see what the scene in a space brothel looks like, to be fair. Or maybe to people watch while drinking to try and guess their kinks. We're not accustomed to people being in these places, in all honesty, it wasn't like this before. Even when I went to the beach once with the man you know as Scott, there were no seabirds, no fish, just sand, sun, and the power and expanse of water." The Caregiver explains to the Competitor, naturally giving the Bravo benefit of the doubt first and foremost before her shoulders hitch to dismiss the other option too, no judgement, "Alternatively, I bet a synthetic man can stay at rise like the grand ol' flag and takes directions well, sooooo..."
But that's clearly not for her, she takes a moment to look right at the front of the Capitalist's pants because she has no poker face about what she's suddenly thinking of, unwitting, like she's comparing a few real life matters to weigh. And she seems to be somewhat expecting that response from the man in regards to 'romantic settings' while here.
Then after a sudden look at the stairs instead of the stiff-neck security crotch, she informs the other brunette, "I've been to the Star-Bar once, before people were showing here, and I think I hyperventilated a little because I didn't know living could happen in space among the stars. I would have never imagined, at that point, despite all." Then suddenly, she pauses to look at the other woman's suggestion, leaning a bit to look for the silver fox, wondering after the question about the ship from Capitalist, lips twitching up some, "Or are you about to try and unpocket a man for kicks now that you have that drink?"
"Far superior to human lovers? Hmm...I might have to disagree with that. Unless they can feel love itself. Sure, you could program the physical - pull Tab A, insert Tab B, lick Slot 1 etcetera - but much of lovemaking is in the mind. If I was making love with someone I loved, they wouldn't have to be technically perfect, I would enjoy it more" Competitor smiles at Rhys. "Though I am sure, when you need release, they're great." A shrug at Caregiver's comments on the subject. "You shouldn't have to tell people what to do, they should know" she winks. "I could never understand why guys are so into virgins. Why would you /want/ to make love with someone who has no idea what they're doing? Until you realise it is actually about ownership and nothing to do with sex."
"When do you get off duty, Rhys?" Competitor smiles up at him before leaning over to Laine to whisper, "I wonder how long it takes for him to get that tick out of his ass?" Then back to Rhys and a shake of her head. "I wouldn't /attempt/ to fly a ship, I would. If I could find one." A jerk of her thumb at the Silver Fox. "You think he might have one? I'm kidding. I have no desire to run off with him."
A roll of her eyes at Caregiver about Bravo's reasons for going into a brothel. "Please, Laine, we all know /exactly/ why she has gone in there." No judgement either, more a giggle. She takes the other woman's hand. "Come on, let's go look at the stars. Rhys can tell us which one is which. If he's allowed to come with us."
Driscoll did introduce himself as the boss for his security team, so it wouldn't be a stretch that, as the boss, he could just as easily set himself off duty. In fact, he should be sitting behind a desk in some office far from here right about now. Yet, he's here. His eyes look over the chart once more, before he presses a button on his communicator, leaning in slightly to speak, "Hunt, Kenneth, it's quiet up here at the moment, so I'll be off-duty for the next hour or so. Then I'll check by in. Keep me informed if something comes up." His team is actually used to their boss going off duty suddenly, usually conducting personal business of sorts.
"You should know how it is to run a company." Rhys speaks to the Competitor directly as he returns his tablet to his belt, "I'd be lying if I said I didn't have the freedom to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. But in my line of business, having hired former soldiers and marshalls alike, they like knowing that their boss will do all of the tasks they were set out to do, even if that means being stationed to watch a ship for a few hours." He ends this with, "I've never sent one of my team on a job that I wouldn't do."
All of this talk about lovers and whether synths can provide that same sort of intimacy, Driscoll ponders a moment, giving Caregiver this time to stare at his crotch. It's not something that embarrasses, but he does find it amusing, letting out a laugh at it all. "You've never met these synths, but... I agree. There's something unnerving about them, no matter how tight they can make themselves or even how skilled they are at their craft." Looking ready to help lead the group towards the observatory/bar, something comes to mind, a clashing memory. At first, he's about to keep the thought to himself, but instead, he decides to say, "I was going to say about the possibilities of synths going murderously haywire, but as we all know, humans are capable of the same." Memories of Vivian comes to mind.
"I bet synths have stronger hands or better aim, though, once they're of a mind to kill instead of fuck. And given the working influence of people over them, knowing how awful some people can be, the things they can want from a person when it comes to sex... I can't imagine all that isn't piling up somewhere inside them if they're made to be so very real. Maybe I'm incapable of thinking like anything other than a person, but I also know that people can be a terrible influence on the operating core when... you have a job and expectation to perform in a way that caters to desires. People want some fucked up shit."
