Log:Welcome Caretaker

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Welcome Caretaker
Characters  •   The Confidant  •  The Addict  •  The Caretaker  •  The Martyr  •  The Optimist  •  The Penitent  •  The Thrill-Seeker  •  The Competitor  •
Location  •  Dining Room
Date  •  2019-07-23
Summary  •  A few reunions, and the introduction of another poor soul locked up in this asylum.

The Confidant is staring at a plate of sushi as if he expects the sashimi to reanimate at any moment. But hey, it's not chicken nuggets or bagel bites. Baby steps. Baby steps. The brawny redhead looks up occasionally at the television. It's on in the Parlour and he is getting his fill pretty, tan people partying at the beach. MTV's Spring Break has appeared and he does not look terribly happy about it.


The Addict comes in from the dispensary. They're leaning into their feminine side today, clean-shaven with long hair pinned up in curls, full and tasteful makeup. High heels add to their height and gives their gait a click. They're in a strap-sleeved dress with a large floral print, the reds matching the red of their lips. "What've you got there?" they ask Chance as they approach him. They've got some kind of risotto in a bowl, which they put on the table.


The Caretaker can be seen entering the parlor, can be heard exhaling a huff of annoyance at the discovery of what's on TV. He knows it's going to be fruitless, but aproaches the television anyway, hitting the 'channel up' and 'channel down' buttons a half dozen times each before giving up and turning toward the dining room to approach the others. Food seems something of a necessity at the moment, and he hesitates, briefly nods to the pair, then heads toward the dispensary to collect his own meal.



The Confidant beams at Addict's entrance. "I like your femme days." He says this now but his tune doesn't change on the more masculine ones. He points at his plate of elaborate dead fish. "Sushi. It was the fanciest thing I could think of. I remember people and places in the Encounters. Not food. Well, not since the first. So I poked at the screen until sushi came out. After I found a book about sushi with pictures. Those bookcases are magic." He gestures towards the parlour and lo and behold. A new face. Chance scrambles to his feet to follow poor Caretaker. "Hey hey hey hey, what's your door?" He looks to Addict. "Briar, do you know his face? From the Carnival?" Back to Caretaker. "Are you new? A new one between Encounters /sucks/! Sorry about your luck." He pauses. "Oh! I'm Chance. That is Briar." Beat. "But you might know that. I should shut up and let you talk." He nods, sagely.


The Addict glances up at Caretaker, looks him over, then blinks a bit as Confidant gets to his feet and goes over to the stranger. "Never seen him before," they say. They wave a little at the stranger when Confidant introduces them. "Hey. Welcome to whatever this is." Then they examine Confidant's sushi with interest. "Oh, I think Braden loved this. You need soy sauce."


The Caretaker stops when Chance approaches him, turning back and blinking once or twice at the barrage of words. He understands every one taken independently, but, like most of the things he's encountered so far, the totality of the speech leaves him confused. "Uh." Door. Right. What was on the door? "Atlas. Atlas holding up the world on my door." He doesn't know why -- just that it sort of resonates with him inwardly. "I'm Gary. Nice to meet you guys. Sorry, I am seriously confused here."



The Martyr is dressed in blue plid pajama bottoms with a vintage, slightly beat up shriekback evolutions tee shirt, under a purple and blck paisley silk bathroom. He enters hesitantly, sticking close to the wall, sticking something small into a pocket as he aprhensively eyes the people there. He winces, and scurries towards the food dispenser.


"That's Dare!" The Confidant introduces. Loudly. "Hi, Gary. Nice to meet you and welcome to a place I call In-Between." He glances around. "Fuck. I'm the oldest one here again. Grab yourself a plate of food and a drink of choice, alcohol is allowed here. I don't drink but, uh, you might want to get a little tipsy while I tell you what your life is going to be like." This is when he steps away to look at the door more carefully. "I...that is stark imagery. You could be anything, yet...whatever it is, it'll tear you apart." He sighs. "Gary? Can you bring me back some soy sauce, please?"


The Addict's eyes narrow as they see Dare skittering toward the dispensary. Then they smile, all pearly white teeth and syrupy sweetness. "You're not avoiding me, are you, Dare?" Yeah, they see you, man. That sterling smile is turned on Caretaker. "Hello, Gary. And some wasabi and pickled ginger."


The Martyr hides what he's doing at the food dispenser with his body. "Hello, Gary. Don't worry, you aren't in a mental institution. That's a common first guess." His accent seems to slide. Mostly it's Pacific Northwest, but sometimes it's Valencian spanish, and rarely it's British public school educated north African. He doesn't notice he's ding it.

When he turns he has a dozen 'roses,' the flower of each being a different type of truffle. "I'm not avoiding you, Love." He kneels in frot of Briar like a man propsing, holding up his offering, head bowed, "I am sorry for disrespecting you. It wasn't intended, but the harm was done. I know I'm a bad boyfriend, but you are the best thing in my life and I need you like plants need water."


The Optimist comes from the parlor.


The Penitent comes from the parlor.


%rThe Caretaker nods, still looking utterly bewildered. "Food, booze and soy sauce. Wasabi. Pickled ginger. I can do that." Food makes more sense than anything else, and he takes a minute or so to observe the Martyr using the dispenser before approaching himself. He feels like it might be best to go with comfort food, all things considered, if Chance feels he'll need alcohol to get through this. And so he returns shortly, setting the soy sauce and other condiments between Chance and Briar, and then settling his own dish -- a bowl of beef stroganoff -- nearby, a bottle of Manchurian Crabapple beside it -- still tastes like apples, but has a much higher alcohol content than most hard ciders. "Okay," he says, peering at the others. "I suspect I'm about as ready for this as I'm going to be."



"Ready for what?" enquires yet another person walking in. The Optimist is in another one of his innumerable cheerfully coloured bright woollen vests. No shoes, however. Oh, and he has both of his eyes, and apparently is a bit _younger_, but one can definitely recognise the dark skin and geek-who-works-out Harkaway. Or, rather, what Harkaway would look like if he experienced the normal gamut of emotions.


Last time, after La Llorona, The Penitent was hardly seen around the Facility. This time is apparently going to be different, because she's out and about. Or ... perhaps Samantha is. It's Penny, for sure, though the Penumbra uniform is unmistkable. Corporate Grey, logo, id badge. Crisp perfect lines, not a bit of it out of place. Right down to her perfectly shined shoes. She wanders in, though the expression on her face, and the tone of voice for her greeting is not something those familiar would associate with Samantha. The almost innocent sounding "Hello," as a general greeting to everyone present, and the guileless smile that comes with it are all there.


Confidant is sitting by the time New Kid Gary returns. And Chance is watching him closely. "Thanks, man. I never know how to begin when people land in between Encounters. What is an Encounter? It's a setting. It's a place and a time and it is filled to the god damn brim with terrors. But you don't know that at the time. All you know, when you begin one is...this is the world I live in. Like...it's normal. But filled with blood, death and horror." Optimist gets a big smile. "I love those sweaters." Chance is wearing a gray t-shirt and gray plaid PJs and no shows and he is always that boring looking. Besides the blazing red hair, translucent skin tone and big blue eyes. When Penitent enters, Chance stands up. That started with Jody and he can't stop the habit. "Hey. You alright?"


The Addict's eyes widen when Angel returns, and they press their hands to their chest. They're wearing a floral print dress, in full makeup, rocking their feminine side today, and in high heels, they're towering over the kneeling Martyr. "Get up, get up," they tell him. Then they wrap their arms around his neck and kiss him square on the lips. That's the first order of business, before she even takes the truffle roses. When they draw back, they say, "I love you, baby. I'm not going anywhere."


The Caretaker manages two or three bites of his meal at Chance's explanation of their situation, what they're supposed to expect from their lives. And then he stops, sets down his fork, and stares for a long moment, glancing around for confirmation from the others -- but Dare and Briar are somewhat distracted, and he hasn't even been introduced to the others yet. His conclusion is simple: take Chance's advice. He reaches for his bottle and drains half of it in two long swallows.



"Oh, thanks!" says the Optimist brightly. He has a nametag that says 'Arcade' as well, and he pauses "Uh, hmm? Am I no longer the newest person here?" he asks the Confident "Whoa. I guess I'm really part of the team now..." His voice trails off as he spots the Penumbra Jump Suit "Erg," says Arcade, and turns to get himself coffee awkwardly and says to her "Hello, erm. I'm not sure what your name is out here. But I'm Arcade. Sorry if I don't remember so much, last time I thought I was a giant snake for ages." Then he turns to deliberately look at the Caretaker, though his eyes flit to the Addict and the Martyr "Ughhhhhhh I think I want to be in my room _forever_, or at least away from anyone I may have tried to kill?"


The Martyr awaits his fate at Briar's feet, head bowed like a penitent knight despite the stubble and slopping around clothes. He rises to kiss them like a drowning man drinking in air, "I swear you are more beautiful each waking. This was a bad one, Babe. I love you more than there are words for." He keeps looking at briar like they are the center of the world, for several long moments.

It's Arcade's distress that pulls him away, "Hey, Sam. Arcade, it'll be all right. Come on in. I didn't get to the conveying your apologies part, but it's going to be okay. Come meet Gary."


"I am ... okay." Penitent says back to Confidant, nodding her head briefly and giving that simple smile once again. "Another blank slate?" She wonders, staring at Caretaker. "How do you have a name already?" A pause and she glances at everyone. "I don't know how any of you have names, honestly. But then, I've never had much of a ... sense of identity while here." She moves over, smiling briefly at Martyr and Addict having their moment. She does glance at Optimist too. "I remember your arguments that you were still a giant snake, yes. And I am pretty sure I have you beaten on the guilt front. I almost killed my own brother, once." She nods gravely, shifting a moment to straighten the uniform a little. "I got to keep the uniform, this time."


