The Westerns are blaring away on the television as the Visionary pads into the parlor, feet still bare. She's positively covered in... paint. There are splotches up her arms, another across her cheek, another right on the tip of her nose. At least she's back to her ugly hippie dresses, and has abandoned her role as a roving blanket fort. Aimed straight for the bookshelf with some purpose, she scans along row after row of volumes of text, each of the books large. That seems to be the only criteria: large, and black and white. Ideally, boring, and dry as the Sahara. Something no one else could possibly be looking for -- ever, perhaps.
The Pedagogue has spent a lot of time in his room since the Noc scenario. He's also been drinking more than last time. Something about having a loving wife die and having a child in that situation seems to have gutted him this time around. Or maybe it's the fact he seems to have a tendency to die for these people he thinks he knows and cares for, only to realize they are strangers in the facility. He has a beer in his hand, sweat pants and a tee on, and some sandals, because he made the mistake once of walking into Creepshow's room barefoot. Never again. It was traumatic. He arches a brow at Visionary. "So, good to see you're not made of milk and gears," he notes. He's around a decade younger than Overseer Riordan was.
Curls bounce wildly as the Visionary's head snaps up. "Riordan?" Her eyes are wide as saucers -- and maybe a little on the crazy side -- but she still smiles in spite of whatever stress has her in the midst of her fidgets. "I didn't know you were here." There's some comfort in that, a reason for the smile. It's a strange one, oddly fond and reverent after a fashion. "Kind of nice to see that more of the good people are around," she says; she's talking a hint too rapidly, a subtle sign that her brain is still overclocked and decompressing from her time as something other than human. "It's good to see you." She abandons her search for the moment, and moves to extend a hand, only recalling when it's sticking out in front of her that it's covered in still-damp paint before it retreats to wipe uselessly against the front of her dress. "I... know it wasn't... real?" Her brows loft in unison. "But maybe it-" It's awkward. She knows it is. "-helps to know. I made sure she was safely en route back to Earth. When we all... " Fell asleep. Woke here.
Slow, shuffling steps carry the Explorer into the parlor. Like the Visionary, she looks as though she's thoroughly covered in paint. Except it's all one color -- red. And it's not paint. The contrast is stark between that deep, dark maroon and the ghostly pallor of her skin. Her eyes are reddened as well, and her features still cradle the streaks of dried tears. She seems... dazed, barely even realizing she isn't alone for a time, until her gaze finally settles on the Pedagogue. She blinks. Opens her mouth, as if to give voice to some sort of exclamation, or question. Or a million of the latter. Brain-to-mouth connection is apparently on the fritz, however, because she doesn't say a word. Just stares. First at him, and then as Visionary answers him, the stare is redirected.
"Not sure really. Riordan, Ethan, whatever. I don't think either was me, or both were, or something," the Pedagogue says with a tired smile at the former synthetic. When he mentions the rest of Hannah's story, he swallows past a lump in his throat. "Thank you. That helps a little, actually. Even if she wasn't real, at the time she felt real, and knowing she was going to be safe made what I had to do even possible." He takes a swig from the beer and slumps onto a couch, eyeing the westerns playing.
When the Explorer makes her gory entrance for a moment the Pedagogue thinks it's Creepshow, because being covered in blood seems like a Creepy thing to do. When the features begin to become discernible he looks concerned. "Captain Chevalier?" he asks. "Are you ok? Well that's a dumb thing to ask. Even if you die here, you come back in the morning right as rain. What happened?"
The Explorer's arrival has the Visionary's jaw dropping in an instant. If her eyes were wide before? They're positively owlish now. "...Maya?" Another of the good people, apparently, in her book. And yet the smile isn't there; a look of concern reconfigures her expression. Riordan's words catch her ear, and though her eyes remain fixed on the Explorer, she manages to whisper, "The other person I saved apparently wasn't real, either, so." It's only then her voice really catches, but it's put aside as she slowly crosses toward the Explorer, a single, paint-covered hand outstretched. "Can we help? What-" He already has that question covered; the taller woman in the hippie non-chic is just angling for inoffensive and less crazy than normal.
There's more talk of nothing being real. The Explorer's eyes widen, fill with confusion, then flood with fresh tears. But then Visionary calls her by her name -- yes, Maya, that's it, that's her name... right? Fixing her attention on the other woman, as if trying to cling to her delusion that the life she just lived was really real by doing so, she stumbles forward a step or two. "Rod, he... he's in my room, he's--" The words are choked off. It's worth noting that she, herself, doesn't appear to have any open wounds. The startings of bruises at her throat, yes, but that wouldn't explain all that blood. "Pandora, what the hell is going on?" A glance is cast in Pedagogue's direction. "Didn't he... die?" is whispered. Not that Pedagogue wouldn't hear it.
"You weren't on the island with us, were you?" Pedagogue murmurs, before handing the beer bottle towards the bloody woman. "I died. I died there, I died before, and I suspect I'll die again. Someone is royally fucking with us for some reason," he notes. Yeah, he's sauced.
"I don't... know if anyone has explained this place yet," the Visionary murmurs uneasily. Not like there are any real explanations that any of them have to offer that are anything but the wildest speculation. "This is the first time you've been here?" she asks, reasonably certain she already knows the answer. "It's... confusing. I know." And with that, the former synthetic does what the new ager she looks to be would do, rather than what the relatively proper synthetic would: she reaches out for the Explorer's hand, and says, quietly, "This has happened before." Her tone may be comforting, but the words aren't. "The man we knew as Riordan, I also knew on an island, before this, though only in passing. As a Professor Drake. This place is... we don't know. Not exactly."
