Log:Who We Are

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Who We Are
Characters  • The Survivor, The Vigilante
Location  •  The Survivor's room
Date  •  2018-08-03
Summary  •  The Survivor has her first visitor.

There are more than 50 doors in that very long hallway. Only one of them features the figure of a solitary woman, standing among an uncountable number of the dead. It's grim imagery, subject to a great deal of interpretation... even from the woman who stands in the hallway touching it briefly before she disappears inside. She's quite elusive, this phantom from the jumbled memory box. Paler than she was. Her hair is a little longer, a little darker, a little more disheveled. She's made only the briefest of appearances outside of that room, generally for as long as it takes to go to the dispensary and acquire some food. And then she disappears again. Like she is, just now.


There's only one defining characteristic in the various iterations of the Vigilante. He's always, always, got that jaded, bitter look to him. Like he's seen it all, and he's quite used to the predicament -- whatever it is. His expression flashes surprised, and then inquisitive, when he comes across the Survivor. Something about her definitely sets him to pause. His door? His door has a crime scene printed on it, with a chalk mark on the floor, and a shadowy figure smoking in the background. But this Survivor's door makes him quizzical for longer than it should, so he dares, and he dares to knock on it, standing a foot away from the door for good measure. Shotgun to the face? Has happened before. He's seen a cop buddy of his die to that.


Inside, she takes her tray of things to over to a little table and sets it down and there begins to sort through what she has, like someone making critical decisions about a day's worth of rations. What to eat now, what to save for later. What is nutritious, what is comforting. The whole process sets her on a bit of an edge, a habit ingrained into the very fiber of her being for absolutely no reason she can figure out. It isn't even comforting. Neither is the knock on the door. It's never happened before. So it is that there is a long silence while she stands and stares at it, weighing, deliberating. Maybe it's long enough for him to feel the need to knock again? After all, there is nowhere inside she could have gone.

She will - eventually - come and open it a crack. An inch, enough so that a sliver of wax-white face and one gasflame blue eye can be seen. So she can see, for all the good it'll do. "What?" She has an accent. Received Pronunciation; British English, but the sort that one acquires when one learns it in a school somewhere in the Commonwealth. Very proper, very posh, but the tiniest bit off, somehow.


"I-- uh, was wondering if you'd like to have some whiskey." By contrast, his accent is Midwestern Neutral, the type you'd find with most news anchors in American TV stations. Salt of the earth, everyday-seeming. He takes a flask from his jacket and holds it up. "Maybe shoot the shit and all that," oh yeah, and cursing comes easily for him. Not at all posh or refined; this is the product of public school and then some second-tier college. What did he study, one wonders? Why, criminal justice, of course. What else could someone who gives off serious detective vibes go to school for? His eyes aren't gasflame blue, but icy-blue instead. Less intense, sharper.


"I was not aware that there was any shit to shoot." Still, there is some consideration to be had. Some reflection, some analysis. Maybe some trying to square what's standing in front of her door with what she remembers of what happened. But she relents. Opens the door the rest of the way so that he can come inside. Has he been inside anyone's room, other than his own?

Hers looks a bit like it belongs in some cozy cabin in the mountains someplace. Or maybe under the mountain. Horizontal strips of old, weathered wood cover the walls. Several heavy beams run across the ceiling, where they may not hold up the roof but they do hold up a wrought iron fixture with faux candles, and the thick chains that float a slab frame about four feet off the ground, keeping her mattress, pillows, blankets, and what looks like an honest-to-god bear skin, head and all, far from the floor. There are colorful Persian rugs strewn about, and floor-to-ceiling drapes on opposing walls, like they're covering windows that don't exist. On one side they hide the doors to her closet and bathroom. On the other they flank a stone hearth and cold fireplace. There's a pair of armchairs there, and the low table where she was arranging her foodstuffs. All of the fabrics are sage green, wheat gold; all of the wood is stained walnut dark. It appears quite lived-in, for all that she probably has not been here any longer than he has. Has she?