"Blank as a notebook the day before classes start. Honestly," the Caretaker says as he sets down the bottle in his hand, "I just feel like a 'Gary'." It's the best explanation he can offer to Samantha. His clothes are drab, gray and black, more or less shapeless. His eyes flick from one person to the next. THEY are killers? They are forced to be killers? They...?

He stares down at his meal, trying to process, all traces of hunger having vanished. "Well," he says with a sigh, "it must be Thursday." He glances up at the others, shrugs to himself, and mumbles, "I never could get the hang of Thursdays."



"I killed my dad." Confidant says as a counter to Penitent. "He had it coming but still. Dad. Also, uh...Samantha. I'm going to call you Samantha for now, okay? I picked Chance because it was the only name I had at the time. I kept it because...I liked Chance a lot." He then regards Briar and Dare and he breathes a sigh of relief. "See? I told you they would be fine. Think I don't know my spouse? Married twice now." And Briar gets a warm, honest, loving look. Back to Gary. "Love and relationships will be covered in unit two. It's 102...202 kinda level shit. We're at 101. The shitty part. So, blood, terror, weirdness of a wide variety as Samantha and I can tell you. Did you know we are about to start our SEVENTH Go? Lucky? I'm not. I hate sand." He nods over to the television. "And I have a tendency to burn in the sun. I mean. Look at me. I usually look like this. Except the times I didn't." He sighs. "I wish I drank sometimes."


The Addict smiles at Chance, then walks over to give him a kiss on the cheek. "Love and relationships can be complicated. Married twice, head over heels in love four times now. Those feelings don't just go away." They walk over to Optimist and hold out their arms for a hug if he's willing. "Come here, you." To Penitent, they add, "You always filled out that uniform better than anyone."


"I need coffee, to be honest. Coffee and probably sedatives," says Arcade, and he says to Samantha "Well, I kind of think I have to develop a sense of identity, otherwise I'm either a giant monster that eats people, or I'm a sociopathic murderer who would maybe eat people. I don't know if I feel really guilty? I just feel confused. I don't know why I do what I do in there. I don't know why I'm so mean." He adds "I got this, though." And he takes a metallic object from his pocket, a thing of intricate futuristic technology wound in titanium grey and crystaline blue. A model of a human eye, as made by machines.

He glances at the Confidant, and then he says "I was here for one day before I was Ouroboras, but I was Ouroboras for _four years_. Man. What even _is_ a - oh, hi Briar." He awkwardly hugs the Addict, not taller than Briar - not with the heels Briar has on "Sorry for being an abusive employer," he says "I didn't mean it." Then he eyes Gary "Er, hi?"


The Martyr says seemingly in answer to the Penitent, tone a little bleak, and accent out of the Valencian gutter, "Ashes. I got ashes. I was hoping for a wedding ring, but the ashes were in my hand when I woke." Laughs suddenly, "At least you know where your towel is, Gary. We save the world. Mostly. This time several. All of human space really."

To Chance he says, "It suits you. Both the history and the meaning. You don't drink?" He trails after briar, mutely offering hugs as well. "It came all right in the end this time, Samantha, even if some of us died to make it so, and you did your best even if I didn't always agree. You have nothing to reproach yourself for." He sighs, "Arcade, you could be sweet even through all they did to your braain to make you like that."


"You did, but as you said, he had it coming." Penitent says with a sad sort of nod, finding a spot to settle down in next to Chance. "I get why you picked Chance. I only had Madison, but I didn't much like her even when she was all I knew." There's a glance back towards Caretaker and she nods slowly. "I don't feel like anyone. Or rather, I feel like everyone. But Madlynetilorrantha is a mouthful. That's Madison, Kylie, Anette, Emily, Lorraine and Samantha all rolled into one, for what it's worth. And it will likely just get bigger so it's hardly a fitting solution." She huffs and leans back in her chair.

"Sometimes those feelings do go away, it seems. Or if not away, just ... I don't know how to explain it." So she doesn't, smiling a thank you at Briar and nodding briefly before considering Arcade. "A sense of identity, sure. But never a name that worked for me." She inclines her head to stare at Martyr afterwards. "I have everything to reproach myself for," she murmurs quietly. "It's why I'm here."


Gary smiles wryly, nodding to Arcade. "Hey," he says. "New guy here." His hands fall on the table, and he smirks toward Dare. "Pretty sure my towel is in my room." And at the same time, while he knows the reference, he doesn't know WHY he knows it. He doesn't even know why the thing about Thursdays feels familiar, and right.

"So we're thrust into horrifying experiences, and sometimes we're killers, and sometimes we're victims, and usually we wind up saving the world. Do I have this right so far?" Gary asks. "Well, that sounds about right. Somebody's in trouble. Must be Tuesday." He blinks at Samantha for a moment before noting, "Seems far easier just to call yourself by the name you prefer. For all that you feel like all of them."



"I hated Jody for a while. And if you called me that, I would actually be kinda pissed." Chance admits. "But, after Derek I kinda came to terms with all of them being me. In a way." He looks to Gary now. "That is it in a nutshell. If you die there, you end up back here. I call it the In-Between. It's a rest area for the soul." He thinks for a moment. "And no, /I/ don't drink. I won't let a drop touch my lips and I have no idea why. All the others drank." His accent has changed over time but he sounds mostly like Teller here. Vaguely Texan but more importantly, the tone is warm and friendly and curious, but honest and straightforward.

"Where was I? Oh. You die--if you don't die you will still eventually wake up here. And then you will fall asleep and wake up in an Encounter. Here's the rub. You don't recall old ones within Encounters. And because we all have a role of some sort to fill in the Encounter, we tend to make the same flavor of mistakes. The same blindspots and weaknesses. But you are unaware of your own bullshit. You are just living life. And...then...you wake up here and you remember. All of the previous lives you have lived. So Samantha and I have six. Chance, Henry, Jody, Derek, Hodr-slash-Holden, and recently, Teller. Briar has half that. Dare and Arc less."


The Addict tells Arcade, "Honey, it's fine. Water under the bridge." They sit down at the table where the sushi and risotto wait. "My earliest reckoning, I was Martin Munson in Prospierity, Nevada. Then I was Danny Novak from California. Then I was Diamanto, a trans woman from, uh, Greece. Then Braden Bloom from some space station in the middle of nowhere." They beckon for Angel to come join them and set they roses down. "And every Encounter, I come back just a little different. I'm smarter now. Braden was scary smart, and now I know all this stuff about biology and astrophysics."


"Oh, dude, 'sweet' doesn't sound really very tough," says Arcade worriedly "Though so far I seem to live for some reason. Funny, right? I wonder why. Oh well. You can't go through life focusing on the negatives, can you?" He sits down with his coffee, and he says "Gary. Hmm. Okay, Gary - hi. I'm Arcade. We think I come from Capo Verde - off Africa. Túdu alguêm tâ nacê lívri í iguál nâ dignidádi cú nâ dirêtus?" He tests, to see if Gary can understand the creolised Portuguese. You never know when a clue will pop up to what this crazy place is!

"Er, that is an okay summary, I think? I've only been through two rounds - one failed one, which is not supposed to happen, and the last one. So I'm not very good at this yet - I'm sure I'll get better. Yes. I have been Ouroboras the World Snake and Harkaway, umn, Doctor Harkaway Aerglo." The man looks actually alarmed for the first time "We get changed, Briar?" he asks "...ugh. _Ughhhhh_. Man. I wonder if I should tell Security. Wait. Who's Security now?"


The Martyr says, “I liked Samntha, though I liked Emily too." He quick smile for Gary, "You're doing really well for a first time. Trust me on this. No panic or denial. I started out there, instead of in here. Some people do. I woke up in here thinking I'd gone mad. Almost imediately after coming to grips with this being real, I discovered I wasn't who i thought I was. All I remembered was being finn, but I so clearly and obviousl wasn't him. That's when I really lost it, but it's actually pretty nice here. I've been out there thrice."

Pulls a chir so he can sit with his leg touching Briar, "A lot of things shift out there, but the emotions are real and when we are here, the friendships and other relationships can carry on if everyone agrees. It can get a little tangled, but love matters, friendship matters. Whatever we do to each other out there, we have each other here." he smiles softly at arcade, "Oh, you were a conscienceless killer, but you weresweet to me toward the end." His tone is gentle and goes Spanish inflected again, "There is no security here, remember? Just residents."”


"If I had one name I prefered I probably would. But none of them are exactly me." Penitent says quietly, thoughtfully, nodding. "But all of them are parts of me, and which one I prefer depends on my mood. It would be easier if I could just decide on one." She frowns a little and leans back in thought, considering, and staring at Optimist wide eyed for a moment. "Is it not supposed to happen? Who says what is supposed to happen?" She frowns further and shakes her head.

A brief glance at Martyr, and she's reaching into a pocket -- Penumbra provided a decent amount of space in these uniforms -- and out comes a pair of expensive sunglasses that she's immediately setting upon her face. They're Emily's through and through. "You're an Angel," she muses, that quip so often spoken by Emily taking on an extra meaning for Dare now.


"Pretty sure that's Portuguese," says Gary. "'Cause it kinda sounds Spanish, but it's not quite. I can kinda understand about half the words." He studies Arcade for a few moments, trying to piece it together. "Something about freedom and equality, maybe? Dignity and direction? Or maybe 'right'? I'm sorry -- I don't understand much of it." He hasn't got the first clue as to the nature of this crazy place, such as it is... but he has figured out he knows some Spanish, at the very least.