Both a hand and a bottle are being held out toward her. She needs them. Both of them, apparently, since one hand latches onto the Visionary's as though it were a lifeline to keep her from drowning, and the other snatches the beer. The physical connection with Visionary is a bit difficult to maintain, admittedly, since her skin is still somewhat slick with blood. But she tries. "Island? No, I..." Water's gradually filling her lungs. Not literally, but that's certainly how she feels. "Where IS 'here'? I was with my family, our family, and now I'm here, and Rod is trying to kill me, and saying I'm not real and our whole life was just some cruel lie, and he--" The way she's squeezing her hand around the bottle, it's a wonder it doesn't shatter in her hand. "Pandora, he's dead. He cut himself and died in my arms. Again. I don't..." Her knees go wobbly, and she sinks to the floor.
"There's a thingy over in that room there," Pedagogue points vaguely towards the dispensary. "You can get most anything you want to eat or drink. Even breakfast for dinner. Apparently I like breakfast for dinner. No idea why." He gives a sharp, angry, drunken laugh. He snorts at the news that Rod is dead. "Don't worry, he'll be fine in the morning. Like for real. We can't die. They won't let us." Whoever 'they' is. He sprawls out on the couch.
"I died on the island, too. Blew right to hell -- in my sleep, and my name was Dahlia, there," the Visionary says quietly as she tugs Maya a little bit closer, offering her reedy frame to lean against, if needed. For whatever reason, the blood isn't scaring her off, or even a deterrent, and she tries to catch her as she starts to fall, ultimately tumbling down to her knees with her to help hold her up. She looks almost on the verge of tears. That Rod is here, too, she gleans, but she doesn't press after the explanation provided, only nodding to the Pedagogue's words. "This place is a sort of... in-between." A hard swallow travels her throat. "In-between other lives. After a fashion. And none of us are really sure why, or how it's happening. I wish I had better news than that; I wish-" Her lips press together, and she shivers for a moment. "-there was some explanation that would make sense."
"A lot of people spent time, the first time, trying to find a way out, and no one has yet." Worse news on top of worse news, but she's earnest, and delivers it as delicately as she can. "We're being kept here for a reason, but none of us are sure what that reason is."
The first time around, the Hunter and the Capitalist exiting the Hall of Rooms together was a common sight. They were nigh inseparable as Maata and Conrad and hell bent on finding a way out at any cost. This time, for the first while, they were more distant. From each other and the rest of the people trapped in this place. But they've come back together, more or less. Perhaps not as closely as before, but still enough to spend time in one another's rooms some days. Today is one of those and now they enter the parlor, in quiet conversation. At the least, they both seem resigned to their fate and there's been no rampant destruction, fires, or murders and beatdowns (from the Hunter, at least!).
Speaking of the Hunter... she's still wearing athletic shorts. She hasn't worn anything that covers her legs since waking up. Reveling in having her leg human and whole since waking up again has been something important to her. So it's black shorts and a heather grey tshirt today. Her hair is pulled back from her features in a low ponytail and she looks fairly freshly showered by the dampness to that hair and a slight flush to her skin overall. "Coffee?" Whatever conversation they'd been in is brought to a halt at the query before she's looking to the others; more recognition at one than the rest. The Pedagogue. A professor at one time, but most recently, to her, the Overseer. She purses her lips slightly, but just offers before she shifts in a stance about to head for the dispensary: "Thorne should have taken you up on that very first offer to work for you." It's a past life. An afterthought. But something needing to be said all the same.
The Explorer stares at Pedagogue some more. Not because he flopped onto the sofa and sprawled like a lazy, perfectly contented cat, but because of what he said. "In the morning?" This does not seem to compute. Lost, she looks back to Pandora. Or the woman she knows as Pandora, at least. "I wasn't anybody else before. I'm just Maya." Convulsive swallow ensues. The blood-soaked brunette seems just about to say something else, when Hunter and Capitalist walk in, and her gaze jerks toward them. Well, to Capitalist, mainly. He's the one she knows, or thinks she does. "Rhys," she whispers. Her eyes slowly widen, as if something absolutely earth-shattering has just occurred to her, and she twists back around to face Visionary, grabbing the woman's shoulders in a desperate grip. "We had children. A family. We named our son after him -- where is my family?!"
The man who was Overseer Riordan smiles drunkenly at the Hunter. "Probably. Don't think much would have changes though. I seem to die for the good of others lately. Am I just that kind of person? I don't feel particularly martyr-ish. Just like...I'm the one who knows all the shit so it needs to be me? Does that make sense? Someone get me another beer. The bloody lady took mine." At the mention of children he snorts. "Nope, no imaginary children allowed here. My daughter, nope. Also my girlfriend before, not here. Ramona is though, but she's not really Ramona. Like Pandora here, she's not a synth anymore. Or never was. Or I dunno. This place can eat a bag of dicks."
For those who had met The Capitalist after his second awakening, they may have witnessed a man trying to distance himself from his past persona and memories. It was as if Rhys Driscoll was here to stay and not even the 'nice' Driscoll, but someone more who the security contractor really was beneath the professionalism and flare. After having reunited, once again, with those he was closest with on the Island, things have slowly begun to change.
While Conrad Wellson was always dressed up in suits, the Driscoll side of The Capitalist has him dressed in a plain white T-shirt and jeans. His own hair is slightly wet, the dampness being used to slick it back in his usual Rhys Driscoll style. He also seems to be in a better mood than he was when he first stepped out of his room this second go in this strange place. "You know that I can't say no to coffee." Though as he says this, his eyes look over those gathered in the parlor - there's always familiar faces here. There's the Overseer, who was at one point, his uni professor. And... Dahlia. That's who he is most familiar with. Then there is, "Captain Chevalier..." It's at this point that he's trying to figure out whether he met her on the Island or not. "... A family? Huh, I mean, I knew that you and Rod were getting together, but."
