Log:This is Anette

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This is Anette
Characters  •   The Competitor  •  The Penitent  •
Location  •  Prosperity
Date  •  2019-03-14
Summary  •  Penitent takes Competitor to meet Anette.

Another knocking at the Competitor's door shortly after the beginning of another wakeup. It's time, Penitent said. To go to Prosperity, to for the woman who was once Christine to experience the old west life. To meet Anette Hargreave. Or is it Anette McTavish? Depends on the timing of when she's here, really. Not really elaborating any further, once again Penny leads Competitor through the doors to the anywhere room, emerging on the other side from a ... tent? In the desert.

The sounds of camp rising for the morning are clear. The hangs low in the sky. It's early morning, but it's bright summer in Nevada, around 1902. It's a camp full of women, outlaws the lot of them, everyone with a taske to do. As The Penitent emerges, once again her outfit has changed. Riding boots, leather pants worn beneath a leather skirt. A sky blue blouse complete with a neckerchief offering a streak of red. Her hair tight back and upon her head sits a dusty, battered, white cowboy hat. A six-shooter at each hip, she gives the woman with her a quick smile and settles her hands at her belt after adjusting the hat just slightly. "So," she says with that old drawl settling in easily as she gaze over the camp. "Ain't supposin' you know how to sit a horse now?" She wonders all casually.


The Artist Formerly Known As Christine has been keen to meet the Penitent's favorite aspect...and a bit anxious too. Still, not one to back down, she eagerly heads into the Anywhere Room to discover the stifling heat and barren environs of a desert. Her eyes squint at the brightness, trying to deal with the light before she can look over how Penitent is dressed. It seems to meet her approval. "Can I just say that you should wear leather pants /all/ the time. Except when you're not wearing them of course." A little blush before she clears her throat. "Of course I can ride a horse" she says with confidence, and no drawl, though Penitent knows her too well these days not to see the nervousness in her eyes.

Strangely, Competitor's voice has an Irish lilt to it. She is dressed in boots, pants (not leather, alas), shirt, and a long coat that started off white but is dust stained now. On her belt is no six-shooter but rather a number of vials of a clear liquid. Strapped on the inside of her coat is also a number of sticks of dynamite. "I love yer accent, luv" she grins, wide-eyed at her own for a moment, before looking at the others around the camp. "All women?"


"Well gotta say I prefer the dresses but ain't so simple to ride in a dress." Penny -- Anette -- replies. Shifting on the spot. She gestures. "Yup. The Black Widow Gang. Widows of Satan, etcetera etcetera," she gestures a little, and then sets off across the. She heads for the fire, where after a moment of fussing with the kettle she's got herself a tin cup of coffee -- and one for the other woman. She's clearly in charge here. The women are all respectful of her, most happy to see her. A few look questioningly at Competitor, but like as not they're assuming a new recruit. "Most of these women is outcasts from the five main families of Prosperity. Women left for dead, offered as sacrifice to the demons, that kinda thing. Some of them just lost everythin' to the reapin'. We head back this way towards Prosperity every rainy season, protect the folk against what's comin'. Rest of the time -- we're out and about, raisin' trouble. Savin' the day, robbin' and carousin' and livin' free. Keeps us sharp, fightin' fit and ready for the next time we come back and have to face down against the demon's horrors."

Sipping from that cup, she glances about. There's some music playing, somewhere someone's got some kind of stringed instrument and there's some baudy tunes being sung. She grins a little. "But some of us ain't exactly outcasts, but just figured it was the place we needed to be. Myself included'. Never thought I'd end up in charge of all these ladies though."

Another woman comes strolling up, a short young thing with blonde hair streaming out from beneath her hat. "Morning, Nettie," she greets amiably, glancing at the Competitor with a smile. "Got that stuff you wanted," and she's handing over some packet of papers, by the looks of it. Nettie herself just nods and quips a "Thanks," as she takes the packet, holding onto it for now. "Wonder what that accent is bein' all about," she wonders afterwards, gaze levelling back on Competitor.


"Not easy to ride a /horse/ in a dress, sure enough" Competitor smirks before eyes widening once more at tales of demons and gangs. "Wow. That...that sounds so exciting." Her eyes agleam with the adventures that Nettie must have had. Though the presence of demons and sacrifices suggests that it was hardly all fun and games. "And you were the leader?" A proud smile now. "And so you should be. I can already see why Emily was such a change for you." A deep breath of the clean air, albeit with the smoke of a fire nearby. "Living free and doing what you want. That is the life."