"The way I see it," he continues, glancing toward Briar, "I don't have much choice in the matter. Either things are as you guys say or you're playing a prank on the new guy. If the latter, I go along expecting the worst and I'm happily surprised when I find out you're all putting me on. If the former, I go along expecting the worst and that's what I get, and people are gonna need me to be on the ball when the time comes. Even if I don't know who I am, why I'm there, or... you know. Anything."



"Yeah...Portuguese. A creole kind though." Confidant says quietly. "I recognize accents, down to the region. Only here. Dunno why." He stands up. "I need some, uh, rest. Gary, I leave you to these good people. We are all decent folk here. Even ones with uh, fucked up patterns? I'm always...someone to lean on. That is my role, purpose and job and I do it with gladness. My door is always open. I am always happy to assist in matters of the heart and mind. On the flip side? I take betrayal really, really seriously within Encounters. That's why I shot my father."

He swings by Briar as he starts to leave. "I won't wait up." He kisses them twice, corner of the mouth, then lips. He nudges Martyr and winks. "Oh, yeah...I meant to saw it but Angel is a really fucking fitting name for you. Jus' sayin. Samantha?" He sighs. "We should talk more. We've both been here a while and maybe we can just be tired together?" He grins and starts for his room. The one with the writing on the door.


The Addict kisses Chance in turn. "Love you," they murmur. "I'm going to eat your sushi." Then they scoot the plate of sushi over in front of themselves. To Caretaker, they say, "A lot of this stuff won't really click until you experience it and then come back to this place. My advice, not that anyone's asking, is to just rest, relax, meet people, and find your peace. Eat whatever you want, drink whatever you want. Don't worry about it, don't stress about it. Agonizing won't help you here, and if you ever want to hang out, I'm around. My door has the pill popper all bound up in chains. Fun!"


The Martyr gives a bark of laughter, "A fallen one perhaps. First a lawyer, then a god of life and dath, then an Angel, falling, falling into the Devil's Anus." He studies Gary and then recites in Spanish, "Por contemplar tus ojos negros,/¿qué daría yo?/¡Auroras de carbunclos irisados/abiertas frente a Dios!//(Las estrellas los cegaron/una mañana de mayo.)" ("To gaze at your dark eyes/what would I give/Dawns of rainbow garnet /fanning open before God— //The stars blinded them/one morning in May.). He leans forward and says, "We ren't putting you on, but there are consolations. Any food you want to eat, any book you want to read, two doors in the parlor that can take you to anywhen, anywhere. If you are lucky? Love." He kisses Briar's cheek. He smiles sadly up at Chance, "It hurts to be Angel though, and I'm far too selfish." he lightly strokes Briar's hair, "If you want me to cede... bedtime, I understand." To Gary he adds, "I'm the anatomically correct bleeding heart and i'm always happy to help."


"People here told me an event wasn't supposed to just stop and be rewound and then like, end up in the Facility here with no mementoes," says the Optimist to the Penitent "But...I don't really know?" It might be easy to forget he is still relatively new, in some ways. He purses his lips at 'conscienceless killer' and then he stares into his coffee, faintly concerned. The man lifts a hand to adjust his spectacles, and he says to Gary "That's right. Well. At least someone understands me a bit? Maybe you're from around there, or...something. I fear I may have been a bit awful in the last round, but I really don't want to do anything wicked now."

He glances sideways at Samantha, and he finishes his coffee, and he says "I don't know anything, I guess. My door has, ummmn. A guy running towards a tsunami with a surfboard. Sorry. I'm not really as 'deep' as the others."


%rGary nods to Dare in understanding. He got that. Most of it, anyway. He translates 'ojos negros' as 'black eyes' rather than dark, that sort of thing, but he understands. "Garcia-Lorca, isn't that?" he asks, a brow rising. "It doesn't matter if you're putting me on," he continues. "If you were, I'd never find out for sure, would I? It could just be a particularly long time between... encounters. I'm just going to run with it, try to do my part in whatever comes. It's not like I'll have a clue until after anyway. Good night, Chance, Briar. Nice to meet you both.

"I have no idea if I'm deep or not," he tells Arcade with a faint chuckle, reaching for his cider again, taking a swallow before he notes, "My door's the one with Atlas supporting the world."



"Just because it hadn't happened before doesn't necessarily mean it isn't supposed to happen," Penitent says thoughtfully, nodding her head, her eyes still obscured by those sunglasses. "We don't even know what this place really is, there's no real way to figure it out. I personally think the only place we're from, is here. And your talk of Africa and such places just comes from here, too." She shrugs a little, peering back at Martyr and shrugging. "I was a literal incarnation of guilt for a while there, who was also a conscienceless killer," she says a bit softly, glancing aside at Arcade again, offering a faint smile. "I've also been a killer with a conscience? I don't know ... how that helps really. At least Samantha tried to save lives, even if she made some ... mistakes."


The Addict gestures toward their table. "Come on, everyone, gather round. Let's eat Chance's sushi. Gary, you're being perfectly sensible. That'll serve you well. Arcade, I adore you. You too, Nette. I know that doesn't make it all better, but I'll get drunk with you when you want to forget." Then to Dare, they say, "You're not ceding bedtime. You're staying with me and continuing to make it up to me."


The Martyr tells Arcade, "I was proud of you there, you know that, right? How far you came, hoe mch you grew, how hard you tried. I loved you with eyes open, but I did love you." He gazes at Briar, "I want that. I just...I've been unloveable so long it's hard to believe I can be loved.

he gives Gary a warm smile nd practically purrs the name, accent thinkening, "Lorca. Federico García Lorca yes. The closest thing I had to religion when I was Angel. It sounds like your spanish is better than my French." He smiles at Samattha, "I still think we may be copies of people out there with details erased, if there is a real world to be from anyway. I still think samantha was a good person doing her best."


The Optimist says "I don't know anything, and...I. It's important for me to know where I come from. My culture is important to me, as a person. I don't remember it in real bits, but it's a big part of who I am. To _me_ the general language everyone speaks here is foreign. The things people talk about - they're American, in focus or. Wording, a lot of the time. Tenses, chosen nouns, that kind of thing. Maybe others don't notice that, but I do, because to me it's not who I am."

He nods to the Caretaker "Hmm, that's an interesting metaphor. I mean, it's fascinating. Could mean a whole bunch of different things-" He pauses, and stares at the Addict and the Martyr both for a moment (love! How do you even handle it?), then says "I know. And I didn't even try. But...I just got an idea!" And he dashes out, quickly.


"I will certainly take you up on sushi at some point," the Caretaker says as he rises from the table, taking his bottle, leaving the remains of his food. "But I think I need to take awhile to... digest all of this." He pauses a moment, considering his own words, then smiles wryly. "Pun not quite intended. Nice to meet all of you. Really. Even under the circumstances."



"I don't like to drink very often." Penitent confesses with a nod towards Addict. "Two of my selves were pretty much alcoholics. For the longest time I wouldn't drink at all in here, because of Madison. Sometimes I do, but ..." she shakes her head. "Forgetting my burdens isn't the point. Learning how to live with them is." She does smile a moment at being called Nettie, and the next object comes out of a pocket -- Nettie's own wedding ring. The silver band, Prosperity mined silver of course, set with the simple diamond design. She slides it over the finger of her right hand, peering at it thoughtfully. "I realized I can wear basically everything I get to keep. So why not." She murmurs to whoever might be listening.

For Martyr, she nods. "Samantha was a good person doing her best. But she made mistakes and she felt them strongly. The guilt, like they all do." Finally her face turns towards Caretaker. "Goodbye, for now ... Gary."


"I'm not sure how I'm going to react to alcohol now, to be honest," Briar says. They help themselves to the sushi, pausing to look briefly blissful after that first delicious mouthful. "Mmm, this is so good. Braden really struggled with alcohol. He tried so hard, and he actually did it. He made it to the end without going on a bender." They smile warmly at Penitent. "Own what's yours, gorgeous."

They take Martyr's hand in theirs and says, "You need to stop with the 'being unloveable' stuff. You're loveable. If you weren't, I'd be some kind of crazy person."


The Martyr watches the Optimist go, eyes straying to his muscular rear, then sighs, "At least he is sober and letting me hug him again." He gives Caretaker a friendly wave, "It may feel like a madhouse now and like picking up a soap opera in the middle, but it'll be home soon enough. sleep well, Gary. There should be a bathroom attatched to your bedroom, furnished to your tastes." He sighs, "We both made mistakes that time. Too many really, but our intetions were good." He smiles sadly, "I wish angel had thought to design the memorial with a loop for a thong, but I suppose the taking it in and out of pockets and poucheswas part of the... penence."

He lifts Briar's hand to kiss, "I am sorr, so sorry. I can't... find the peice of me that's gone missing. I'm trying, but my balance is... all to the dark. When Angel hurt he... gave up things. Anything that mattered, really. It's hard to remember what I did before I was Angel. I am trying not to push you away, but every instinct is telling me to do it, because you are what matters to me most here."


"It took me a while to get over it, I think. Then Emily came along and now I'm not quite sure how I feel about it all. But ... given your door image, it feels like a bigger deal for you." Penitent says with a nod of her head. Next of her things to come out? A multitool, with lots of bits and pieces for working with fine electronics. She considers it with a smile, and clips it easily to her belt. The final piece is a cellphone. To be specific, an iPhone, straight from 2018, which she peers at thoughtfully, shaking her head. She seems lost in thought a moment, perhaps giving the pair of them a moment, but she does look up at the word 'penence', he gaze still hidden beneath the sunglasses, but there's an understanding obviously upon her face.