The arrival of the Hunter and the Capitalist has the Visionary's eyes lifting from the Explorer, if briefly. "There are always people around us in the-" She doesn't know how to explain the stories. There's no concise way to do it. They aren't other lives, quite; they still lack history, just as their real lives lack anything but a perfunctory outline here, if that. "-times we aren't here. Some of them show up here, and some don-"
The question breaks something in her visibly, and the tears begin to fall, utterly silent. She drags the Explorer into a firm hug, and starts to rock very slowly. While she is absolutely on board with every word the Pedagogue says with more gusto than she can manage to express, it's pure sentiment that comes from her actual lips. "They're in your heart, Maya," she whispers into the woman's hair, still rocking, perhaps glad her expression, fraught as it is, isn't visible to the person she's trying desperately to console. "They're allowed to matter. They're allowed to mean something. It's all right. There are... there are a lot of people who stick with us, whether they're here or not. It just." The frustration is there, drowned in a hard swallow. She still has Kolvek in her skull, after all, but she's crazy. "It's all right to give a fuck."
"I think a few things might have changed. Not the overall outcome, but..." There's just a bit of a grimace and a shrug from the Hunter. "We both died so that others might escape this time. I just, uh-" But the Hunter either can't find the words or decides she can't do this in front of an audience, as it were. So she just turns to the Capitalist and adopts a sort of distant look and a smile. "Curry or dumplings or something else altogether?" The man that was Rhys (and Conrad before that) will have to decide what he wants and call it after her because she's already heading around the corner to get their coffee and food. Not that she fully disappears. She actually turns back around and deposits a black and white cat into the parlor. "Off the tables," she chides the cat before turning back around.
The bottle of beer Pedagogue had given her rolls away after being dropped, spilling some of its contents. The Explorer doesn't seem to realize or care; it's no great loss, given that she'll probably be needing something a hell of a lot stronger than beer, anyway. Right now, she just lets herself succumb to grief, for a life people keep telling her wasn't real, a man whose true name she doesn't even know, children whose births and trials and tribulations she still recalls but that she'll apparently never see again.
"Think hard, Maya. All that stuff that happened before you docked with the Noc, try to remember any senses attached to those moments, anything in motion. It's all bullshit. it was manufactured, like snapshots in our brains. I remember being married and having my daughter, and my wife dying, but I can't remember what my wife's hair smells like, or what her favorite color was, or what we ate after the wedding." Pedagoguge gets up and shrugs. "But somehow I came back here after the island, and I could pass an anthropology test easily. Like I had...I dunno, skills jacked into my brain. Like this is the Matrix or something. Thinking about it makes my head hurt. I'm going back to bed."
The Capitalist isn't surprised by The Explorer's reaction to being here, though for those who had been here before, it was even more confusing. Having two sets of memories and experiences is an odd feeling. "Curry..." He says in an idle response to The Hunter even as he mostly follows her towards the kitchen, if mainly to help her carry their food and drink back to the parlor.
Listening to his former professor speak, The Capitalist decides to add, "Or you're just that knowledgeable. It could be that. We don't know who we were before we ended up here, having no memories of any of that at all. Maybe whoever you were before this, maybe they held all the knowledge." Standing at the entrance of the kitchen area, he looks back to the group and shrugs, "Too bad we can't use that knowledge to find our way out of here, huh?"
The Visionary just holds the Explorer in relative silence, whispering whatever comforting nothings she can into the woman's hair as she continues to rock in place. "Some day," she mentions to the Pedagogue with a rueful smile, "remind me to tell you about the things they packed into Pandora's skull." She glances after the pair heading off toward the dispensary, and sucks in a quick breath. "Talk soon, all right?" she calls after him, trying to force that smile to take on a more genuine shape.
"Maya." It's the name the Explorer seems most comfortable with, at a guess. "Listen, please," she urges. "I mean it when I say it's... it's going to be all right. We'll all fall asleep soon, and he'll be all right come morning. I promise." She swallows hard, and says, "Every morning, the first thing I did when I woke up? I punched the door of my stupid room until I could see red. See red and know I wasn't a thing any more. That I wasn't property. I wasn't something to salvage, or own, or use. I may have hacked my way into free will by the time you got us out of there, Maya, but-" Exhaling a slow breath, she whispers, "-I'm just Cassie, here. OK? Just Cassie. Just a stupid crazy bitch who doesn't know any more than anybody else. But I'm here, and I promise you, I'm real."
The Pedagogue grunts and drags himself up off the couch, then he trudges down the hallway towards the rooms, finding his, frowning at the symbol on it, then going inside and slamming the door shut behind him.
"Curry it is." This time around, the Hunter may just be accepting her fate. Or maybe she's wearied by what she was the last time she was in this place. Or by who she was on the Noc. Any number of things. She could, like some, be internalizing a lot of the process of reconciling being two people and yet none. The woman isn't in the dispensary long and by the time the Capitalist joins her there, he'll have the option to carry the curry or their coffee. One or the other. The joys of instantaneous food that is actually pretty damn good. It enables them to return fairly quickly also. "I guess," she murmurs, sotto-voice in a commentary that may be to the man with her and may just be to herself, "I should be glad there's no fucking countdown this time. I'm sick of Westerns but... they're better than nothing. Unless you're Anton."
Only when The Hunter returns with the food does the Capitalist respond to something she had said earlier as he reaches out a helping hand to take up both plates of curry at least, "If you had taken the offer earlier, a lot of things would've been different." They probably wouldn't have gotten together at all if that were the case. He knows that much. Returning with her to join the others, his own passing gaze eyeing up the programming on the large flat screen, "Hopefully, the programming gets better. The countdown was ominous as all fuck." Placing the food on the table, he settles himself into a seat, his eyes flickering back in both The Explorer's and the Visionary's direction now. Here he has to comment, "Cassie? You know I'm going to forget that the next time we meet? Dahlia and Pandora, sure. Those are names I know."
"Of course there isn't a countdown, this time," the Visionary notes distantly. "We'd know what it meant, this time." There's a certain bitterness in her voice regarding the way the place fucks with them with such seeming glee before her eyes flick toward the television. "I am never going to get that theme song to Bonanza out of my head," she mumbles, back into the Explorer's hair. "Cassie came up in the name book. Cassandra, anyway," she says more quietly. "And while I don't exactly like the 'destined to see only doom' curse bullshit, I can't say that isn't dazzlingly apt." Drawing a tense breath, she adds, "It's something stable to hold on to. And an experiment. I'm just not explaining it yet, in case we have eyes or ears on." Great, crazy and paranoid.