Competitor sniffs at the coffee before a curious taste. "I've never had coffee brewed on a fire before" she laughs. "I like it." At the arrival of the woman bearing papers, she offers her a nod and smile of greeting before looking away to study the surroundings. Important papers are not her business. "My accent? I aven't the faintest idea. Though I have been wondering if'n I'm even American lately. Back in the..." A jerk of her thumb towards the tent they emerged from. "Ya don't like it?"


Tucking the packet beneath her arm, Nettie gestures a little off the way. "C'mon, let's ride," she suggests mildly, easily. "Can't says I don't appreciate the life, though can't says it's the life I want. Got a duty to Prosperity though. Gotta be done. I came runnin' off to these fine ladies 'round ten years ago. Once Cillian decided we couldn't be wed with the blood curse hangin' over our families. Ain't sayin' I was happy with the decision, really, but didn't disagree. Came to offer my help. After all, figured if anyone was gonna make a difference, might be the Widows. Ended up taking to the life." She sips another mouthful of coffee, considering a moment, and frowns at the mention of Emily. Not as though she's displeased with it, but almost as if she's trying to place it. This persona, apparently, comes on strong. And the memories it evokes -- she seems to be having a harder time seperating the Anette from the Penitent like she could with Kylie. But after a moment her expression softens. "Yeah. Movin' onto someone like Emily Reed was ... a shock, y'know?"

A slight curve at her lips, uptick at the corners. It's not quite a smile. "Who even knows what American is. Just somethin' they keep putting us in, I guess. And no, it's not that I ain't likin' it. It's just ... different. Curious in the way this place makes you fit the scenario, y'know?"


"But you did end up being wed" Competitor smiles softly for Penitent. "You just had to get the problems out of the way first." She is aware of how much that marriage to Cillian means to the other woman - that ring in her drawer is not an accident. "And knowing ya, ya fought like a Banshee to get where ya needed to get. Aye, let's go ridin'." Opening her coat she glances down at the vials on her belt. "They should be fine."

A last sip of the coffee before she tosses the dregs into the fire when it hisses for a moment and then drops the mug alongside. "One day I'm gonna 'ave a shock like that, Nettie. I might need ya to 'elp me through it aftewards." A shrug at who she might be as they head towards the horses. "I'm at ya camp, I guess it wanted to make me somethin' that would fit. That yer ladies wouldn't mind being 'ere. I've got more explosives strapped to me than I've 'ad hot dinners. Planning on blowing somethin' up? Which horse ya want me to take?"


Tossing out the dregs from her cup and clipping the tin thing to her belt afterwards, Nettie approaches the horses. "Yeah, I did." She says quietly, a pensive thought there and a shake of her head afterwards. "It took a whole lot of doin' for both of us to realize how we still felt 'bout each other, after all the years in between. Funny how things work out, I s'pose." She approaches the horses, moving towards a black stallion that's clearly her own. "Hey boy," she says, reaching out to pet the animal. "Kinda missed you a little." She admits. "You know," she begins, turning about.

Glancing over the Competitor again, there's a slow nod. "Might just be that I am plannin' on blowing somethin' up. We've been talkin' about a train robbery. Figured bring you here, might as well plan somethin' out." She gestures to that packet of papers, and takes it, offering a wink, stowing the thing away in her animal's saddle bags. "Take your pick, I reckon. If the place is givin' you the outfit and the accent and all the rest, reckon one of these horses here feels like yours?" She wonders. It's a curious thing.


"Love has a habit of hangin' around" Competitor notes with a wry smile...and a little experience before an excited look. "Train robbery? Now ya talkin', luv. Ya know me, Nettie. If somethin' needs overcomin', I'm ya girl." The papers get a curious look before there is a nod on the horse theory. "I reckon ya be right about that" she muses, blue eyes looking over the animals before she points to one with obviously filled saddle bags. "I be thinkin' I haven't unpacked yet" she grins before mounting the animal.

"Don't be makin' a fool of me" Competitor whispers in the horse's ear. "I'm tryin' to impress this woman 'ere." A wink for Penitent as she sits up in the saddle. "This train 'ave anything to do with demons? Or are we just be 'aving fun?" Her eyes narrow a little. "Don't suppose there was a demon called Dagon involved?"


There's a bit of a laugh from the Penitent, something short and controlled, as she spends a moment checking the rifle she has stowed with the horse, sighting along it and feeling it's familiar weight, before sliding it away again and untethering the horse to mount up proper. She sits in the saddle and eases into that familiar feeling so easily. "I could get myself lost just livin' this all over again," she remarks quietly, offering a little sigh. "Maybe it was a mistake to be comin' here. Oh well, ain't nothin' for it now." And she starts to guide the animal away from the camp and towards the road.