"It's not a piece that's gone missing," she says quietly, her voice a little tired. "It's a new piece, something you never expected, that you just don't know how to fit into the rest of you. It's probably why you feel unbalanced, too," she offers in that gentle tone. "You'll find your way through, with help."


"Well stop it," Briar tells Dare. "We feel by doing. When you feel like pushing me away, embrace me. Stop showing me the door and telling me it's okay if I walk through it." They eat more sushi, and they're enjoying it quite a bit from the look of it. "I am so over ship rations," they say. Then they tell Dare, "Look, you can say whatever you want. I'm not going to leave you. I just... I feel like when you say that stuff I have to refute it, and it feels like an argument. If you need to say it, just, let's frame it for our deep conversations where I can detach a little? Is that okay?"

They offer Nette a small but kind smile. "I think I'm lucky in some ways. I've never really done anything I can't reconcile. So I don't feel like I should speak to it. I trust you guys to know what you're about."


The Martyr gives the former Samantha a baleful look, "Then why do I feel so hollowed out? Can you add emptiness?" He responds to briar, by wrapping his arms around their waist and burying his nose in their hair.


"I don't know," Penitent says in a sad tone, reaching up to slip the sunnies off her face and look at Martyr proper. "I felt the same after ... after the very first time, when I was just Madison, then I was here. And I felt it again after being Lorraine." She inhales a deep breath and shakes her head. "It'll get better. People who care for you have a habit of helping," she says with a smile at a fond memory. "And ... I don't know. The next thing comes along eventually and that memory gets a little more distant. I'm no great font of wisdom."


The Addict stops eating sushi in favor of wrapping their arms around Dare. "Listen to her, love. She's speaking wisdom, here. It sucks right now, but it'll get better. We'll take care of you. I just need you to believe that, okay? Nette's done this a time or two. She knows what she's talking about."


The Martyr whispers, "I wish I could go back. It felt so good being me, but this was like hitting a wall going ninety." He sighs and kisses Briar's ear, "I trust you, Babe. Chance said you're my true North."


The Creepshow comes from the parlor.


"There is plenty that we would all go back to. If we could," Penitent says softly, giving a slow nod of her head. "And you can pretend, with those rooms. I think that's probably what they're for. But going back is ... sometimes they can help. But I think it's too easy to got lost in a lie, in there. I felt a bit thrown after Emily, too. And your first time really meeting me was an odd one because of that; all I wanted to do was go back."


The Addict tells Martyr, "Listen to Chance. He's right." They plant a kiss on Martyr's lips. Then they tell Penitent, "I know I only see a small part of everything that goes on in your lives, but I hold you in high esteem. It's not about what you've done or haven't done. It's just... I care about you. For whatever that's worth."


The Martyr reaches a hand out to the Penitent, "I consider you a friend, you know. I wish there were a way to lighten your burden." He melts into that kiss, clinging to Briar.


Penitent has gotten herself her collection of 'things' from the story. She's wearing that Penumbra uniform, all crisp and precise and perfect. Emily Reed's sunglasses dangle from one finger, and occasionally glimpses of Anette's wedding ring can be caught on the other. A multitool, Kylie's, hangs from the belt on the uniform, and Madison's cellphone rests now on the table.

"I don't know what I did to make you think so highly of me," she tells Addict, shaking her head. "But thank you. And I'm not sure my burden is supposed to be lightened. It's just ... it's there, always. You wonder about doing penance, I spend most of my waking moments thinking about it. I am Penitent, always. The weeping woman."


The Addict holds Martyr and murmurs to him, "It's going to be okay, sweetheart." They coax him to sit up a bit and offer him some sushi. "Try to eat something," they say. "Do normal, human things, and you'll start to feel normal again. Being in recovery taught me that. You know, that's the first time I've ever been through a drug rehab program, when Braden was with the cultists."


The Martyr adds extra wasabi and eats it, shoulder still pressed to briar's, 'This is really good. I miss real food." He takes a breath, "I'm not used to beig taken care of anymore." He gazes at brair, "You really were sunshine in that terrible place. Even struggling as you were it was... good being aroud you."


The Addict says, "Sushi is good comfort food. Let us just take care of you for awhile, okay?" They smile a little and glance down. "I'm just a godamn delight, huh? I got lucky. I never had it in my head. I haven't asked Senni yet how she's doing. She got hit with it pretty hard. I should check up on her. I'll do that tomorrow. I bet her and Chance are bunking up tonight, so I'll leave them to it."


The Martyr kisses their shoulder, "May I stay with you tonight then? I just... everything is better when I can hold you. I keep... It's like a stair not being there when I take a step. But you being here helps. It really does."


"You'd better stay with me tonight," Briar says. "I'm not sleeping alone." They take a deep breath, let it out, and admit, "I haven't really gotten to deal with the fear of it all, and the guilt, and the loss. I'm trying to be strong for everyone else, but tonight, I really need someone to be there. I never want to feel that helpless again. I was supposed to be the guy with all the answers, and that thing was just... it was horrific."


The Martyr strokes Briar's cheekbone with his thumb, watching their face, "Me either, Love. I just wanted to desperately to protect you all and there was nothing I could do, especially once I became compromised. The helplessness was terrible." He smiles crookedly, "Something in common I suppose." A gentle kiss, "I think it would be a good night for scented candles. You are... light, even when my sun is out."


The Addict says, "Dare, you kept me clean, and you were emotional support keeping the rest of us functional. You stayed at the end. You and Jazz. You're why we got to go home." They rest their forehead against Martyr's, then draw away and say, "I'm going to soak in a bubble bath for a bit, then we'll see about those scented candles, all right? Just come in when you're ready."


The Martyr kisses them again, "I'll eat a little something and meet you there. I don't think baths are such a good idea for me right now. I swore to get you out, love. I meant it, evven if you were my metaphorical brother then. Thank you. for being patient."


After her little moment of self-identification, Penny hopped up and wandered off to get something to eat. She comes back with that something. It's eggs. Scrambled eggs to be precise, and she settles back down at the table, offering that simple, guileless smile once again to the par of them. She's there, but she's also not, simply giving them their own moment.


The Addict returns the kiss, then gathers up their truffle roses, and they give Penny's shoulder a squeeze. "Don't let him get too down on himself," they say. "We need to be building each other up while we're here, I think." They head toward the parlor, glancing over their shoulder to blow Martyr a kiss.


The Martyr returns the blown kiss, wtching Briarleave with aopen longing and he goes to collect paella and a cup of herbed beer like they brewed along the nile long, long ago, "It's weird what tastes like home someties isn't it? Sushi and Paella and ancient brews." He gives the Penetent a sad smile, "You really are helping you know, even if I seem ungreatful."


With Emily's sunglasses back on, Penitent starts to devour the eggs heartily. "I think eggs are just the actual best food," she notes in that tone that almost childlike in its innocence. "Especially in here where we can do whatever and wake up the next day like it doesn't matter." She beams a smile across the way at Martyr, and inclines her head a little. "I don't think you seem ungrateful. I don't really know what the right thing to say is. If there even is a right thing to say that will make it all better. There probably isn't. And," she peers off after Briar, considering. "I'm not sure I'm the right person to talk to about not getting too down on yourself."


The Martyr smiles, "The food is definately one of the better things here." He eats for a bit, picking out scallops with Briar's chopsticks and chewing thoughtfully, "You've figured out how to surpive this emotionally. That's something." He eats some of the saffron rice, "I suspect the down on yourself part is like the... self destructive tendancies that were so far in front this time for me. The thread running through us." He closes his eyes, "I think I swung to far the other way when I was Osiris. This is the pendulum swinging back. The fundamental duality of my nature trying to right itself and possibly failing, at least this iteration. It scares me sometimes, that I have no limits once the switch gets flipped."


The Thrill-Seeker comes from the parlor.


"I don't know about survive. Mostly I just pretend like everything's fine and the only thing that matters is how much I love eggs, or something," Penitent points out with a brief smile, and shrugs her shoulders. "It just sort of happened but eventually I realized what I was doing. Sometimes it's simply easier that way, I think." She shakes her head. She's sitting at a table with Martyr, dressed in the uniform that Samantha wore on the Icarus Project. That familiar corporate grey, the Penumbra logo. Even the id badge, complete with 'Project Icarus Director: Davies, Samantha' written on it. But she's wearing other things as well. The sunglasses that clearly come from Emily's collection, a wedding ring on one finger, a silver band set with diamonds. A multitool, and a smartphone are clipped to her belt. "Do you really think you had no limits? I'm not so convinced about that." She offers quietly.


There is sound from the other room. Someone growls from the Parlor a muffled, "Fuck that noise," Followed by some stomping and some door slamming.


The Martyr is dressed in blue plaid pajama bottoms with a vintage, slightly beat up shriekback evolutions tee shirt, under a purple and blck paisley silk bathrobe. He is currently eating paella with chopsticks while drinking Ancient Egyptian style beer. He is unshaven, and looks very like Angel, with a slightly longer haircut. "So really you're the opposite of Sam I Am? what's the egg equivalent of cookie Monster? Gonzo maybe? But you don't look like a Gonzo." He selects an oyster, sucking it down, "Most of the time I do have limits, but flip that switch and I'll do literally anything for what I think is the right reason." A pause, then he calls, "Cheer? I have beer!"


"I'm not sure I really have a point of reference for what you're suggesting," Penny says in that same, simple voice. "It's uh. I don't know. It doesn't have to be eggs. Sometimes it's ice cream. Sometimes it's swimming pools. I just think on the small, little pleasures and don't let myself even consider, let alone worry about, the bigger picture, you know? It's not ... always healthy." She nods slowly, then peers towards the parlour, brows lifting up.