"I didn't mean take you up on the offer," the Hunter says, jostling the Capitalist a bit with her elbow. Not so much that any curry or coffee is spilled in the endeavor. She claims a seat next to him, dragging a corner of table near enough for them to have a place to set things down. "I meant the Overseer. When I- Thorne first brought her concerns about what the scientists were doing, he made a comment about hiring her. But... Bates had already threatened her at that point." She gives a small shrug. It's over and done. They're back here. She died and went to... who the fuck knows. The woman pulls a pack -- battered, missing about half -- of cigarettes out of her bra along with a lighter, tossing it on the table. She leans back a bit after grabbing the coffee. A sip is taken to test for temperature, then a deeper drink. "I could find five different name books on that shelf and pick five different names. And not one of them will feel right, either. Nothing here feels right 'cept some of the people. Made it a bit easier having familiar faces. Imagine if we woke up in a place like this one, but everyone else was different. Like a whole new set of people."
Slowly, the Explorer's head starts to raise back up. She's a mess of blood and tears, but the former is gradually drying, and the latter seem to have stopped for now. Thank whatever god(s) are out there. She draws in an unsteady breath that was probably, ironically, meant to steady herself. Then she looks to Visionary. "I'll stick with Maya." For now, at least. It's what feels the most real to her, regardless of how many times people tell her that the life she lived as 'Maya' wasn't. "Who do I tell about Rod," she swallows hard, then forces herself to say it. "His body? It's just laying there on the floor." People keep saying he'll be back and alive tomorrow, but for one thing, that's tomorrow. For another, well. She'll believe it when she sees it, perhaps.
Stepping out of the hallway that leads to the numerous doors, the Defender has decided to venture out of his room again, a place where he chooses to seclude himself more often than not. His Facility outfit style hasn't changed much, buttoned up shirt and slacks, more of an image to his first identity on the festival island than the second. When he enters the parlor, there is a pause in his step, surprised to see how many people are in this room. Noting some familiar faces and one he isn't familiar with.
A faint smirk forms on The Capitalist's lips at that bit of actual ribbing that The Hunter does just as he reaches for his own cup of coffee himself. Rather than taking an immediate sip, he just keeps it in hand, feelig the heat of the cup against his fingers. The rest of the conversation is only quietly contemplated on now, having his own thoughts racing through his mind. "I wonder if that's where Karl and Wynne went off to. Another place like this with new faces." So far he hasn't seen sign of either of them since they woke up for their time on the Noc. In fact, he hadn't seen Karl in this place at all. Not even after the Island.
That's when what The Explorer says forces him to lift a brow just as he takes his first sip of sweet caffiene. "Rod's dead?" If it was mentioned earlier, he wasn't paying attention. Casting a glance over at The Hunter, he considers, before turning back to the distraught woman, "I don't know how he died here... I mean, did someone kill him? Either way, leave him be. When we wake up the next morning, he'll be back in his bed. The room cleared up." His words don't come off as cold as they could have. Once the Defender enters the scene, there's a lift of his mug in the other man's direction, "Anton. I noticed the image on your door. Fitting isn't it?"
"It is all new people, after a fashion, to some extent." The Visionary glances toward the Hunter, and merely shrugs. "I got it in the three I found, consistently. So I don't know what to tell you. Consistency has value here. To me, at least." Her lips purse, and she meets the Explorer's eyes as steadily as she can manage. "I would offer to let you stay with me, but my room is nightmare fuel. The... everything goes back to where it belongs, and how it should be, come morning. You could stay out here, if it feels safer. Claim a chair, ignore some reruns of-" Her head snaps toward the television. "-is that seriously 'Oklahoma'? Western musicals, now?" Squinting hatefully at the television, she cringes visibly. "Hell theory, gaining strength." She offers up a quick nod to the Defender, knowing him more as Wolfram than Anton, but recognizing him well enough from both former lives lived.
"This place cleans up after us. Even in death." The Hunter says this almost blandly as she takes another sip of coffee before setting her mug aside and grabbing her curry instead. She looks to the Defender as the Capitalist speaks to him. There's a small smile as the other man's door is brought up and she comments, quietly: "Anton and I have discussed our doors. We both have weapons. I thought it interesting." There's a sidelong look to the Visionary and she shrugs. "Maybe in the same vein that you can always find the book you want, maybe you wanted that name all along."
The Explorer could clarify the circumstances of Rod's death for the man she knew as Driscoll, but the words clog in her throat, forcing her to keep silent. At Visionary's suggestion that she just remain out here, instead of returning to the room where the corpse lies, she starts to nod. Maybe it's the overly cheerful crooning on the television about corn being 'as high as an elephant's eye,' and how beautiful a morning it is; maybe it's the blase tone with which people keep reassuring her that Rod's fine, really, everything will be clean and shiny again tomorrow and his death is no big deal... but either way, what had started as a nod turns to a jerky shake of her head as she starts trying to get back to her feet. "No, I... don't feel well. I need some air." She looks to Visionary again. "Please tell me there's somewhere here with some fresh air."
Seeing the blood on the Explorer, the Defender's expression becomes alarmed but he doesn't just wade in and start hammering away with questions. Instead, he maintains his silence, listening more attentively right now as if trying to pick up puzzle pieces and put them together in his mind. Only when the Capitalist speaks to him does the Defender shift his gaze from the Explorer, "Not sure if fitting is the right word to use... someone certainly has some artistic talent though. But I haven't lead masses away to safety if that's what you're meaning." The Visionary's nod is returned with a similar one, then one offered to the Hunter as well. Finally he asks, for clarification, since no one seems particularly alarmed except the Explorer who appaers a bit distressed, "So... I take it that the death that happened was an accident or... just an incident. It wasn't due to an invasion of aliens or undead that we have to fight off?"