The Caregiver sets her jaw some because suddenly, she's feeling like Elaine as she goes up the stairs, remembering the bad nights as Stella over all those years, the different propositions, the potential for every ounce of nasty that comes out of a man when his ego is hit with denial in a moment of high flying lust adrenaline.
Pulling in a breath to hold, she clicks her tongue and rakes a hand back through her hair, coming up to the observatory bar after a time of lapsing into quiet brooding she can't quite help now that things have risen inside her. Seeing the stars when they get there, though, it helps and takes it all away and she stops to catch her breath all over again. Then she starts a slow wander toward the rail to try and be closer for a spell, looking out at space in all its glory, "It's different like this. There's no orienting really, for me to recognize the sky as I do from the ground, but I like it more because it's that way. The very nature of stars is chaos."
"I'm the same" Competitor nods to Capitalist. "I don't ask anything of anyone that I wouldn't do myself. Though they might be able to do it better. You could probably shoot that gun better than me, for example. Why have me shooting it when you do it better? But I understand what you mean." She heads on up the stairs with the others, nodding to Caregiver's observations about humanity.
"People can be horrible. And anything based on people, probably has the same capability. I'm sure they'll say that these synths can never hurt anyone. It is impossible with their programming. Don't believe a word of it. They were still built by the lowest bidder."
But soon their is a starfield to gape at and Competitor takes a position alongside Caregiver at the railing. "These are much better stars to be named after" she laughs. "All life is chaos. That's why people are so keen to have a God. No one likes chaos for very long. To accept that we're all accidents is not something that many people's egos can deal with. Rhys, can you name some stars for us? Anything we can see from Earth?"
"Synths are... a lot stronger than we are." Driscoll will admit, but he's lived in a world where synths were somewhat common, so it doesn't occur to him until now that the pair know very little about the human-like robots. "They are stronger, faster and have a thought process, their programming, that are far superior to humans. Everything from photographic memory, you name it. They /are/ machines."
He continues the story once they reach the observatory, taking in the magnificent view of the starscape. "During our time here, Weyland-Yutani had a synth of their own that tried to kill us because it was programmed to protect the Specimen, which mean, the aliens. Weyland-Yutani really wanted those monsters." He looks to both Caregiver and Competitor now, though just being here on the Noc tends to stir up anxiety-inducing paranoia as well.
"Besides the synths, there are things we call Working Joes. They are incredibly strong as well and what we use to do hard labor... Some long dormant, so we thought, AI from a destroyed ship made those aggressive against us too, as their programming had them protecting the specimen as well. So yeah, I can't say I'm a fan."
Following a few steps behind the two, attention returning to the stars, he just has to laugh when Competitor asks him to name some of the stars. "We're in the Zeta Reticuli sector. And we don't use stars to navigate, but I'm sure you'll find some familiar ones out there." He even looks to see whether he can determine which cluster, out of the many, is one constellation or other.
The Caregiver listens to this man speaking as Driscoll while leaned looking out, her brows knitting down a few degrees, and the longer he goes on, the more it looks like she's not a fan of synths either, despite her non-exposure. The principle alone actually bothered her before that story, in truth, but now she's actually frowning some, despite the view. Then her head tilts as she remains silent a bit, eyes searching the stars for something familiar with the space scenery turned to surroundings instead of sky view from the bottom. She might be looking for one constellation or another to prompt a myth as a story, because she actually knows plenty thanks to Eilis. But that's not what she ends up going with when she starts speaking in a bit of a thoughtful, gentle lull, leaned there.
"I remember being Elaine when she was younger and sitting outside on the top of a slide looking at the stars when her mother had men in the house. Someone had told me, I think in school on some solar system unit, that there were two ways a star could die." The brunette's features are reflective, but still taken with that everpresent awe that comes from standing where she's standing with the view she has. Her eyes flit over to the Capitalist with a small smile she can't seem to help for some reason, regardless of who he is at the moment, then she looks at Christine with a tip of her chin, "I don't know why I'm remembering that now, exactly, it's not monumental, but maybe..."
A breath comes for pause, the noise a bit delicate before she carries on, "Maybe it's because sometimes, especially outside of this door, it feels like we're born to die." Her head shakes a little and she pulls some hair over bared neck and shoulder to rake fingers through some of the sleek spill of curls in thoughtful sweep. "If you're a small star, you rage and grow on your way to death. You expand and you turn red and sometimes you eat up the others around you to take them down too. Then when you're dead, you shrink into something so very heavy in the collapse, smaller than you ever were, and still, you're not dead, you have to wait to burn out, weighed down by your own self-destruction."