The sound of a door thudding back open. More stomping and angry feet. Then a growling roar that sounds -very- Sekhmet followed by the sound of shattering glass. Two more crunches come in rapid succession and in the time it takes to walk from TV to Dining Room she appears. Lip twitching, Eagon the Shovel in hand, she is stalking straight fro the dispensor. But comes up short, blinking rapidly, as she looks between Dare and Penitent. "Hi," She says in a kind of dead-pan voice for the violence heard seconds earlier.


The Martyr sips his beer, "Maybe the middle path is best. It's hard to get perspective." Waatches her over the rim of his mug, "You okay, Doll?"


When that sound comes, Penitent winces a little. "Oh, I wanted to watch that," she murmurs to herself with a small despondent little sound, shaking her head and then returning her attention to her eggs for a moment. At least she can enjoy her eggs. "Hello," she says in her plain, simple little tone, glancing up at Thrill-Seeker with a smile, her eyes hidden behind those sunglasses.


The Thrill-Seeker grips the wooden shaft of Eagon tighter at Penitent's words and she frowns faintly. Her mouth opens and then closes and she shrugs and turns to go to the dispensor. Pushing buttons to get something a little harder than beer. "Nope. Not okay. Not at all. Drank all the whiskey in my room," She says, words slurring now that she is doing more than cursing from the other room. And the way she walks does have a notable sway to it.


The Martyr murmurs, "Tomorrow perhaps, once she's had time to get used to it." He rises and offers Cheer a hug, "You want to eat anything with that, Doll? You can have some of my paella if you like."


Penitent just keeps on that almost childlike smile for Thrill-Seeker before turning it upon Martyr, shrugging her shoulders and nodding in a vague agreement at the simple idea of 'tomorrow'. Her attention really is absorbed by these delicious eggs. Until they're finished, anyway, and she leans back a little. "I'm sorry there wasn't enough whiskey in your room," she says, and does sound honestly apologetic about it.


The Thrill-Seeker snatches the bottle from the dispensor and turns to see Dare offering her a hug. She makes a soft little choking noise and then kind of falls into that hug. "No. Sssfish n' booze bad," She replies in a slur as she hugs Dare tight. The bottle thumping into his back with her floppy nature. It allows her to look at Penitent over his back. And for her to see the big sloppy tears in her eyes. "I don' like space." She tells her friends.


The Martyr holds her tight a long time, smelling of citrus and fougere. Familiar. "I don't like space either. What's good with booze, Love. Pizza? Chicken." he keeps his arms around her as he starts trying to walk her towards the table, "Eggs. We were just talking about the wonders of well cooked eggs. I'll get you anyting you want to eat, okay?"


The Creepshow heads to the parlor.


"One of my favourite people was on a space station," Penitent says with a sigh, shaking her head a little. "But I'm not sure we can truly 'like' any place we've been. I don't know. The worst part was losing my mind." She pushes the plate away and pulls the sunglasses free again, setting them aside a moment as she looks at Thrill-Seeker thoughtfully, with that look sometimes used on people when they're considering someone so much younger than themselves.


"I...I've, er. I've never _not liked_ any place I went to," says the Optimist as he enters, his arms completely full of books "Have you guys heard of a Nintendo Switch with a Joy Con? There's this great song by someone called 'Jamiroqoi' on it..." He spots the Thrill-Seeker and coughs "Er, sorry I planned to murder you."


The Thrill-Seeker seems to prefer to cling to Angel at the moment as she considers food options. Breathing in the familiar scent of him. "Pears," Is the answers she gives him. "Canned," And she seems to pulls back and wipes her teary face on the sleever of her red pajamas. Her hair is something of a mess, but probably no surprised considering she's kind of drunk. As Optimist enters she just kind of gives him this uncomprehending stare. It lasts a good two heartbeats. "Huh?" Is her final answer. Then she's uncorking the very finely aged whiskey and swigging from the bottle.


The Martyr eyes the Penitant, "I still feel dirty on the inside from that. How... bad was it for you?" He eyes Optimist, "I know those are all words, but what do they mean?" He narrows his eyes, "I thought I explained to Harkaway how important she was to both Braden and myself." He kisses Cheer's cheek and tries to navigte her into a chair, "With or without cinnamon, Doll?" He winces at the swigging.


"I know what a Nintendo Switch is. One of my selves was alive in ... 2018. So." She nods there. "I don't know about great songs though," she admits, brows lifting up a little. There's a small laugh and she shakes her head at Martyr. "You could tell Harkaway a lot of things and he would not and accept your explanation and instantly dismiss it afterwards if he wanted to." A pause. "Penumbra had files. I read them extensively. It was like a user guide for handling him on your team."

To Martyr, she nods slowly. "It was loud. Come and See, over and over in my head to begin with. My thoughts would drift off and I'd just be muttering it under my breath all the time. Then it got even louder. It's why Samantha clung to her need to save lives so strongly. Even other lives. It kept her mind together, clinging to her personal code."


The Optimist says quickly "Never mind then!" And he pops the books onto the table and then he says to the Martyr "It's a type of gaming system from where I came form. And there's a dance game, it's really fun. When I get stressed I like to, uh, dance - or, you know, just. Try and make sure that I can get the stress out?" He claps his hands together, and then he sasys "I have one in my room!" He glances at Angel "He was jealous of Angel's close, uh, emotional connections. He wasn't, umh. He wasn't good at a lot of stuff." He then looks at Samantha, startled "There...wow. Did you? Were there any actual good parts?" And then he says "...why. Did Harkaway never get that? I mean, none of the exposures bothered him. The only thing in his mind was him. Forever."


The Thrill-Seeker turns to look at Dare and frowns at his question of spice. "Uhhh..." It takes her a second. "No. No, just...simple's best," And she moves to sit down near Samantha. The bottle is set down and she rubs at her eyes. Looking at Optomist between her fingers with a vague frown. "I...am far too drunk for me to likely remember this conversation," She informs the group with a floppy wave of one hand. "However!" And she holds up a finger. "I, erm, Jazz wanted to make friends with 'im...and then her head wasn't right and all I could think 'bout was blowing stuff up. Y'know how many times I hadta resist goin' N' pressin' buttons?" The slur is harder the more she speaks. A frown follows and she slumps into her chair. "I don't like space." She reiterates.


The Martyr give the Penitant a crooked smile, "I knew what he was, and gave him pragmantic reasons not to harm Jazz. I think I handled him pretty well, given his nature, level of frustration, and the confined space. It could have been so much worse, really. Thanks for not asking about the bite that time you saw me wihout my make up, by the way. That was very much not a conversation I wanted to have with you or North." He listens to the second half and nods, "I couldn't hear what they were saying, but it...made all the other things so much worse, used the language of my thoughts against me, and it kept getting louder. I was scared it would use my memory againsst me and get someone killed."

He gives the Optimist a soft smile, "Last time we all fell asleep getting ready to go clubbing. I really did want to go, and you were going to teach uss to dance double step at some point. I'd half forgotten...."

Once Cheer is seated, he goes to get her pears. "Maybe Harkaway was his own monster whispering in the dark." He sets the dish and fork in front of her and kisses te top of her head, "Thank you for not blowing us up, Lovely. I really apreciate it." He pulls his food and mug across and settles on her other side.


"Well, I should have paid more attention to how he was handling his own team, for one," Penitent says thoughtfully, nodding. "But with everything going on I kind of just let that slide. I don't know why you never saw them. They were probably above your ... his ... clearance." She shrugs a little, fidgeting with the ring on her finger a moment. "Oh well."

She gives Thrill-Seeker another smile, and offers an arm for further hugs. "Space isn't so bad. That was ... claustrophobic is all. Locked away with Them outside. Did you ever see the Twin Galaxies Observatory on the Noc?" She smiles fondly at the memory, glancing aside at Martyr and snickering. "Samantha didn't want to know the details, even though she probably should have, corporate policies and all. She was more aware of what went on than you'd think."


"I don't think he could have friends, miss," says the Optimist to the Thrill-Seeker "I think...he just had categories of people that he could use, and that he couldn't use. He was really badly, um." He thinks "He was very _well_ designed. But the way you'd design a machine. Not a person." He puts his elbows on the table, ahving already pulled out a chair, and he says "Oh, yeah, I was going to take you to some sort of club. It was going to be really fun." He beams, and then he sasy "I could really go a beer. How do we make this thing produce beer?"

He says to Samantha "Harkaway did see the writing, and the aliens. He just never. Reacted to it, somehow. Like it couldn't touch him. But he'd done all this work to make sure he was programatically protected - which should have been easily violated. I don't know. I think the thing worked on the pre-frontal cortex, and since his was super disconnected and damaged...oh, wow. I know what a pre-frontal cortex is!" He tilts his head, and he says "There were corporate policies?"


The Thrill-Seeker finally sets Eagon the Shovel down. Leaning it against the table so she can lean in to hug Penitent. "No...never went to the Noc...but have some memories of some pretty epic shit. Orbiting Io with Jupiter filling the sky for one..." Her lips twitch with the first semblance of a smile. As Dare sets the food down she reaches out to take his hand once free, pressing a kiss to the back. "Thanks, babe," She says and pick up the fork and pull the bowl towards her. The simple food is slowly nibbled at. "Has...anyone seen Brae---ir?" She manages to turn Brae into Briar. Not that hard, but noticable all the same. She eyes Optimist and just looks, sad and pitifully at him. "That's horrible...I'm sorry you had to deal with that...Ugh."


The Martyr says, “It was better left as it was. It was handled. For the most part the Agreement held until it was time to go into the pods. Corporate policies didn't take into accout how strong his drive was and how likely he was to act out wit team members if there wasn't a... better way to focus that drive." He studies Harkaway for a long moment, then askes the artist formally known as samantha, "Would you have married us? If we'd come to you and asked?"