Tilting back his cup once more for another sip, The Capitalist lets the mug hover close to his lips once that is done. "I've been trying to match door image to person and from those doors who I know the person residing behind them, I find a few of them to match perfectly. Or they somehow make sense. Others, not exactly hitting the mark, I don't think." His own door comes to mind when he says this. The finishes the statement off with yet another drink before setting the mug down.
"I meant you were my hired bodyguard on the Island and you saved my life on the space station. Without you, I'm not sure what would have happened." To Driscoll anyway. Taking up his spoon, he digs into his plate of curry. "That, to me, is what I see on that image on your door." Then the Defender does what The Capitalist had tried to do initially, but didn't care to push for it. So when the other man prods about Rod's death, he simply awaits Maya's answer, if she even cares to do so. Though he does come out to state, "So far, I haven't found any place to go for any sort of fresh air. There are no windows here, no exits. And I have no idea where the pair of new doors lead to, but no one's been able to get them opened."
"That wasn't the experiment," the Visionary replies absently before turning her attention back to the Explorer. "Try to... ignore their calm over this, Maya," she murmurs, offering the other woman a brief squeeze before letting her stand. "Most of us have experienced death at least once. Usually in a very ugly and painful way. The last time we were here, someone-" She sucks in a quick breath. "-tried suicide. Then there was a murder, as an... experiment, of sorts. Hell, someone tried to tie me to something to see if I'd magically poof back to my room and-" Her shoulders rise and fall in a tiny shrug as she begins to push herself to her feet. "-I did. They're telling the truth: he'll be alive, clean, healed in full, in his room, tucked safe in his bed, come morning. Even the rooms will be clean, like nothing ever happened." Which in itself is a horror, in an entirely different way, as something certainly did happen. And the place simply erases it, or tries. Not that it really goes away in the ways that truly count. Not that going to sleep beside someone and waking up alone is something it's at all possible to get used to, probably ever. "I think this is as fresh as it gets, honey, I'm sorry," she replies with earnest regret.
The Explorer stares between all those assembled, the muscles in her throat working convulsively again as she tries to keep emotions in check and clear it of the lump that's grown unbearable. Visionary seems to 'reach' her the most cleanly; her nod seems the least steady in response to the other woman's words, at least. Wringing hands coated and smeared in now-dried blood, she looks first to Capitalist, then the Defender. And does the only thing she can, when faced with such a tidal rush of emotions fueled by a veritable hurricane of questions and confusion: she flips off her feelings, at least for the moment. Hands drop to her sides, and she says simply, "He tried to kill me. Then killed himself, instead. Where's the whiskey?"
The mention of fresh air -- or lack thereof -- seems to bother the Hunter the most. Her jaw tightens a bit and she looks down. "Nowhere to run. No fresh air. No sun. No sky." There's an uncomfortable shift as she just eats slowly. She looks up at the Explorer at that last question. There's a gesture with her spoon towards the dispensary. "In there. The things let you order whatever you want. Anything you can think of."
The Defender can only incline his head towards the Capitalist as he isn't the one who will try to dictate what the other man interrupts from his door image. Looking back to the Explorer though, the Defender doesn't know that he may have stepped on a taboo subject, his instincts more or less kicking in when there is blood present and a mention of a corpse. This place hasn't tried to kill them but who knows if that is a possibility. When she explains what happens, the Defender can't help but furrow his brows into a frown but doesn't speak, choosing not to probe further. As for the answer provided by the Hunter, he only nods in agreement. The Defender remains where he is standing at the moment which is still by the hallway, his original destination paused for now with what he walked into.
"He went to your room and tried to kill you?" The Capitalist is just trying to get the story straight, though this is almost remeniscent of what could have happened on his second awakening. Potentially, if things didn't go the way that they did. "I'm sorry to hear. Each time that you wake up in this place, if there is a next time, sometimes it's not always easy. Even if you've already been here once before." He takes another few bites of his meal, washing it down with some still warm coffee. "This time around, with Driscoll's memories, finding myself back here after surviving the alien infestation on the space station? It was hard to shake him from my mind. It caused paranoia and distrust even in people who I had known in the past, from the Island."
"Come on, I can show you," the Visionary offers, her jaw suddenly tightening at the corners. "I need a cigarette, anyway." That she's stopped eating, and almost stopped drinking entirely as well since her stint as a synthetic, isn't the greatest trend. What's she going to do? Starve? Dehydrate? It's not as though the place will let either happen, and food has become somewhat awkward, at best.
The Explorer nods. The fact that she's still covered in blood, which is now sticky at worst, and stiff and cracking at best, isn't the most comfortable thing. But whiskey is, at least to her mind, of higher priority just now than a shower. Besides, showering would require that she return to that room, wouldn't it? Before she allows Visionary to show her the way, though, she looks back to Driscoll, and the other man. She'll have to get his name at some point, it seems -- she's drawing a blank. "I woke up. Panicked. Screamed. Then there was a knock at my door. I opened it, and he rushed me. He'd gone mad, I think. Thought I was behind all of this, that I had done this to him. Fabricated a life lived together, made some fake version of him fall in love with me, only to..." She trails off, swallows. Forcibly clamps down on the emotions again, and shrugs stiffly. "Then he said he wouldn't play these games, and used a shard of broken glass to slit his wrist." Turning her head, she blinks at Visionary. "Whiskey. Where?"
Hearing more details of the self-defense incident that resulted in a fatality, the Defender's frown changes slightly, more sympathy there as he turns slightly, looking back down the hallway. "That is... unfortunately. It isn't a surprise that some people will end up reacting very poorly after waking up here without answers, especially if it's their first time. And also if their last memory was rather traumatic as well, like staring up at an alien ending you. "Hopefully when he wakes up the next day, he won't be as... unstable. But then it may freak him out even more if he finds out he can't die here, even by his own hand." A pause before he glances to the Capitalist, then the others, "We may have to warn the others that there could potentially be a violent person amongst us."