Probably not. Probably never. The Vigilante keeps to himself, mostly. He's his own animal, much like she is, but whereas she wants to live, he wants to find the truth. Sure, sometimes that spelled in doom for him, but what hazy memories he has of the island are probably evocative, in a good way, as pertains to her. Maybe not so much as pertains to other people, see. The rustic and exotic mix of the decor prompt a quick smile from the man, quick to show, quick to fade, the bathroom taken note of, the closet as well. "Interesting." It's not quite what he'd expect, and yet, exactly what one might expect if they knew her better, isn't it? The flask is uncapped and offered towards her, so she might have first drink if she wants. "You're tougher than you let on to other people, aren't you."


They do have some interesting memories in common, don't they. None of them might've prepared him for this particular room, which is, let's face it, a glimpse into her most elemental form. Thus his comment about it being interesting gets him a brief lift of her eyebrows but no particular comment. She only shuts the door and goes back to what she was doing. Sorting food. There's quite a lot of it, actually. Stacks of protein bars. Containers of trail mix. Evidently she spent a while with the dispenser, working out what it would give her in sealed packages instead of on dishes, steaming hot and ready to eat. The flask is waved off with a tiny flick of her fingers. "I do not know," she answers. It probably comes across as harsher than she means it, the syllables automatically clipped. But more than that there is a sort of pragmatic carelessness underpinning it. "I don't know what I am, and I am beginning to suspect that no one else does either."


"Nope. It's an ongoing process of self-discovery. Only when we think we're making progress, we go back to square one." The Vigilante takes note of her deliberate process of essentially making MRE packs, looking from the supplies to the Survivor and then from her to the supplies once more. He drinks from his flask, wincing at the strength of the beverage in a way that hints he wasn't quite expecting it. "Might be a blessing in disguise, though. The flashbacks are never boring, I'll admit, but that's actually a curse. I can't imagine remembering everything would make any of us very functional."


That is exactly what she's doing. Whether it actually matters - whether it will all just disappear overnight - remains yet to be seen but there is indeed a method to this particular madness that might seem somewhat foolish since the wall gives almost any food one can think of, made to order, almost instantly. "Is it?" she inquires, giving that up for the moment again and settling into one of the armchairs, curling one leg beneath her. "What do you remember? How well do you remember it? At what point does what you can recollect become a collection of post cards and paper dolls?" She breathes out a very quiet sigh and leans back in the chair. It's deep. Well padded. Comfortable, despite the fact that the fabric is a little shabby. Maybe because of it. "And does it matter?"


"I remember something that happened in a bathroom and running for my life, with my shirt bloodied. Also I remember explosions, shambling things moving towards me and seeing something shiny beside a sand dune. Not much more than that. No specifics. No names. That one actually gets me, you know. The no names part." The Vigilante comments as he settles down across from the Survivor, watching her intensely. "Does it matter? Good question, isn't it? It's like going through life towards that end-point we all have in common, but we have no way of telling what our start line was, to begin with."


She studies him as he speaks, perhaps as intently, though her own expression is quite guarded. Much goes in; little comes out. Until the very end when a ghost of a smile comes and curves up the corners of her mouth and she finally looks away, off toward the wood-covered wall. "I remember the plan, with the raft. It was a terrible idea." Hindsight is crystal clear. "But at the same time I do not remember any of it. The memories are there but they do not feel right, maybe because they are so limited and there is nothing else beside them. No alternative. No explanation." Her gaze returns. "The others here are disturbed. Evidently they know nothing either but that lack of information is eating them alive. They set things on fire, hurt each other. Apparently one of them killed herself, and was fine the following morning."