He smiles at the Optimist, "We could still go and dance. If you want a beer it will give you one, whatever kind you like." When Cheer lets his hand go, he strokes her hair while she eats, "You just missed them. They are ravishing as ever. Their husband and wife made it back safe too."”


"I don't know why it affected some people and not others as much, Arcade. Maybe Harkaway just had more mental fortitude. Just the same way KJ Macleod managed to hold it together enough." Penitent shrugs her shoulders. "Some time," she asides to Thrill-Seeker, "I'm going to take you to the Noc. It's one of my favourite places, as one of my favourite people." She nods the once, as though it's just a thing that's going to happen now. "Also I still kind of want to rob a train," she confesses thoughtfully, inclining her head and grinning at the idea a moment.

She peers at Dare, considering. "Probably. Nyka and Blaise got married after all. Is it weird that I married off the woman who was my sister once? That's a little strange. Though if it was Harkaway involved Samantha may have been somewhat ... alarmed. There would have been a lot of questions."


The Optimist says to the Thrill-Seeker "Oh well, it could be worse! You know, you should look on the bright side - which is that I don't seem to be that upset about it all, because I didn't have the capacity to, uh, make. Any connections very easily?" He adds "...sort of like. Ouroboras. I mean. He loved everyone, I guess, but he thought that he could improve people, and that's. Not really love. You shouldn't like, erm, always want to change everyone you're with."

He finally seems to decide beer is important enough to get up and collect it "I don't experience those, erm. Drives." And then he pulls back a Japanese beer, and he says "I'm gonna guess that relationships get _really complex_ around here." He shoots Samantha an odd look "That almost sounds like a compliment for Harkaway. I'm kind of surprised that. Anyone is still talking to me. But yes, he proposed to Harkaway who, erm. Sort of accepted. In his own way."


"Robbing a train sounds like hecka fun," Cheer comments after a swallow. Then she looks at dare and raises a brow. "Fuck. Everyone but me was married to everyone else..." She actually looks vaguelly annoyed and turns back into her pears. She just might be sulking drunkenly as she eats. "Hrmph..." She stabs a pear slice with viciousness. The woman snorts at Optomist's comments, but doesn't say anything else. Instead reaches out for the whiskey and a swig.


The Martyr smiles at the former Samantha, "I've never done either of those things." his eyes go wide, "They got married? Good! I was hoping they'd gt hitched eventually. I wasn't sure they had the sense to do it before things went completely to hell." His gaze is steady, "Angel knew. He hadn't access to the whole file, but he knew enough. I propsed after he'd... told me something pretty terrible I'd been digging to find out since before launch. It seemed like the... best thing for everyone. For Harkaway. For the people around him that he had someone... An Angel on his shoulder, perhaps. except aparently he planned to kill a bunch of people whhile I was in cryo and couldn't see, but I never got in the pod. At least it was a quick death." He smiles at Arcade, "I suspect it's simpler to be out of it entirely." He tudies Cheer's profile, "Osiris wouldn't have called us married, but we were that time weren't we?"


"Most of us learned long ago not to blame people here for what happens in there." Penitent says with a small nod. "Relationships do get complicated. I only got three times in in and I'd already married my brother from another life," she lifts her hand there to show off the ring. "Got the keepsake and all. That was a strange time, but otherwise I understand not having those drives. I mean, you all saw Samantha, right?" She nods as if it's obvious.

She peers at Cheer and easily slips into her easy early 1900's 'old west' drawl.. "You ain't never met Nettie Hargreave did you? How'd that line go? I could get up in the mornin', rob a train, two stage coaches and hold up a bank and still have time to get back into your bed before you even knew I was gone, darlin'." She winks the once before nodding a confirmation at Martyr.


"Yes, but the difference is that marrying you would have been a _good_ idea, and marry Harkaway would have been a _bad_ idea," says the Optimist as he opens his beer "I mean, really, what could Harkaway actually offer to anyone?" He shakes his head a bit, and then he says "Erm. Man. I just feel kind of weird." And then the Optimist sighs "Well, he didn't kill those people, because I woke up. He did kill that other W-Y agent, however, and made it look like an accident. Even the ship thought it was, or something. Or so he thought. I don't know. I'm not that bright." And then he says to Samantha "Gosh! But non eof us are related, are they? I did see Samantha. Harkaway liked her. He had her on a green sticker until she let W-Y in, and then he made her red." He sighs, and then he stares "Gosh!" at the impression.


The Thrill-Seeker glances up at Dare and a weak smile is given. "Quick? It didn't feel quick for me...I dunno," She looks back tot he table top. Getting a kind of blank expression, pear on her fork, and just kind of sits there for almost a minute. Finally she looks up at Penitent and smiles. "That's nice..." And then stands, leaving whiskey and pears on the table. "I...need to go..." Eagon is not forgotten, though, in her sudden haste as she hugs it to her chest. Arcade's continued prattling on does hold her up and she just stares at him. Wide eyed and sort of incredulous with her red and hazy eyes. She almost looks tempted, in that moment, to hit him with said shovel. Her grip certainly shifts and tightens.


The Martyr flashes the former Nettie one of his sunny smiles. He gives Optimist a gentle smile, "I wasn't lying to you last night, nor was I lying to harkaway when I proposed or on the... prrevious occation best not metioned. That place was terible for me, but towards the end, Harkaway was... helping mme hold things together. What we had was... fucked up by a lot of standards, but it really was as good as things got for Angel." His eyes go wide, "The stickers! you were deciding who got pods, weren't you? The reds you were goig to kill to make more room!" He smakes his forehead, "I was an idiot!" He catches the look on Cheer's face, "It's not Arcade's fault. They did extensive brain surgery and conditioning to make Hrkaway like that and Arcade isn't responsible." He tries to hug her from behind, "This was a bad one for me, it was a bad one for him. it looks like it was a bad one for you. Do you... want me to walk ou to your room?"


"Nice? Psh. Nettie Hargreave was one of the fiercest outlaws in the west!" Penitent counters, shaking her head. "You had to be there, I guess," she says with a small sigh, shaking her head. "I don't think any of us are related, no. Given all the different people we've been, I'm not sure it ... matters, really." She shrugs again, shifting once Thrill-Seeker stands again, watching her a moment.

"Did you?" She wonders of Optimist and the murder of the W-Y operative. "Samantha was going to deliver him to Penumbra security for thorough interrogation. Both of them, and save their lives in the process." She doesn't seem all that phased about the whole 'red sticker' thing, shrugging her shoulders. "Samantha felt pretty terrible about how it turned out."


The Optimist does pause as he realises that the Thrill-Seeker is looking as though she might hit him. If anything, he seems mildly hurt "...well. Alright," he mutters, falling quiet and drinking his beer. Even if he might get resurrected, he does not want to die. He shoots an awkward look at the Martyr, and he sighs "Yes. He was bad at remembering people he didn't care directly about, so he had stickers for it all." He then says "Erm. I don't seem. To stay upset very long. Other people need more aid than me." He says to Samantha "Umn, given she was up against a _god_, really. I think it was a good outcome."


The Thrill-Seeker shakes her head and looks from Optomist and back at Samantha. "Sorry. It...it sounds good. I just...I can't," She says and relaxes her grip enough to rub her face. "Bad is barely scratching the surface, babe," This is said much quieter, but she lets herself be hugged. "I ain't fit for company, but I definitely would love you talking me," She tries a smile, but it doesn't even make it onto her lips. Trembling and them falling away into the mask she wore when she came in. "Sorry Arc...I just...you're far too perky for what all just happened and...and..." She fails at words and growls and turns to begin stalking towards the hall of rooms. The mask gone into a frustrated scowl.


The Martyr shrugs, "I've had three bodies. It's the emotions that matter to me. The relationships we make and choose." He nods, "We killed a God, minds half broken and all, we fought with verything we had and we died saving humanity. That's got to be worth something." He calls to Cheer, "I could come sing you to sleep if you liked?"


"I think ... it turned out how it turned out," Penitent says quietly. "In theory even less people would have died if Samantha had not let the W-Y operatives in but there's nothing to be done for that. She was who she was." She shakes her head, looking after Thrill-Seeker and giving an apologetic smile. "Sorry," she says quietly after the other woman. "I ... I forget how new you are to a lot of this, still," she lowers her gaze a little, staring at the table a moment before picking up those sunglasses again, staring at them. "You also haven't died a horrible painful death and then woke up here to remember it in detail," she notes to Optimist quietly.


"Sorry," says Arcade, a bit awkwardly still, though he does look relieved at the idea that he might not be about to be chopped up. He watches Cheer go, a little worriedly, and he shakes his head slowly, and he then stares at his beer "I. Um. I seem to have problems with feeling negative emotions." And he has another drink of his beer, and he sasy to Samantha "No. Erm. Do people not like me because of that? You know, I haven't really suffered enough?"


The Thrill-Seeker pauses at the exit to the parlour and hallway beyond. "I'd really like that, Dare," She says, not turning back to the group. A steadying hand on the wall while the other holds Eagon. "Would it be bad to say I think I need it?" She glances over her shoulder, through nappy and messed hair, back at him. Then she continues to walk towards her room, waving limply at Arcade and Penitent. Retreating sheepishly after her drunken display.


The Martyr calls to the Optimist and the Penitent, "If Briar comes looking tell them I'll be along once she's settled." He winces, "I still can't eat pork even though Angel did." He says firmly, "I consider us friends, Arcade and I like you just fine." He runs to catch up, ducking under her arm and wrapping an arm around her waist, "Have you heard my new singing voice yet, Lovely? I think you'll like it."