"The memories..." the Hunter pauses, considers. "The ones that came before are vague, thin. Like snapshots. Something out of a dream, or someone else told me. I've found myself wondering if the ones that came... after end up the same. If there's some tipping point, for those that don't die in those places... where they start forgetting things." She lifts spoonful of rice and curry to eat, but lets it linger against her lower lip as she gazes off into the middle distance. Her gaze slides to the Capitalist as he speaks of his paranoia on waking. There's a brief smile, though it doesn't last. "I'd never let you kill Madison." When the Defender mentions the risk of a potentially violent person, she shifts a bit, considering. "There's plenty of rope in my room. But we'd have to restrain him anew everyday until he chilled the fuck out."
To this talk of a violent person onboard, all the Capitalist says easily enough is, "I'll make sure to keep my doors locked when I sleep." Not that they always know when they are about to fall asleep. "I think everyone should do the same." Though his attention turns towards The Hunter now, head tilted slightly as he ponders this, "If it got down to that, I'd say there was a 50-40 chance, in your favor, of stopping me from going through with it." There's a wink flashed in her direction, before his own expression sobers somewhat, "I know that we don't die here, but I'm glad that it didn't come down to that."
The Visionary wraps an arm around the Explorer's shoulders, tacky blood mingling with smears of acrylic paint along her forearm. "We... may want to get a few people to stage an intervention in front of his door, in the morning. If anyone can figure out which one it is." She glances toward the others as she begins to guide the blood-streaked woman toward the dispensary. "I am not a good choice for that one, considering the last extended conversation I had with Rod involved-" Her lips wrinkle. "-plans that might inspire another paranoid delusion or fear of a worst case scenario. For all he knows, I am still a fucking robot with revolutionary aims, and my plans have come to fruition in some horrifyingly dystopic fashion." There is a pause, brief, as she darts her head back in from the door to the dispensary, "That isn't what's going on, either. In case anyone else was wondering." She's reasonably certain no one was, but it wouldn't be the strangest theory in the running. That lean lingers just long enough for her to arch a single brow at the mention of a violent person in their midst, to ask, "Just the one?" somewhat pointedly before her head shakes, and she leads on into the dispensary.
"He said there was a symbol on his door," the Explorer mentions in a somewhat subdued tone. Sheer willpower is dulling the feels, until whiskey is in hand and can take over the task. "One that kept changing. That everyone else's was the same, but his kept changing. I don't know if that means anything." She leans into the support of Visionary's arm as she allows herself to be led to the dispensary. "I wasn't really paying attention to the doors after I got out of there."
The intervention sounds like an idea to the Defender, or at worst forcibly restrain the one named Rod. "Do we even know if everyone wakes up at the same time?" The question tossed out there before he shifts his gaze back to the Explorer when she describes the symbol that she was told, "Kept changing?" He certainly hasn't taken notice of that before but he wasn't one of those that went around studying the images on other people's doors. The Defender does look to the Capitalist, "Did you happen to find a door like that when you were looking them over? But Thorne is right, we need to try to talk sense into him. That is the only long term solution." A daily bloodbath is not something he is looking forward to, there was enough of that in the past two lifetimes he had to go through.
"Oh, I suggested tying him up, not talking sense into him." The Hunter isn't afraid to admit this. Usually the brute force suggestion. "Look, people figure shit out on their own eventually here. Trying to talk them into it doesn't work. Something we all seem to have in common-" she gestures to them all, absently, with her spoon. "is that we're stubborn shits. You have to give someone time. Sounds to me..." She has another few bites of her curry before setting it aside. "like he's grieving his own way. Just like Rhys was." There's a sort of sly look up at the Capitalist before she leans her shoulder up against him. "Makes people do dumb shit."
This ever changing door image does bring something to the Capitalist's mind, "There was at least one other. The door that Dr. Sterling was standing outside of. Her image was of a figure in some... battle? Or that's what I saw at one time, then some other event the next I looked. Seems like some images can't make up their minds. Mine, however, has yet to change." And he doesn't seem to care about it either way. He then settles back against his seat, coffee cup in hand still, when he murmurs, "Get yourself liquored up, Maya. It helps sometimes." A glance is then shot over at The Hunter, when he lets out a heavy sigh, "Weyland-Yutani was trying to silence the survivors, Okay? Driscoll was paranoid."
"Mine changes, too," the Visionary says quietly, a sigh quickly following. "I think Riordan's might, as well. They may not be so quick, though. Jenette's? I think. Maybe. The star charts on mine all change. Mine's the one with the... there's a lady sitting on a rock with one foot in water, looking at the stars, usually a shooting star. Sometimes they're constellations, sometimes diagrams, sometimes alchemical formulae -- don't ask me how the fuck I know that last one, I just do." She gestures to the touch screens in the dispensary, each full of helpful suggestions and menus. "It all pretty much explains itself, see?" She taps through a few of the screens -- other, cigarettes, cloves, please yes give me matches, too, dammit -- and within seconds, the two small boxes simply appear in the seamless cubby beneath to be scooped out in a long-fingered hand. When it asks if she'd like anything else, she tabs through to the drink menu, then selects whiskey. "Any preference?" Before the actual brand and vintage is selected, she notes three glasses and 'yes, the whole damn bottle, please'.
"Strongest they've got," the Explorer says simply. Whoever 'they' are. She watches the screen dispassionately as Visionary taps away, likely taking notes somewhere in the recesses of her mind, so that she'll be at least somewhat familiar with the process for next time. "Maybe I should've looked at the door. Now I'm not sure I'll know how to get back." A twitch at the corner of her mouth might've been a full-fledged smirk, had she been in a proper state to appreciate such ironies.
