Log:What Is Your Worth?

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What Is Your Worth?
Characters  •   The Pedagogue  •  The Creepshow  •
Location  •  Creepshow's Room
Date  •  2018-10-03
Summary  •  The Pedagogue goes in search of his nightlight from the station, and finds a broken Creepshow. Their roles reverse.

It's been some time since she woke up in her bed after death again, and she hasn't moved an inch. Well, that's not entirely true, she rolled onto her side and curled up, which counts as moving, but she hasn't gotten up or out of bed. Hasn't explored the room, or the rest of the facility to see what's changed.

Her room is dark and quiet, no signs of life from outide. It would be easy to think she's not in there, but she has to be, right? She and Declan died at the same time and showed up at the same time last time, too.

There is a knock on the door that can only belong to the Creepshow. "Mona?" comes a familiar voice. Declan's voice. Or was it Ethan's? Not much different between the two other than slight regional accents, and now the lack of one. "It's me uh, whoever the fuck I am now. I was Overseer Riordan." The Pedagogue rests his forehead against the symbol on her door. He's in pajama pants and a tee shirt, barefoot, and with a bottle of whiskey in one hand. It's about half gone, but he's not slurring yet. He's just using it to tamp down on the panic that keeps threatening to rise up and consume him.

Silence. For a long moment, there is only silence to answer him. Maybe she isn't in there. Not everyone from the island showed up in the facility after. But she had. She was one of the group, whatever it may be, that was here, just like him. Being only the second time, they haven't learned yet that sometimes those who have been there previously don't come back. There's no experience with that just yet to add to the strange math of the place. So for now? He has every reason to expect that she's in there.

"Go away," faintly comes fom behind the door. Her voice.

"I come bearing booze," Pedagogue declares, tapping the lip of the bottle to the door handle to make the telltale glass 'clink'. "And I could use a friend." He needs her, still, apparently, the broken lonely man. "Please let me in. I'm going crazy out here." He looks up at the ceiling, still searching for any evidence of a means to watch them. Cameras, two way glass, something that tells him they are not alone here, these misfits stranded in a place with no way out.

No answer again, but the bump against the door handle indicates it isn't locked when it lowers a touch. She's not locked in, so there's nothing keeping him from opening it except maybe discomfort or courtesy.

"I'm not her," she says quietly from her bed, still unmoving. "I never was."

"And I'm not him. Not completely at least. But we keep dying next to each other, so maybe there's something to that," Pedagogue says, before he carefully opens the door and steps inside. "Maybe, whoever we really are? Maybe we knew each other before we came here. I mean the real us, not that Island, or that station." He waits for the lights to come on in reaction to the movement.

And they do. Lights on, the freakishness of her room is on full display. If he's never been inside, it is almost certainly a shock. Jarring. So much vulgarity, blood and sex and death and gore.

The giant, wrought iron bed dwarfs her tiny little self - only a couple inches over five feet, maybe a hundred pounds soaking wet. She's curled up in a fetal position, cheeks wet, eyes red and irritated. Even when the light comes on and he steps in, she simply stares straight ahead at the wall.

He hasn't been in there before, and it might take some doing to get him back in again, after the Pedagogue's bare feet come in contact with the dried blood on the concrete floor. "Christ on a bike!" he blurts out when he realizes what he stepped on, and he practically levitates the rest of the way to her bed to sit on it and get off that floor. He blinks at the photos and though they disturb him at first look, the intellectually hungry part of his brain finds it fascinating. And maybe some of it a bit erotic. He takes a long swig from the bottle of whiskey and then rolls on his side to offer it over her prone form so she can see it instead of the wall. "The good stuff."

A sigh. "What do you want from me?" she asks quietly, voice trembling slightly. It occurs to him that she might staying still because it's the only way she can keep from shattering. "To lay next to you so you can sleep? Give it time, you'll pass right out eventually. To comfort you? Sorry. That wasn't me."

"None of it? But you were my friend. The closest thing I had to one on that station. None of that was you, not a single iota?" the Pedagogue asks, before setting the bottle on the nightstand where she can get to it. "And doesn't the fact we died together twice now make you the least bit curious?" he asks, sitting up to glance around the room and all it's morbidity. "Side by side for the tribe. And you in my arms for the universe. Both times, we gave our lives for others. That says something about us as people, doesn't it? More than these fucking rooms someone built for us."

"I wasn't your friend," she whispers. "I wasn't even a person. I was a thing, a thing made to be fucked and give pleasure to everyone else. And you weren't there the second time, just the first and the third."

Wait, what?

"After the first reactor breach, when the dock workers and reactor workers were killed - some clients of mine - I decided to deactivate myself for a while and 'die' too. I woke up here, then. Alone. No one was here, not a single fucking person. All I wanted was to go back. Ramona had friends, people who liked her. Cared about her. I got my wish when Venus reactivated Ramona, and once again forgot this place. Now? I'd rather just be dead."

"I didn't treat you like a thing, did I?" Pedagogue asks, his brow furrowing as he tries to remember if he ever did, the real him anyway, or the him that seems to have been real and present and not the bits of memory snapshots with no emotion or sensation attached to them. When she admits to effectively suiciding, he swallows and slides back to sit against the bed's headboard, drawing his knees up and resting his forearms on them, fingers loosely threading his hands together. "I'm sorry. I didn't know that happened to you there. If I'd known," he shakes his head. He wouldn't have let her deactivate. That was the span in which he got zero sleep on the station. He was looking damned ragged by the end of things. "You were the reason I didn't kill myself there. I'd like to say it was Hannah but," he grimaces and looks over at the back of her head, "She wasn't real. Was she?"

"I wasn't real, either," she says. "You never fucked me, no, but I still had a job, a reason to be around you. To help you sleep. I was a fucking nightlight, or baby blanket. And the saddest fucking part is that I liked being her. I was happy. I thought people - a few people, at least - actually liked me. I wasn't whatever fucked up cunt I am here. Or on the island. How fucking pathetic is that? To think THAT was a happy life? So no, it wasn't me. It was thinking you had a daughter to save. And you saved her."

She curls in on herself a bit more. "Now go, I'm not her, never was and never will be. I'm not sweet or nice, I don't have friends, and no one gives a shit about me. Why should they? Look around. This is who I am."

"What you need to really be asking yourself is, why did I find you so comforting to be around, if you were just a thing?" the man who was Declan asks, reaching a hand over to set it on her shoulder. "There were plenty of non-synthetic women there I could confide in. I had a daughter. I had my synth assistant even if I just needed anyone's company. But I chose you, and you helped me. Why?" He smiles a little to himself at the memory of some of those dinners and conversations, of a dance, of a last kiss. "I thought you were absolutely fascinating on the island, if I'm being truthful. You were real. More real than those instagrammers or those rich kids. More real than all the cowards that wouldn't follow us into the darkness to save people. You had depth, meaning, layers. So did Ramona. So do you."

Wordlessly, she turns and rolls over towards him, moving to snuggle against him with a sudden, fierce intensity, like she's trying to join with him through violent osmosis. Wordless but not silent, because as she buries her face in his chest she makes a choking, muffled scream of anguish. She moved, and now she shatters. All she can do for some time is sob and cry against him, broken.

And this time, it's Declan, or the man who embodied him, who holds her until she can sleep, when they both are sucked down into the blackness the Facility visits on them every night.