"Train ain't got nothin' to do with demons. Maybe a woman unjustly bein' accused and unjustly bein' transported to unjust execution now, that might be somethin' me and mine have a bit more interest in. And if there might also happen to be a bit of wealth to be taken in the meanwhile, so much the better." She glances over at Competitor to see how she's handling the animal, watching curiously. "Ain't know of no Dagon. Turned out the demons we had were people in our lives the whole time. One for each of the families. Zeb, you probably heard me talkin' about." A pause. "I ain't gonna utter their real names while we're here though. They had this nasty habit of bein' able to listen in if we did, when we lived this."


No guns on Competitor's horse either. It seems she is reliant on explosives, or a sweet smile, to get through life. At Pentient's words about getting lost here and how it could have been a mistake, there is concern from the other woman. "If'n you start getting lost, I'll find ya...unless you don't want to be found" she states softly and sincerly. Assuming she doesn't get lost herself.

Whoever Competitor has become seems to be helping with the handling of the horse, though it is not a completely confident image. Anything more than a trot starts to see her losing a bit of her composure but she will learn quickly. "Women 'ave been treated bad the whole world over for all of time. Anything I can do to rectify that, I will be there. Though if there is an innocent on board, then I guess we won't be blowin' up da 'ole thing and picking dollar bills outta the air." A nod at the mention of Zeb. "Aye, ya mentioned him. And if'n we can't say their names, then I'll be 'appy to keep quiet." She gazes out at the world around them before pulling a soft cap from a saddle bag to put on her head and shield the sun a /little/. "Beautiful sights out here" she notes about the land...and the woman she is riding with. "So ya were with the gang fer ten years?"


"I ain't one to settle for living a lie." Penitent says quietly, content not to let the horses run along too fast. It doesn't need to be a speedy journey as they take the road south towards Prosperity, moving from the desert into the demon-blessed farmland that surrounds the town. The Hargreave vinyards, the Colton cattle ranch, signs of such things can be seen. At one point, she slows a little, peering down a fork in the road, staring almost wistfully at it. "But it's a pretty convincin' lie. Easy to fool yourself. What do you think, 'bout these rooms? Chance to see what might have been, revisit old times, make things happier? Or is they just another way for us to torture ourselves with what we've gone an' lost?"

She shakes her head a moment, reaching up to adjust her hat again and considering. "Women was treated better in Prosperity. Mostly. Speak to my sister Angeline and she'll have a lot to say. And talk to Martin Munson ..." she pauses, as if searching for the name that might be more familiar. She has to dig deeper through Anette's memories at times. "Danny. Fleur had some thoughts too." A lso nod. "Yep. Ten years of this life. But, fact was, the wild west was gettin' less and less wild, ain't it? With what we know from livin' lives in the future, ain't much time left for this kinda thing, livin' free and outta the thumb of Uncle Sam. Everythin' all comin' together with ... civilization." She says the word with a kind of distaste.


Competitor reins in alongside Penitent as she takes in the new more fertile landscape; the reward of literal sacrifice. "A bit of both" she suggests about the rooms. "They let us live things as how we want them to be, not how they turned out. Ya could even say they are here to help us recover from what we went through, ya know? When ya were in dis story da first time, ya were dealing with someone else's parameters. Now...now ya set dem yerself. It /should/ be better. Unless ya can't shake da original." A faint smile. "I'm gessin' ya'll never want to see Emily-Land again."

"Ya know, that women were treated better in Prosperity would play right into the male patriarchy. What happens when women are treated right? Demons are around. We're all witches" Competitor shrugs with a laugh. "Ya all seem quite taken with dis 'story'. I'm sorry I missed out on it." A nod about the Wild West coming to an end. "Aye, all things must pass. For everything there is a season. But, hey, dis is America. Get rich enough from dis train robbery and ya'll be da one telling Uncle Sam where to put his thumb."


"You think 'they' would put somethin' here to actually help?" Penitent says quietly as she continues to move along. "We always figured their motives weren't anythinin' like a kindess. But now I ain't so sure. Between this an' what happened to Lupe, which I'm figurin' is still hard to get my head around, I just ain't so sure." She's quiet for a few long moments, just riding along. Anette is a reserved woman; not given to displays of emotion, and she's just got that sense of burden and duty about her. There's a weight upon her, here and now -- a life that she'd prefer to be living instead of this one, but this is the one she chooses anyway. But she wears it comfortably. "Don't bet on it. Ain't sure I'm ready to face Emily again this time 'round, but some time. Could do it. Maybe even spend some of a summer at the Eager Beaver without murderous ghosts having a go at us, hmm? Enjoy the sun and swimming as planned."