There's a considering pause, her voice a little lighter and breathier, as if she's already picking the star she wants to be, "If you're a big, bright star, it's much more sudden. There's still a struggle where you have to swell and burn all your reserves for that final stretch, and it's violent when the moment comes, but... when you finally die... you're flying through space. You scatter into glittering dust and leave a mark, a hole where you were, because sometimes stars are so big and bright, they can't help but leave a mark behind. In exchange, though, you inspire and create so many other stars as a chain reaction... you never really end. Even in death."
"Oh, the Zeta Reticuli sector, that explains everything" Competitor nods sagely, though she has no idea what that means. "So we're seeing the stars from the other side?" That sounds logical. At the very least, the 'wrong' angle.
Competitor looks at Caregiver as she speaks, frowning a little at the sadness in those words. How a history that may never have been, hangs heavy on the present or future. Many a war has started because of such things. The story of the deaths of stars has her looking back into space. There could be stars out there doing exactly what Caregiver is talking about.
A shake of Competitor's head. "No, we're not born to die. We're born to explore. Death can be part of that. but, unlike either way a sun dies, we will be back. To explore again. To play out someone's experiment. To add lives rather than lose them." She moves to offer Caregiver a strong hug. "You are more luminescent than any star" she whispers as she pulls away. "I'd better get going. I wonder if Kylie is lurking in her quarters. Only one way to find out. Rhys, nice to meet you."
Facing his back towards the glass which the Caregiver is staring out of of, the Rhys leans his tall frame against the railing. There's something in the young woman's words that disturb him. Maybe it's her mention that they were made to die. Or her explanation on what happens when stars die. His hands grasping onto the rails at his side, he watches her silently, taking in her soft expression as she continues to speak.
"I'm sure there are far more uplifting things that one can say about the stars." Then twisting where he stands, he shifts to look over his shoulder at the window behind him, "But then again, despite shining in all it's brilliance, space is both lonely and cold. No matter how beautiful the stars try to make it seem."
In a way, he'd like to agree with the Competitor, but he's been a fighter too. "I've been thinking if there was any other place or time that I would like to be in this lifetime. I could decide to not take the contract from the Hephaestus to come here. It would've saved a lot of lives, but then, like our time at the Lodge," At least he can call up other memories even as he's living life as Driscoll now, "Would things have gone the way it did if we weren't there? Would that demon have awoken? Would the aliens have escaped the Noc only to invade earth?"
There's a quiet smile and hug for the Competitor before she leaves, stirring the Caregiver from her thoughtful nature that honestly doesn't seem all that disturbed, which may be surprising given the choice and style of words and subject matter. Instead, there's grace in her gentle, matter of factness about it, like she's taking something else out of it to consider and hold, "Oh, hun, don't misunderstand, I don't have much of a filter around here and I feel a lot of things, sometimes. But... I also know it doesn't mean it's necessarily the way of things. I'll see you."
Turning back to the railing, the brunette steals a glance at the Capitalist and his general demeanor, brows ticking down a bit with momentary guilt, "There's plenty of things to be said about the stars that don't involve death. I thought about telling a myth and painting other pictures, but standing here right in the thick of it, space is too real for that. It's endless and unfathomable in a way that makes us feel too small. It's not like being on the ground with them overhead to have as a far away, unreachable heaven. I didn't mean to be depressing, it actually... makes me realize something that isn't all that bad at all."
Holding onto the railing with her hands, instead of leaning forward, she leans back with the support, balancing on her designer heels with idle occupying while she thinks of how to reply, eyes torn between the stars and him, "It's tricky when you start thinking of life as a series of linear events that result in other events. It happens, yes, but the problem is, it's not linear. I don't know enough about your circumstances here to speculate on the matter of cause and effect as it pertains to life. But for instance... in the case of the Lodge, say you stole me that very night at the club. it's possible Max would have died without proper emergency care and there would have been no counter ritual."
She straightens with a little tug on the rail to come back onto her shoes proper, hand coming away from the rail to roll her wrist, "It's also possible she and everyone else would have been par for course regardless, and everything would have happened the same." A pause, "Alternatively, I wonder what would have happened had I not readily given Scott exactly what he wanted for vacation and had spoken up to change things. A lot of the girls wanted a beach or Vegas vacation, but what Scotty wanted was important to Laine. Maybe it was always meant to be us because we were so close knit and determined to save each other for our own reasons. Maybe it wouldn't have worked as well with a random collective in that situation."