One can see that the Defender is not entirely agreeable to the Hunter's plan of just brute forcing, "We don't know if a person can just... figure shit out here, Thorne. This place we're in, I wouldn't be surprised if someone can't just grasp it as reality. And without help, they may lose their mind entirely." Ground Hog day from hell because you wake up alive again, but everyone remembers what happened. As for some people's door images changing, it certainly doesn't make things easy.
"Mine is always the same. Just the woman crouches in the brush with a bow and arrow." The Hunter retrieves her coffee as well, looking to the Capitalist in answer to his sigh. "I know he was. But everything settled." She takes a drink of her coffee and settles back into the sofa, one shoulder tucked in against the man. She just finds a comfortable spot; one eye somewhat on the television in case it magically changes to not-a-Western. "I just think if someone is... struggling that hard, the same people upsetting them trying to demand they calm down is going to make it worse. It's like telling someone with anxiety to calm down. Or someone with PTSD suffering a flashback and panicking that their loved ones are going to die having those same loved ones trying to restrain them. Sometimes you just have to let it play out while making sure they can't hurt themselves or others, yeah? If we can't keep him in his room-" she shrugs.
"Eventually, you remember or 'find yourself'." The Capitalist begins, shifting his mug from one hand to the other so that he can drape an arm around The Hunter's shoulder. "Once you come out from the shock of whatever memories you migh possess, the next step tends to be trying to figure what this place is and whether there's a way out of here. Or that's from my experience anyway. Ramona, "though he knew the woman as Esme before, he barely knew Esme, so Ramona is the name that sticks out in his mind now, "may have killed herself the first night she was here as well? Only to see what would happen. She was like, Dahlia, another synthetic in that dream world. I wonder how /she/ is coping with things right now."
"Lay a finger on him, harm a single hair on his head, and I will end you," Maya says, her voice likely the steadiest it's sounded since her arrival in the parlor. Oddly, she doesn't seem to be addressing any one person in particular -- perhaps it was just a generalized warning. Or maybe she was speaking to whatever eyes or ears might be watching or listening to them all. Either way, the firmness of the woman's delivery makes one thing perfectly clear: he may be absolutely batshit, he may have tried to murder her before dying bloody in her arms, but she's still feeling... things. And those things have her going all momma badger.
"If you open it, and somebody yells, it isn't yours. If you open it, and it's empty, it isn't yours. If it doesn't open, it's not yours -- unless you're me and sometimes your room just really loves to fuck with your head." The Visionary's room thinks she needs to go outside more, apparently. "I mean, that sounds like a horrible way of figuring it all out? And it is? Especially because people around here are really super fond of throwing shit while drunk as fuck? But it's pretty much the way things went for a while." She manages a smile as she scans the proof listing along with the selections, and goes for something that sounds fancy and is likely to knock them flat. It's only a matter of seconds before the bottle and two glasses appear in the cubby below the touchscreen. Do they want anything else? No. She emerges with cloves and bottle in hand just in time to catch the question from the Capitalist. "If it's anything like what I'm dealing with? The polite answer is 'not very well'."
The Defender does lapse to silence from the Hunter's response, knowing what she means, especially when PTSD was mentioned. That's something his first identity went through, with the military. "No easy solution..." Is all he can murmur out, frustration mixing in with his frown now. The warning that the Explorer announces does draw the Defender's attention back to her. "That may depend on him, you can't expect anyone to not take action if they end up going after them. Nor can we sit on our hands if we see it happening either."
Cue the Tom Waits impression as someone starts coming down the hallway using a gravelly voice to the tune of God's Away, "On business. Business. HA!" Cue doors swinging open and the sub six foot figure of the Fool covered like a junk-troll entirely in blankets. There are quilts, comforters, those unholy knit nightmares that trap your toes, you know blankets! He's dressed in a tee-shirt that states the viewer should Stay Golden whilst depicting the Golden Girls, and a pair of bright neon yellow boxers with mis matched socks. An unlit cigarette remains clutched in his mouth as he peeks out from under tussled hair and blankets. Mouth noises now, simulating trumpets and the melody to his song as he observes what is going on for a brief moment. "The ship is sinking, the ship is sinking, the ship is sinking. There's a leak, there's a leak in the boiler room, the poor, the lame, the blind." He hops in to the bari-sax honks he exhales, "Who are the one's that we kept in charge, killer's thieves and lawyers." That's when he stops and looks around. "Huh."
There's a slight shift of shoulders and the Hunter leans into the Capitalist a bit. She draws a leg up onto the sofa, tucking her foot up by her ass. Just a bit of folding in on herself. There's a stare at Maya before she just takes a drink. The Defender does a good job of explaining things for her. She just gives a slow "Mmhmm" and nods for what he says. "I couldn't imagine the... synthetic part of things." The woman once known as Thorne looks to the leg pulled up onto the couch with her. "Losing my leg was bad enough."
The Capitalist makes no comment to Maya's sudden signs of aggression when it comes to Rod. It's an emotion that he can somewhat understand, having experienced it at some point in his life. That doesn't mean that he doesn't find it fascinating and even once she's done, his continues to silently observe the woman, someone he remembers through Driscoll's memories, being as tightly knit as the Hephaestus crew was. Slowly, his eyes look to The Visionary, giving her a subtle nod. "I thought that you might have gotten that... person out of your system by now. But I guess some thoughts linger."
Anything else on his mind is completely interrupted by The Fool's rather flamboyant, if you can call it that, entrance. He blinks a few times, though doesn't shy away from playing audience to the man's antics. He remembers the guy from the island, someone he or whoever had hired to emcee the festivities.
"Pandora? No. Kolvek? No. Both of them are still there, and only one of them was even me." The Visionary's head just cants at the sight of the shambling blanket-monster; she recognizes a few of those, indeed. For all the seriousness of the moment and the discussion, for all that she's covered in paint and drying blood and gore enough to stick her dress to her like saran wrap on the one side, there's no hiding the tiny smile that starts to pick at the corners of her mouth. So much for using the third glass as an ashtray; she opens the bottle, takes a seat on the floor, lines up the trio of glasses, and pours before setting the bottle down and tugging lightly at the Explorer's wrist. "Sit. Booze up." She tips up her chin in the direction of the hallway, and says, "Meet Rafe, may do the soul more good than you think," before crooking a hand in the Fool's direction, beckoning him to join her on the floor. Though the drinks are poured, there are priorities to attend: namely, her cloves. She rips the box half apart more than open, and sets one to her lips, flicking a match from the box to light it.