"I've told you before that wherever I go, whoever I am, there's always that feeling of guilt. Something is my fault, or somethin' that's gotta be done. Carrying burdens and feeling guilt is pretty much what I am, I've figured out. We had this chat. I'm taken with this story for a couple reasons, I s'pose. One, it's my first real memory of actually bein' happy while I was someone else. There was horror and loss and pain, but there was real happiness too. And two, an' this is probably the big one: Of all the people I've been, Anette was th'best at handlin' those burdens. Everythin' was all ... I don't know. Clearer, in some ways." There's a tip of her head towards the idea of getting rich, but she laughs. "Honestly, gettin' rich was never really the plan. Just enough to keep goin', and to keep us sharp."


"Whatever this is, it took a hell of a lot of work to set up. Whatever we are, took a lot of work to find or create. When you put this much effort into somethin', ya look after it. They can't interfere with da experiments, or why do it at all. They can do this..." A wave of Competitor's hand to indicate the Anywhere Room version of Prosperity. "...to help us deal with what we may think of as mistakes we made. It gives us a chance to /win/ if we didn't before. It is a reset we control. In each story they don't care if we live or die...that is the point of da experiments. But, overall, they don't want to fuck it up. That's why they had to fix...Lupe." A smile for Penitent as Competitor shrugs. "That's my theory at least."

"I tink a few of da others 'ave already been having that 'oliday at the Beaver. Rude of 'em to not invite us" Competitor laughs. "I could 'ave been fun there." Her expression more solemn as it turns to Penitent's guilt. "We 'ave no idea how many stories we're going to be in, Nettie. Maybe some of them will be even 'appier. Some of them will probably be a lot worse. What matters is how ya deal with it back in the...prison. Dat is where ya are truly in control. Do ya feel the same heavy guilt there? Ya might be someone one day who handles it even better than Nettie. But da real you, da one outside of the stories, she handles things pretty good too, don't ya think?"

"Maybe dat's why I'm here? Ta help ya get rich" Competitor suggests with a wiggle of her eyebrows. "For good or ill, money helps you get things done in this country. Ya can make it good if ya want." She studies the other woman for a few moments; her gaze warm and admiring. "I suppose a kiss here is out of the question?"


"People get taken away from us, they make us live these tangled moments where all the memories come crashin' together like some circuis act. I ain't sure what there really is to learn for 'em in these between moments. Who knows. As for Lupe ... Cillian seems half convinced that she ain't Lupe anymore. Some imposter given Lupe's memories, set to spy on us. I reckon the technology they've shown they can use, ain't no need to do somethin' so simple as spy on us directly. But, what do I know." She shrugs a little as the buildings of Prosperity come into view, easily just meandering along on the horse. At least it's summer, and there's no mud to deal with. "Can't say I'm ready to go runnin' back to the lodge right away, though." She says quietly.

"I feel the guilt. An' maybe one day I will be someone who handles it better, but reckon the only reason I handle it okay now is because of what Nettie taught me. You ain't seen me before Nettie. Also, I reckon I do a fantastic job of pretending that everythin' is fine, or that I'm handlin' it well. I used to do that a lot. Pretend. Don't change that I feel like I've done somethin' awful and deserve to be locked up for it. Early days, even if they'd found a way to escape, probably wouldn't have taken it. Reckon Emily's life of lies might have had somethin' to do with all that pretendin'."

There's a slow nod for a moment. "Ain't needed no help gettin' rich. I'm the only legitimate daughter of Jack Hargreave, we were one of the wealthiest families 'round. But I decided long ago anythin' I earned, would be with my own effort. Not because some demon decided to give it to me. And Cillian, well, he was as fine a businessman as you please. We didn't struggle, even after we left Prosperity and the blood curse behind." There's a pause there at that final request, considering it at length. "I ain't thinkin' so. I -- Nettie, that is -- weren't ever even a little bit interested in women. She's real close right now. Sorry."


"They spy on us all the time already. They don't need ta put someone in da group. And why would he think it would be Lupe? I wasn't dere before either. I could be a spy." Competitor looks at the looming town before nodding silently about the Lodge. "Emily was guilty about her lies. What was Nettie guilty about? The whole demon sacrifice thing? Kylie had some incident on a spaceship? Madison had the living dead thing...or being a bitch. But what do /you/ have ta be guilty about? When we're out of here, what is it?"