The Martyr heads to the parlor.


Lifting her hand, Penitent gives a finger wiggle of a wave to the departing pair before shaking her head a little. "I don't think that's the case. I can't speak for everyone of course, but no one here really ... seems to want to see anyone else suffer. It just tends to be what happens." She says quietly. "I wish I had that problem though. With not being able to feel negative emotions. It can just be hard though. People process things differently, I suppose. It is probably awkward to say that I deal with it better because I've been through it so many times now? I've had my share of horrible deaths, and watching people I care about die."


"I just. Never really feel like I can't fix things as long as I try hard enough, for some reason," says the Optimist "I mean, uhhh, it's pretty weird changing, you know, sexual orientation regularly, when I'm actually _happy_ with who I am normally?" He purses his lips "I don't get the changes, either. Some people change gender, or sex, or race. What's with that." And then he says "If it helps, I guess not...I don't think either Ouroboras or Harkaway ever really suffered. Hark would have when he woke up and Angel was gone, but he'd have probably tried to make himself feel better by killing, erm, you."


"I do know. It is pretty weird," Penitent agrees with this. "But all those other changes are ... fairly new, actually. People changing who they actually appear to be. I don't get it. I've been the same ever since the beginning. I guess talk to Wendy about that? You remember Mads. That's Wendy. She was the first of us to physically change. "Samantha probably would have deserved it if she'd made it out of there," Penitent says with a shake of her head. "See. Where you feel like there's nothing you can't fix ... I always feel like things are my fault, and I have to make up for them. We all have something that ... defines us like that. Some are harder than others to figure out."


"I remember Mads," says Harkaway "Yes, I've met Wendy. She seems to like things being creepy, but I can't tell if Mads did or not. The ageing seems to be a bit different - and Harkaway had one eye, and I have two. I think I'm a little younger. Hmmmm...but I'm always black. And I'm always, er. Upbeat? Or at least, if not that, than okay." And then he frowns "...so, er, forgive me for asking this - but why do I get such an easy ride then? All the other bits seem much, much worse - addiction, the desire to kill ourselves, your feeling everythign is your fault. I just always feel it'll all be okay."


"She does like things a little creepy, yes." Penitent says, her tone fond all the same. "Yeah, little things like that can change. Last time we were in space, there was one woman with a cybernetic leg that she didn't have here." She shifts, leaning one elbow against the table, cradling her face with her hand and giving a lopsided shrug. "You know, I have no idea. I'm not really sure how you can be so upbeat, trapped in here. At least I feel like I deserve to be in prison, even if I can't really figure out why, but I don't exactly 'like' it. But unfortunately ... there's just no answers to be had."


"Actually, I was thinking - we've tried a few things, but I think all of us should see what happens if we create axes and heavy things - like a water hammer, I could build one of those! - and hack our way through the walls. What happens? Do you just keep finding bricks? Or what?" The man's eyes glitter thoughtfully, and then he says "I have like. Feelings. Of things having. Of having had parents. And people who loved me. I know people are going to come for me. Just like. I know people didn't like what I am, as well - that I don't really feel romance, or, uh. You know. Want to have a partner. Things I know, without remembering why I know them. Anyway! So what happens the deeper we dig? You've been here longer. I reckon with the right tools I could go, wow, at least a meter or two."


"This place won't give us anything truly dangerous. Nothing from the 'anywhere' rooms comes through to here, and nothing this place provides for us is capable of getting through the walls. Of course we've tried. No one has gotten anywhere, and of course, every 'morning' this whole place resets. All the damage is undone, and you have to start from scratch. There's only so far you can get in a day. And then people start getting annoyed with you constantly digging at the walls." There's a soft little smile. "I'm envious that you feel those things. When I was first here, I was here alone. I was the first person any of us know of to turn up here, and ... I didn't feel like anyone in particular. I had the distinct feeling that I was not Madison, which I was happy about, but ... like I said early, I didn't have a specific feeling of identity. None of us really did."


"I know it resets, and I know there's only far you can get in a day, but...I don't need an Anywhere room. Harkaway was really good at sticking. Uhhh. Unusual things together and making them work in ways people didn't expect. So I'm pretty sure I could try and fashion something. Even the type of damage done gives an indication of the materials," says the Optimist thoughtfully "And I guess people might get annoyed at me, but. People seem annoyed at me anyway. Like. Either they're annoyed because I can't tell the difference between me and a snake, or because I'm not upset." He adds "I don't even go smashing equipment, plenty of peope do that." And then he says "...I don't know if I do. But I know that sometimes 'fake it till you make it' is a thing that works. And I have to try things that work. Like, I don't know - maybe a tsunami _is_ able to be surfed. If you do it right?"


Once again, Penitent is wearing that Penumbra uniform, but she's taken the whole thing a little further this time. She's got Emily's sunglasses on as well. And Anette's ring is worn upon her finger. There's a multitool at her belt, that belongs to Kylie. And on the table in front of her is Madison's cellphone. Every keepsake from every life she's been given one has accompanied her out of her room, this time. "I'm not trying to dissuade you, really," she offers Optimist with a shake of her head. "I think everyone has to have their 'we will dig our way out' kind of moment. Maybe you will be the one that makes it through." A pause, but it's clear she's doubtful. "Personally, I think if we're model prisoners who do what we're supposed to do," whatever that is, "we'll eventually get released. But I realize my perspective is ... skewed. There isn't much in my room. It's a cell, pure and simple."


"We do all look like models, that's true" offers Star as she bounces into the Dining Room. "So that makes us 'model prisoners'. Get it? Please yourself." A grin at the pair before she gives Pentient a greeting kiss to the cheek. "I would smooch you harder but I am starving. Anyone want anything?" Star is dressed in gym gear - always have to make yourself look as good as possible - with her hair in a ponytail. "Bosch really knew how to fight dirty. Trying to keep the knowledge going." She heads for the Dispensary. "Did I mention how beautiful you look, Nettie? And I am totally ripping that uniform off sometime." Her voice quietens a touch. "How do make this thing work again?"


And on the other hand, the Optimist is back in his usual brightly coloured wool vest with a shirt, slacks, and his glasses. He has bare feet - as Harkaway so often did - but nothing else seems to be that different. And then he says "Well, you know, there's things I don't _know_ if we've tested yet. Like create a smithy in the Anywhere Room - take in something metal from outside. _Can_ we smith it? Can we use proceedures and systems there to change outside objects - we know they'll revert in 24 hours, but wow, there's a lot of stuff I can do in 24 hours." And then he looks startled "Really? Wow. I'm so sorry. Do you want to come and sleep in mine? I promise no hanky panky. Or being weird. I mean. Weird_er_." And then he says "Another beer, please. I really want to get more drunk. I think you think of what you want. Asagi beer, please?"


Suddenly, there's a Star. Penitent beams her little smile, reaching up towards her even as there's a little groan at that horrible pun. "I really thought that was just the Christine in you that made bad jokes," she says, her complaining very merry. "A hot chocolate please? I already ate some eggs." She notes. Her head inclines at the name and her brows lift up. "I've got something to tell you," she says quietly, smiling a little. "You'll find what you're looking for easily enough," she comments on instructions on how to use the thing.

"I'm not sure we can take anything in either. I don't know. And whatever it is might just revert as soon as you bring it out? This place is even more impossible -- or advanced -- than an asteroid that doesn't fall into a black hole, Arcade. And you won't have quite 24 hours. We all fall asleep at the same time, more or less, and wake up around the same time. No one has managed to resist that sleep and stay up. As far as I can tell, even if you got out, you'd wake up back here a day later? I mean, we even wake up again after being stabbed to death right here. So ... But you should try. Learn things. You should meet Conrad."


Penitent also says after a moment, "It's okay. I kinda find the cell soothing."


"Believe me, Arcade, I've tried to get her to spend the night in my room but we end up back in our own rooms after our enforced sleeps. And I wish they'd notice what we're doing before putting us all to sleep. You know, like allow us to finish what we're doing." A little wiggle of Star's eyebrows before a wink at Pentient. Then she has orders to take care of. "And who's to say we only sleep for eight hours or whatever? No way of telling time here. We could be asleep for weeks so they can fix everything up that we damage." A pause. "And Christine could have been a stand-up comedienne. Okay...not a good one, but those jokes are gold."

Star soon returns with a tray of drinks for everyone and food for herself. "Here you are, Arcade." She hands him the beer with a smile before Pentient gets a hot chocolate...and another kiss. "So, what are we talking about? Has someone else been stabbed?"


"Well, I like experimenting with things, because I'm sure I'll get there in the end. Maybe I won't have that long, or maybe it won't work, but trying different things is important. Humans try stuff. And I'm human. Like. Not. A cyborg. You know, like I was." And then he says to the Competitor "Oh! Uh, heh." He gives an awkward smile "Just as a friend - I mean, I'm not assuming we're _friends_. But, erm. Trust me. I'm like. Not. Er. A flirty person." And then he says "Hmm. I wonder if there's a microscope in the Anywhere rooms we could look at how our cells are aging?" He reaches out for the beer "No one's stabbed me, and I was like, convinced everyone would. Er. I don't really know how to handle all the, mmm. Emotional. Stuff? I'm sure I'll be better after a sleep."


"I'm sure you can find a fully functional lab in the rooms." Penitent says with a nod of her head. "And time passes slower in there. You can spend days only to find an hour has passed in here. That is an interesting thought though. You should see what you find out with the aging stuff. "I wasn't really a flirty person either, until she came along," she comments, gesturing at Star, returning the kiss and then accepting the drink. "You're an angel," she quips that reflexive line before lifting the warm drink to sip at it a moment. "I'm actually really glad you want to try these things Arcade. A lot of people just seem to accept this place as reality and there's nothing to be done about it."