Her eyes turn from the stars over to him to watch his expression, "Maybe the decisions made here saved Earth because -you- took the contract. Maybe if someone else took it because you didn't, it wouldn't have happened the same, at a far worse cost. I don't know, babe. I wish I did. Retrospect is good. But it's also somewhat... frustratingly difficult in our situation, I think, because there are so many factors involved. Those are just things you're going to have to weigh if you feel they need to be tested."
Driscoll knew all about space and the danger it posed. "Some of my people can't handle being in somewhat tight confines for too long or they panic at the idea of being launched into orbit, trapped in metal. It's beautiful to look at, even now, but at any moment, something could go terribly wrong." Now, he turns in full to once more, get a clear view out the window. "And this station could be wiped from existence. Just like that." A passing thought brings a grin to his lips, "We should have left too when the Noc's reactor became unstable. The explosion rocked the entire station just as the Hephaestus crew were unloading their cargo. Tore a hole right through the umbilica in two parts and sucked whoever was inside out into space."
Listening to Laine talk about the Lodge, he tries to go back and think on every action that happened and whether his contribution mattered at all. His eyes still staring out into the distance, he says, "We didn't have to be there." He means the boathouse crew, "We were out for ourselves. We were even planning on stealing a boat." This talk of a close knit crew is what brings this up, "We weren't even close to one another. So in truth, our contributions didn't much matter. If the storm didn't hit when it did, the Lodge was going to lose cable and telephone access anyway because that's what we'd planned."
All of Christian's memories come flooding back, even when he's here in Driscoll's uniform. But then Driscoll's recollection soon returns as well, remembering just what he and his team had to go through to survive this.... place. And only he survived out of everyone he'd brought wit him. To all of that, he then says, "It doesn't much matter. I survived this." But at what cost?
Now that he's off duty, his eyes turn towards the bar, "I think I'll get something to drink before I check in with the rest of my team." At this point, it's almost difficult for him to break out of Rhys Driscoll's life as he continues to live through it with all the duties it comes with. By reliving this life again, there's this urge to never leave. This felt like life for him now. Life as he, Driscoll, remembered it. "There's only a couple of days left before we ship out." He says quietly to himself. Quickly blinking out of his thoughts, he asks, "Did you want one too? Otherwise, I have a few things that I need to deal with."
"You still had your reasons, more or less, to get out of there and get paid. Not all of the Frat and Sorority got along, or knew each other well, but on the same hand, look at Troy being a fucking team player, suddenly, because he was trained to be part of the team. When it comes to survival, I think things like that mattered as an overall arc when you're looking not at the life and death, but at what... we pulled off to save everything. And that's a surreal and complicated thing to consider. And you--"
The Caregiver tilts her head and rephrases, suddenly, eyeing the Capitalist sidelong. Pushing off of the rail to wander to the bar, she reminds him, expression turned away on walking, "Christian kept -me- alive and thinking for myself, not everyone else. And I helped keep everyone else alive and going as a result. I would have died so fast trying to save someone without him there, it's... well." A pause, "That's what I was realizing, you know. That he was the bright star that left the hole, but he gave me enough stars to keep my universe full too. I can only remember so much of what came after and it was all very hard because surviving is..."
She doesn't finish that sentence. And Driscoll, as a survivor himself, probably doesn't need her to finish that sentence. Once she arrives at the bar, she settles onto a seat as answer for that drink, then drops her lashes in lieu of looking at him with her closing commentary, "I think... given more time, Elaine would have been okay... even with the hole. All because of the stars he made." She pauses, carefully dropping her lashes and looking at her lap instead of the Capitalist while speaking with intimacy so she doesn't have to let him see the expression on her face as Driscoll.
The woman had toyed with the idea of leaving him there, to let him have purpose and routine he wants and needs to cope with the Facility. But she also knows that eventually, he might need her reminder, suggestion, or hand to help him walk away from duty in the end so he can see to other plans. And this isn't her piece of the Capitalist, technically, but she told him all of his pieces were for her to embrace now. So she settles in, bucks up, and orders something with a ridiculous space name for the sake of drinking something authentic.
"Tell me all about the ship and station and how you keep things running, I'm curious. It seems like a lot to keep up with. And can I see that flat thing you keep touching with the light up screen?"
When you love a man who needs a task, duty, or a purpose, you let him talk about work. It's not so hard. She may not understand all the ins and outs with her time-era specific limitations, but she tries. And for a while, as he talks, she remembers being Stella listening to Christian vent about work.