"Nothin' is worthwhile if'n ya don't earn it yerself" Competitor agrees. "But da more ya have, da more good ya can do with it. Or evil." The answer to her request causes a little spasm of pain in her face. "I was expectin' that answer" she replies, summoning up a smile before looking away. This is where Penitent is happily married to a man and it is also the place she feels happiest. Competitor knows she is not important here...though understanding doesn't make it any easier to take. "Any idea where in the timeline we are? Dis before ya solved the demons? After? Is it an alternate reality of ya own conjuring?"


"Because she changed," Penitent replies easily to that question. It's a simple enough thing, and she shrugs a little at it. "I was an outlaw, a thief and a murderer. She tried not to, but Nettie would gun down an innocent what put a risk into whatever heist or thing were goin' down. Never without a reason, but she still did it. Law men come after the widows, scalp hunters, lot of men dead by her hand. It was worth it. Had to be done. She handled it well, but it were still there. Somethin' she knew she'd have to face some day. As for the whole picture of me," she shrugs her shoulders again. "Can't say I'm rightly sure 'bout the what. I ain't got any memories before being Madison. But it's there anyway. You've seen the weeping woman with the village burnin'. I always got the feelin' she set that village to the flame. Ain't somethin' done by accident, either. I can't say I know why I feel it or what I might've done to cause it, but I feel it anyway. It's just a part of me. Just like Lupe was sayin', she needed to lash out at people for no reason."

She just reign up her horse a little, slowing somewhat. "If you ain't wanna see this, we can go back," she suggests lightly, when she notices Competitor looking away at the answer to that question. "I don't wanna force you into dealin' with somethin you don't wanna, or whatever. But I figure you wanna know about me, and deserve the whole truth. This is a big part of me." A pause, and a cant of her head. "Right now, that deal is still active. Before we broke free. Without the deal to keep it all goin', Prosperity weren't nothin'. No fertile farmlands, no silver mine. Reckon it fell off the map pretty quickly once we ended it all. Ain't nothin' worth staying for."


"I wouldn't take those pictures literally. I don't think I've ever been on top of a mountain. I could 'ave but I'd like to think I'd remember /that/. Some folk's pictures are impossible to be literally true." And the prospect of turning back, Competitor shakes her head and smiles at the other woman. "Nope. I want to know all of you. Even the parts of you that wouldn't give me a second glance and are madly in love with others. Everyone has exes...not usually at the same time" she laughs. "I'll handle it." A nod towards the town. "Let's go take a look. And the demons are still around? Could be fun. Da ya tink there is somethin' in how we 'ave to destroy the setting to win? The space station. Prosperity becomes a ghost town. Eager Beaver is never reopened. Our hosts really like to hammer home the necessity of sacrifice." She walks her horse forward once more. "Ya 'ave a gang of women outlaws in leather pants and ya 'ave no interest in them /that/ way." A shake of Competitor's head at such a waste.


"Ain't taking it literally. I don't think I burned down a village for real, and if I did, prob'ly is that I had a mighty good reason for doin' so. But y'know, the whole thing ..." she shakes her head. "Ain't really the point -- it's there. It's a good representation for how I feel pretty much all the time, you follow?" As the pair keep riding along, they're really getting into Prosperity proper. The buildings and business that line the roads are closer and closer, and there's people -- many of which clearly recognise Nettie. A lot don't say much to her, but others are very pleased to see the Black Widow Gang back in the area.

"Maybe everyone does have exes all at the same time, in our lives. Ain't much to say about what's normal or not, this is all I know. Maybe it's all everyone ever, knows, hmm?" She shrugs a little, glancing around the town with her careful, practiced gaze. "And I ain't sure 'exes' is the right word for it, but I dunno. Ain't easy to deal with, that's for sure." There's an arch of her brow as she nods a little. "An from what I recall, the Island with all them skeletons on it was carpet bombed and glassed. Yer right about sacrifice there." There's a vague smirk there and a shrug of her shoulders. "I like what I like."


"I foller" Competitor nods about how Penitent feels all the time; and it can't be good to feel like that forever. "When we win...does that feeling not even go away then? When ya lived 'ere after the demons were gone. With ya husband and ya kids. Did ya still feel that way?" It amuses her that an outlaw is treated with such clear excitement and respect. "Look at all these folks. Yer a hero."

"And I like what I like" Competitor replies softly with a fond look for Nettie. "But I've only been through da wringer once. I can't understand what ya going through with all the ways this place plays with ya heart as well as ya head. What 'appens in tha stories, I got no say over. What 'appens outside of 'em..." A shrug. "That is me and I care about that woman with the burning village a whole lot even though I know she cares for plenty more dan me. Is there a saloon 'ere?"