"No one's been stabbed," she offers quietly to Competitor. "I was thinking about identities and how I've never really had one in here. People like Arcade come along and pick a name. Even you did right away. But I never could. I just feel like everyone I've ever been. That's why I have all this stuff right now. Some kind of combination of personalities resolving into one person. Kind of." She nods slowly. "And I was talking to Dare, and how I'm always feeling responsible, always need to make it right. How I'm always Penitent."

She pauses and nods a moment, saying thoughtfully, "I think I should be called Penny."


"Everyone handles this place in different ways, Arcade. You do what you need to do to keep sane. If you want to try and work out the answer scientifically, then go for it. Though, can you ever work something out when the only tools you have are what are given you be the mystery?" Star smiles before narrowing her eyes. "Did that make sense? I've decided that all those other lives are like roles in movies. We learn from that character, even learn and remember skills of theirs, but I'm one of those stubborn people who think this is the real life...but it could be fantasy. Happy to be proved wrong."

A little smirk at the pair claiming they're not flirty. "It's okay, Arcade, I know what you meant" she smiles, enjoying his stumbling words a little. A playful punch to Pentient's shoulder. "Oh, please. You're a tornado of passion and it takes everything I have to hang on." A sip of her juice while eyes go wide at Pentient's proclamation of a name. "Really! That's...a perfect name!" Star genuinely happy and excited that Pentient is finding herself among all those voices. "Penny it is" she nods, leaning over for a congratulatory kiss. "Seriously. I love it. I love you." Realising she is doing that confusing emotion thing in front of Arcade, she offers him a little smile of apology.


"The first stage is to work out if the laboratories can change anything we bring into them except for our memories," says Arcade, thoughtfully "Technically, we should be able to test the physical differences in our brains, so that _is_ a change to do with atoms and things." He does pause, his face making a little, weird expression "...I mean. Harkaway could do that. But remembering all the things he could do it's like...they slip away. Ugh." He picks up the beer, and he says awkwardly "Thanks, Dire...erm. Penitent? Penny. Okay, Penny!" He beams, and then he says "Hrm. Well, no one here gets angry because I'm asexual, so that's a bonus."

After a moment, he says "Arcade didn't come straight away. I wanted to call myself Yellow. Then Boots. But Arcade is an old name where I'm...from. Where I think I'm from. And it made me feel a bit less lonely around everyone else who...I know everyone is different. But. Never mind, I really don't want to debate who I am." He says to the other woman "Well, that starts to get into Quantum Physics territory - can we do something like that? Maybe we can. With maths. We're talking real basic building blocks there. If we break it down to observable rules that are mathematically provable, maybe? Anyway, I think I've learned not to talk to other people much and just go do the thing. No one else aside from maybe Penny is that interested in it." The Optimist drinks his beer, and then he says to the Competitor "Oh, no, it's fine, trust me. I don't mind others being friendly. I'm just glad no one's calling me frigid."


"If you need help ... Samantha was a better leader than a scientist really, and her science was all physics and math, but I can help." She says quietly to Harkaway, and then just smiles a little at the pair of them. Penny shrugs a little, returning that kiss to Star a moment and sort of leaning against her a little. "I stumbled across it last time we were here and thought about it some more. And Dare was talking about doing penance because of Angel, for some reason, and it all hit me." A pause, and she looks up though.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to challenge who you are. I was just trying to understand, because with no memories it was intriguing to see someone with such a firm identity already." She nods the once. "I don't know what can be proven. Things keep changing around here and things always reset. The problem is there were once a lot of people interested in figuring this place out, but due to a lack of answers a lot of them gave up. This was before we had the rooms. And others get lost in those rooms. Why figure things out when you can just live whatever lie you want and get lost in it?" She shakes her head sadly.

"Do people really give you trouble for it? I suppose they would, I remember Madison dealing with that. Samantha didn't have to. I guess the future was more enlightened after all."


"Careful, Arcade, you're toying with the very concepts of reality now" Star smiles. "If this is all a fabrication...a laboratory in itself. And all of our knowledge is part of that fabrication...we are fabrications...who is to say you are measuring reality rather than what you are told is reality. What if, out 'there', one and one aren't actually two? Can you really measure the parameters of a reality that sets its own paramters and can change them if you get too close? Change you." Star smiles warmly to Penny. "Thinking about all this is what makes people give up. But, seriously, if you want some help, I'm in. I'm no genius...but I don't give up."

Star has a bowl of cereal to mumch on asd they converse. "Why would people get angry if you're aesexual? Nothing wrong with being frigid either. A waste...but nothing wrong with it." She is more than happy to have Penny lean in against her, Star resting her head on hers between mouthfuls of food. "I'm stubborn, remember? I don't let things beat me. So, I developed a world view that had power over the 'reality'. //I// am in charge, not this place."


"Oh, well, it would always be a lot better to have other people _with_ me," says the Optimist firmly, and he says "Also, I'm really not, er, brilliant. I'm not sitting at, I don't know, two hundred and ten I.Q. I'll have to work it out. And I guess without being able to write stuff down. Maybe like, create a memory palace - that's a cool way to remember a lot of things?" He tilts his head, and he then says to Samantha "See, those variables sound like, I don't know, an...experiment. 'What if we made an X who feels like Y'?" He picks up his beer, and he says "Erm, I like having fun in those rooms! But. Too much candy isn't, you know, my style."

And then he says to the otehr woman "Oh, I've had a lot of thoughts about it all, but really, I gotta figure stuff out. And...being asexual isn't being a waste. No one's owed anything from anyone else - people aren't things. I don't think anyone here cares, I just felt like others have, at some point. Still, I think I'm gonna go crash. I still feel kiiiinda odd being around, you know, Dare. And Chance, and like, Briar."


"Some things do stick around," Penitent says quietly to Arcade, nodding her head. "If you write notes and keep them in your room, they stay. If you get a book from the shelf and start reading it, it'll stick around in your room until you're done. It's like this place knows when you're done with it, then it will get swept back away." She shakes her head. "Pretty weird, actually." There's just a brief smile there for Arcade, and Penny's head dips again. "Okay. See? You do feel kinda odd at least. You're not so different from us all."

She remains leaning against Star, seemingly content. "For what it's worth, I've never thought this place isn't real. I just don't think that makes the other places or lives fake. Those people are within us, for better or worse." A pause. "I'm glad you like the name."


"There must be somewhere else because there are people who are no longer here. Where did they go? Did they 'die' and never come back? But does that mean they are somewhere else or were they just not rebooted?" Star snorts at her own words. "We really can disappear into philosophy, science, and faith if you want to start digging. But I'll sling a spade with you if you want. Sleep well, Arcade."

"Emotions stick around. Memories stick around. Our forms, for the most part, stick around. Hmm...I wonder what would happen if you tattooed your notes on your body?" Finishing her food, Star gets rid of the bowl to wrap an arm around Penny. "I think it's a great name. Better than 'Star'" she grins. "I shouldn't have been in such a rush to come up with one."


"Oh boy," Penny says when all that talk comes out, watching Arcade go. "That's right, run." She laughs a little and shakes her head. "Everything is sort of. Maybe there's other places like this one. Maybe those people were just created for the story. Just because it was created doesn't mean it wasn't real to live through it? I don't know what I'm saying." She waves a hand. More like she's had this discussion so many times now, and still isn't any close to an answer.

Once that bowl is shoved aside, Penitent does lean in closer, content to nestle into Competitor's arms. "You could choose another one if you really wanted to, I'm sure. But if it works, what does it matter." She lets out something of a brief yawn, sipping at her hot chocolate for a bit. "You know," she says tangenting suddenly, "I liked Samantha. As much as it wasn't fun to be in her position and losing her mind and all that. But she was a good person. It puts some distance from Lorraine too, which is a plus."


Star adjusts herself a little on the couch so she can pull Penny into a sitting spoon and wrap both arms around her. A little nuzzle of the other woman's neck while she speaks. "I thought Samantha was nice too. Very professional. I'm glad she helped you find yourself." She is certainly sympathetic to the way Penny carries all those lives around with her, even if Star is too stubborn to let it bother herself. "We have plenty of people changing their names willy-nilly already. Which sort of defeats the point" she laughs softly. "Lorraine really got to the core of you, didn't she?"


"She was kind of what I needed this time, I think. Even though she had the burden of everyone's lives on her shoulders, because of course she did. That sort of thing I'm used to though, from others." There's a soft little sound, and her head tilts a little, a hand reaching up to rest on Star's own. "Lorraine was an actual incarnation of guilt. And a cautionary tale about illicit sex, which is honestly a bit weird, but there you go. But that was all part of the guilt too, in a way. People had some weird ideas about what to believe in, okay?" She laughs a little and shakes her head. "You want to maybe head back to one of our rooms and just spend some time?" She wonders.


"'Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown'" Star whispers. "I've felt that responsibility too. Though I guess I wanted it rather than had it officially like you. But you did great. You faced such horrors and you won." A nod to the description of Lorraine from the woman herself. "She was quite the character...but not all bad. Yeah, I would love to head back to one of our rooms and just spend some time. I couldn't think of anything better. C'mon, let's go make some good memories." A kiss to the crown of Penny's head.


"I've felt it a few times. I'm alright with that kind of burden," Penny says, and then shifts a little, before regretfully getting up, even though she suggested the idea. She offers a hand to Start to pull the other woman to her feet, letting the motion end in capturing a kiss before she smiles briefly. "There wasn't much redeemable about Lorraine," she says quietly, then she gestures. "Come on then," and with that, starts to lead the way.