He laughs. "Yes, it was. But it was a desperate plan." The Vigilante seems to agree, the sliver of a smile that shows up after her comment making clear his amusement for this. "I wouldn't do anything to this place. At all. We don't know whether our would-be jailers are benevolent or if they're simply toying with us and putting our bodies through more and more traumatic events as things happen. And that means, inevitably, that eventually the people setting things on fire or killing themselves, or thinking they did, anyways, will find themselves running out of our hosts' goodwill. When that happens, lack of memories will be the least of their worries, I think."


"Maybe." A very slow nod is given, but it's followed up by a little shrug. "It's troubling. These are not the people they appear to be. Not who I remember, but I imagine it is for the same reason that I am not who I remember being." Which probably means she does not believe he is who she remembers him to be, either, but she does not say that in so many words, only looks at him for a few more moments before going on. "Do you think we are prisoners, then?"


"In some strange way of keeping prisoners, yes, we are." Vigilante agrees, nodding faintly. "But it's not a prison we can escape, because any plans we have might be reset in the next day. And experimenting in the way that they are is only bound to cause trouble. What we can do is make note of any 'glitches' in the system. People that don't show up anymore. New people that get in. That sort of stuff."


She doesn't disagree. But after a moment, she shrugs. "Perhaps. I do not know how insightful that would be. I do not how insightful any of what little we can gather is. The only thing we have in common is that shared experience, but there were six hundred other people who experienced it as well who are not here." Her gaze drifts again to her little fireplace, which may actually only be decorative. There is no hint that she has tried to burn anything in it. There is nothing in the vicinity provided to burn, anyway. "I expect the reason we are here will be revealed. If they do not go thoroughly mad beforehand."


"We just have to be patient and endure." The Vigilante states, frowning slightly in thought. "I think, out of any of us, you're the one with the most mental fortitude to play the long waiting game this will involve. The trauma, especially."


"The trauma?" Her brows lift a little and she looks around, then lifts both of her hands, palms up. "Maybe this is not a prison. Maybe it is a hospital. Maybe it is a mental ward. Maybe it is a quarantine facility. Maybe it is a malfunctioning virtual reality simulation meant to entertain our minds on a long voyage somewhere. Maybe it doesn't matter. The only traumatic part is what people are doing to themselves." Or is that exactly what he means? It does seem lost on the Survivor. "I would have thought that after what they think they just experienced, they would be glad of a few days of having absolutely nothing to worry about except what to wear and what to ask that machine for."


"People are attempting suicide in vain. What else is that if not some concretization of a psychic trauma that's wiped away?" Thomas points out to the Survivor, lifting his eyebrows as he leans forward to look at her. "We don't even know if we'll remember this conversation, but honestly, I do want to keep at least some memories of the island event thing. It was an island, right? Well, whatever. There's something to be said about the moments of paradise when hell rages around you."


The Survivor shakes her head. "Except the trauma is not wiped away. Not if they remember it. They remember dying. The woman that was Maata Kahloa is absolutely fixated on arbitrary details surrounding her death on the island." But the rest of what he says? Eventually she allows herself to smile. A little. "Those memories seem to be all that we have, even if they do not feel quite right. I am not Elena Firenze. I know that much, and have no particular desire to cling to the artifice of it. I do not need a mental life preserver." There is a slight pause before she continues, voice softer. "By that same token I do not believe that you are Thomas Lance." One hand is extended toward him then, palm upward. "But whoever you are, you are likely as much like him as I am like her."


"Indeed. Neither am I Thomas Lance, nor have I always been, as far as I know, a private eye for the rich. It almost sounds like a script I had to read somewhere. I wish I remembered details about my life, but alas." The Vigilante chuckles bitterly, drinking another sip from his flask, meeting her gaze. "That'd be true. We're given our roles for a reason, with carefully chosen specifics. I remember wanting a pound of flesh off of the man formerly known as Conrad Wellson's back, but I don't remember why. Just that it shifted suddenly as soon as I understood I was stuck there. Former Miss Kahloa needs to stop with her self-destructive habits."