"Still had a lot to atone for," Nettie replies quietly about the feeling going away. "A lot of innocent blood on these hands, even if I reckon the freedom we gained worth the price, and would do it again in a heartbeat, ain't one to say it's an easy price to pay regardless." There's a flicker of something in her eyes. Oh, it just may be that Nettie doesn't mind a bit of hero worship. Especially at home -- the only place where she's really thought of in such ways. Anywhere else and the people would be like to hang her quicker'n you can blink.

"Chances are you'll end up with someone else too, and then you'll have a better understandin' of how these things work out, I guess, and figure out how to balance things. Can't say I really though 'bout it much, until it suddenly happened." She gestures. "There's the Sidewinder but I was never fond of the place, 'specially once I figured out what Vie was. The Gambling Hall has a bar though, we can go in there." She moves over towards it, quickl dismounting and tethering the animal again. "I reckon you care about a lot of things too though, yeah?"


"We all do a lot of tings to get to da end. You can dwell on 'em, or accept 'em. Acceptance don't mean heartless. Remember dat. Yer right...it's never easy." Competitor guides her horse to the rail outside the Hall and dismounts. "Sidewinder? Ya call yerself after a snake and wonder why business is slow?" The rein is tied around the post before she nods to Penitent. "Yer right, I might get involved wit someone else in one of da stories. Seems to be da way things go around 'ere. Don't mean I'll care for ya...her...any less. Which I guess is what ya dealing with." A wink for the bandita. "We'll figure it out. Care about other tings? Yeah, I care about winning. I care dat people make da best of demselves. Dat what ya mean?" A gesture to indicate for Penitent to lead the way.


The Competitor comes in from the market square.


"Trust me, you don't need to teach me how to handle my past or my burdens." Penitent says with a brief cant of her head. "I know Emily needed a lot of ... let's call it, guidance, but I don't. You make a lot of assumptions. Whoever said business was slow at the Sidewinder? No business is slow in Prosperity. There's a demonic contract to make sure it ain't slow. I just ain't one to care for it. And that saloon and brothel is run by one of Them too." She shrugs her shoulders and then steps up the few steps into the McTavish Gambling Hall. She seems to be a familiar face here too, because the few patrons of the establishment don't seem especially surprised to see her. As she saunters up to the bar, leaning against it and making an order for a couple of drinks, she gestures. "It ain't exactly what I meant."


"I was more tying ta make a joke about the name of da saloon. I 'ave no idea what business is like dere. I am startin' ta understand that I am terrible at joke telling" Competitor explains before holding up her hands in surrender. "I am sorry. I'll try not ta be a nag." Competitor is certainly not a familiar face and she gets to have curious eyes of the patrons upon her. She does her best to ignore them. She is with Nettie...so she must be on their side. Competitor leans on the bar, turning to look at Penitent. "What did ya mean?"


"Sometimes you get a couple of them what ain't so bad," Penitent says with a brief quirk of her lips, shaking her head. "Jokes, that is. That one I completely missed. Nettie wasn't one for jokes, really. Though the one time she did tell a joke I think it 'bout changed Angeline's life. Heh. That sure was a day." She runs a hand along the brim of her hat and then slides the thing off, setting it aside, hands running through her black hair for a moment, all tied back. "I just mean -- the way you said I care for plenty more'n just you, sure is true, but ain't it true of everyone? You care 'bout other people too, I'm sure."


Competitor removes her cap and shoves it an inner pocket of her long coat - which may show off some dynamite to anyone watching. Then a ruffle of her hair but there's not much she can do with it. "I don't care for anyone as /much/ as I care about ya" she clarifies. "But ya care about others as much as you care about me. Maybe even care 'bout dem more. Dat's the difference. But I ain't complainin'. A part of ya is much better than nuttin' at all" she smiles warmly. "Ya know, the times I remember, at the Lodge, westerns weren't really big anymore. But...I think it's interestin'. I like it. So far."


Two glasses of whiskey arrive. Just like on the Noc! Only it's a far different locale. The bartender gives a nod, and a "Here you are, Miss Hargreave. Cillian isn't in at the moment but I'll let him know you stopped by."

Nettie just nods, lifting the glass. "Depends what mood you catch me in, I guess," She says thoughtfully. "I ain't tryina string you along or anythin'. I don't really know how to handle all this, truth be told. Ain't sure it's rightly fair to just give any of you a piece of myself, but not sure ... say we go back to that life, the lodge or the time around it. I become Emily 'gain, and well, in the moment it's hard to just not be someone. Right now I feel so much like Anette, all her hopes and dreams are right here at the surface. It ... I ain't sure, just kinda ramblin' I guess, which clearly ain't very much like Anette at all, so there's some ... personality overflow or somethin'." She nods, tipping back the glass, knocking it all down with a mouthful and setting it on the bar. "Y'know, I wasn't fond of Westerns before hand, I wouldn't have said. Guess livin' it puts it in a different light. Can't says much about it though. Miss a good easy hot shower after a bit, I'll tell you."


Competitor eyes off the whiskey before sniffing warily at it; this one is going to be rough. "I never thought ya were stringing me along. I like to think that what we 'ave is real. Especially outside the story. Sure, we 'ave to almost start over again but I think ya worth it. And I'm not exactly the same person either." A sip of the whiskey has her eye twitching for a moment before she gasps and squeaks, "Smooth." Still, if Penitent can knock it back in one mnouthful, she's going to try too. Down it goes and Competitor coughs a little as she slams the glass down. What were they talking about again? "/If/ dis place is summit we conjure ourselves, den dose memories and feelings are what ya want from dis place. It's why ya come back. To experience dem again. I know how important this life is to ya. How important Cillian is. I thank ya for wanting to show me all about yerself. That means ya think I'm pretty important too. At least, dat is how I see it" she smirks before laughing. "Yeah, a shower is somethin' anyone would miss. Baths ain't as romantic when it's the only ting ya can have. Once a week?"


"Don't let Cillian know you struggled with his booze," Penitent says with a wry sort of look, laughing. "And you should try what passes for drink in the Afterburner on the Noc some time. Actuall paint thinner. It'll give you a better appreciation for this stuff." Leaning there against the bar, she peers across the place thoughtfully. "You are pretty important to me." She confirms with a nod, her expression just that grave thing that Nettie always seems to be wearing. She doesn't actually smile much. "Some day I'll ... get myself together enough to show you Madison properly. I don't know what's gonna happen there. If you want. But I don't really think of her as a part of me." Even though she clearly is. There's a bit of a wink though. "You only miss conveniences like that when you get back and remember everythin' of course."


"Cillian made this himself? And it's /not/ paint thinner?" Competitor coughs a little more. "Remind me to kick 'im in da nuts when I see 'im next. He tried ta poison me." A wave of her hand to the barkeep. "Another two." She can't help but smile at being important to Penitent before a tilt of her head at talk of Madison. "Yer still gonna do dat experiment, right? Find closure for dat island? Everyting is part of us. Even da bits we don't like." A smirk about the conveniences. "Aye, trouble is, I do remember it here. When I'm in a story...ignorance is bliss, I guess. I'm still trying to comprehend this internet idea."


"No, that ain't what I meant. The establishment is Cillian's. I guess he has only the best suppliers." She shakes her head. "Ain't no cheap trashy booze any good for the McTavishes." There's a shrug of her shoulders as she settles her gaze back on competitor. "Maybe. Ain't sure what's going on with the experiment thing. Guess we'll give it a go when we find the time. Doesn't seem like he's in any rush." She frowns a little at the mention of the internet though. Like she's struggling to comprehend it herself, seperate out what Penitent knows from Nettie. "Yeah. It's a bit strange," she decides after a moment.


"I'll still kick him in da nuts" Competitor winks. "It just seems like a fun thing to do." She purses her lips in a little frown. "Ya don't think he is as keen as ya to figure tings out? I'm sorry ta hear dat." Since she was never here before, as far as she knows, Competitor is better at keeping lives separate. Though even she is starting to be aware of the conflict. If her accent wasn't bad enough, words and concepts are getting a little hazy. They have to be concentrated on to make sense. And there's nothing to say she wasn't here before...in this setting at least...but she could have been hundreds of miles away. "Strange is the new normal" she teases as the second drink arrives and she raises her glass. "'ere's to ya health."


"I ain't sure. When he was just Cillian I was able to get a pretty good read on him. Now he's all these other people an' I never can tell what's goin' on with him. It was his idea to do these experiments with Madison and Conrad and last I heard he was goin' off to hit the books and find an alternative place for our party. Ain't sure what's been goin' on since that. I kinda asked him to spend an evenin' here with me. Maybe not right here in this spot, but you know what I mean. As these people. Maybe he doesn't wanna." Oh well. She takes up the next glass, giving something of a wistful smile. "And yours," she offers back and tips the glass back once more, setting it down, and exhaling a long breath that ends in a sigh. "Maybe should be gettin' out of here before I get all drunk and sad."


"Layers on layers makes it harder ta figure someone out. People are like that even without actually living multiple lives. Dat just makes it even 'arder. Ya should 'ave the party in ya backyard. Set it up ta look like an island" Competitor suggests with as teasing smirk before there is a sympathetic expression of sadess. "I can't believe he didn't want ta spend time with ya like dat. 'ere. I would 'ave said 'yes' in an 'eartbeat. Men...what can ya do?" She downs that second drink with more confidence, though it still hurts. A nod to the suggestion to leave. "Don't worry, I can tell ya jokes to cheer ya up if need be." A pause. "Dat was the first one. Want to show me where dis train is passin' by?"


"It ain't all so simple as that," Penitent says with a sigh, shaking her head. "I reckon comin' back here is just a reminder ot him of what he's lost. Probably all I am, a reminder of that. The life he didn't get to have." She sets the glass down, taking up her hat and setting it back on her head as she pushes away from the bar. "Train's a few days ride away. Prosperity leaves the Widows alone, so we don't mess with anythin' near home, y'know."


"Maybe ya remind him of the only happiness he knew? Dat's what he finds hard. Not loss...but a happiness he can't reconcile wit everything else?" Competitor hugs Penitent, a tight, if brief, squeeze before she pulls back. "Women can hug each other without anyting else" she winks before nodding about the train being so far away. "I want to be in on dat, Nettie. Dere's a reason I'm packing as much explosive as an A-Bomb." She heads for the door. "If'n ya want to go back for now, I'm fine with dat. Tank ya for lettin' me meet ya. It is a privilege."


"I dunno. Maybe. It's still somethin' he lost. I know he'd love to have it all back, for real." There's no real apprehension at the hug, just a little smile that's a touch out of place with Nettie's own manerisms. "And to think on it just hurts. For me, because it's the only happiness I knew for the longest time, I guess I'm just drawn to it." Her shoulders slump, and she nods. "Probably was a mistake comin' back here. Yeah. Lets just head back." She says, turning to follow Competitor back outside.


"You embrace the happiness. He avoids it. Two different ways of dealing wit it." Competetior heads out into the bright sunshine, retrieving her cap to pull down above her eyes. "Ya knew happiness again. Ya will know it again. No one knows how life will turn out. It weren't a mistake, luv, but maybe if somethin' has ended and is in the past, we should leave it dere. If dese rooms didn't exist...what would ya do." She undoes her reins and mounts her horse. "Yer gonna have to lead the way back."


"Might be that's the problem for me. It didn't end. Madison died, Kylie died. They ... ended. Anette didn't. Emily didn't. I ain't sure how to figure 'em out because ... they're survived, they won, they got what they wanted, and then it was taken away from 'em. Bah." Once she's out, and back on her horse she shakes her head. "Don't mind me. Just an old fool with too much on her mind. Soon enough I guess we'll have even more. Figure we can't really get anythin' done around here. Too much time spent just tryin' to sort ourselves out." There's a single nod, and then she'll lead the way. Mostly in a thoughtful, brooding silence, back to the camp, and back towards that tent.

It's only once they've passed through the door again and find themselves standing back in the parlour of the Facility, Penitent once again in her simple sweatpants and grey singlet top, do her shoulders slump once more and she just leans on Competitor properly, to wrap the other woman up in a real hug.


Competitor will let Penitent have that silent time. She understands that she can't undestand what the other woman is going through. Not yet...and does she really want to know the obvious pain and confusion it is causing? All she can do is be there for Penitent. However she can help, she will.

Once they are back in the Facility, Competitor dressed in shorts and t-shirt, she is more than happy to prove her support. Holding Penitent tight and close. "Thank you for showing me, Nettie" she whispers before a tender kiss to the other woman's forehead. "I can see why you like her so much. And thank goodness my accent is gone. You okay?"


"Ain't nothin' I won't get over," Penitent says quietly, still holding onto that western drawl for a moment, shaking her head afterwards. "I mean, I'm fine. It's just heavy sometimes. I don't know how it's ever going to get better, but I'll hold together as long as I can." She draws back a little, looking up at Competitor and tilting her head, giving that simple little serene smile of hers. "I'm going to have some pancakes. With icecream," she decides after a moment, with an almost childlike excitement at that simple little pleasure. "You wanna join me?"


Competitor strokes her fingers through Penitent's hair as she speaks. "It will get better" she promises; it's what she does and, so far, she's been able to keep them. "And there are people here who want to help you if you need it. Me especially." A playful gasp at the offer. "Pancakes and ice cream? Gosh...dunno..." She giggles. "Umm...yeah!! Damn right I want to join you." Another quick kiss, this time to Penitent's lips, before Competitor takes her hand and it is off to the Dispensary. "You think this place has more flavours than Baskin-Robbins? I'm willing to see."