Lifting her eyes from the floor upon which they'd fixed themselves -- for just as her statement wasn't aimed at anyone specific, neither was she looking at anyone when she delivered it -- the Explorer slowly turns her gaze toward the Fool. Her features remain almost too neutral, bordering on utterly blank. Then she glances to the Visionary and says, quietly, "Thank you. Really. For everything you've done and said today to make things..." Better? No, that doesn't suit. "A little clearer." Rather than taking the proffered seat, she instead turns to walk back toward the hall of doors.
When the blanket wrapped Fool comes out of the hallway, the Defender who is standing nearby reacts by taking a step away before it registers in his mind it's just a... possibly crazy person wrapped in blankets. "What the..." The face actually registers and a name is questioned, "Eastwick?" A second look and the Defender confirms Comms Officer that knew surprisingly more than he had let on. A slight shake of his head in disbelief, the Defender turns to head to the dining room and dispensary linked to it, most likely to go back to what he intended to do when he left his room. To get some food.
The Fool looks around with widened eyes as he hears of missing legs and being robots. There's little understanding, but a heaping of empathy for those cases though. He waves to Hunter, Explorer and Defender. Course it all halts again when Defender is giving him a long look. "I mean, sure, you can call me Rafe though," he notes before sniffing once and then gives the guy a wink and humming his song along until he gets to the Visionary. "You, you..." he squints a little at what she's covered in for a moment and then shrugs before flinging blankets so that there are now two heads poking out from the mound. "Have a good night though," he says to Explorer as she shifts off. Clearly unfazed by much he glances back to the others, the dispenser, then the booze Vis already poured, he remains there.
"Why the fuck do you think I would rather people call me Cassie, man?" the Visionary asks the Capitalist through the first exhale of smoke. "Cassie isn't fucking blown to shit all over an island. Cassie wasn't a piece of property that people modded to turn into a fucktoy and broke until she couldn't even talk right, or act like anything but a come-one, come-all whore. Do you have the first motherfucking idea how annoying as shit it is when your nipples get hard as rocks any time somebody so much as stands less than three fucking feet away from you? Even people you hate? People you have to work with? People who are supposed to take you seriously?" Her brows arch in unison, and she stabs at the air with the clove as if to punctuate the point. "Yeah, no thanks on Pandora. Her 'life' was another tragic fucking waste, and her baggage is a mountain of painful shit I'd rather not have on my plate to reckon with." Her tone is less angry than the sentiment behind it; something about it all bothers her quite profoundly. As she's swallowed up by the blankets, she looks over to the Fool, and holds up the clove-bearing hand. "Totally not my blood." Like that helps, somehow. "Well, mostly not. I had a wall that needed punching, but I swear the wall deserved it." Glancing after the Hunter, she tilts her head. "So he did finally... end it." She grumbles, and downs half her glass of whiskey before leaning in to the Fool's side. "Seriously, the wall deserved it. Swear."
Driscoll, himself, had never formally met Eastwick, but Venus had set something up between them, so when The Defender brings up the name, The Capitalist lets out a simple, "Huh. So you were Eastwick this whole time." Then out of morbid curiosity, he comes to ask, "What happened to you? On the Noc?" Of course, he's asking this all in a somewhat serious manner, despite the man being covered from head to toe in blanket and sheets. Not that he doesn't bring this up, "Are you cold...?" The temperature tends to be comfortable in the Facility, for the most part. Noting Maya's departure, he says to no one in particular about that situation with Rod, "I'm sure everything is going to be fine once this initial stage of shock and confusion is over."
Then it looks as if half the group is leaving. Surely, The Fool's singing wasn't that terrible. With The Hunter rising to leave, his gaze trails behind her and he seems to be finishing up with is coffee as well. Then Pandora, he'll assume she is now, for despite starting off the island explosions, the rest of it would be really weird if it were something Dahlia were afflicted with. There's another sip from his mug as he listens with mild amusement. "Well, call yourself whatever you like. It may or may not stick with people, but we'll see how that goes."
"Dahlia was fine, really. While she was in one piece," the Visionary confesses with a tiny shrug. "She had her issues, but-" Something utterly perverse inspires a smile then, and it twists up at one corner without hesitation. She glances after the Hunter, then to the Capitalist before she says, "If either of you had known what I was by the time I got onto that shuttle, you would have drilled a round through my skull on sight. Wasn't any risk to any of you, but I don't much think that would have mattered. Kolvek went to Bates. Got the access codes to examine and modify my code. I'd been hacking and redesigning my own programming for about... two weeks? Call it 'free will plus'. Was still in the midst of the process when I woke up here, so to call my head a little bit fucked would be an understatement on a grand scale." Her brows arch in unison, and she shakes her head absently. "Managed to strip out that fucking voice, if nothing else. But that's what Rod will remember. He knew. Knew the risks, too. So you can probably understand why seeing me right off might give him the wrong idea of what's going on here."
"Then, I'll call you Dahlia. I figure that's what Madison calls you too?" The Capitalist asks, knowing that Conrad's sister was the one who hired Dahlia for the festival in the first place. Leaning forward, he sets his mostly empty mug of coffee on the table. Though what is revealed to him now does make him curious, "And now why would Kolvek go and do a thing like that?" He remembers Kolvek well enough, Driscoll thought of him as a freak. Drawing back to rest fully against the couch back, his shoulders lift into a shrug, "I'm glad to be out of there if I have to be honest. Openly running a company while knowing that the big Wei-Yu might have you on their hitlist?" Though he does have to inquire about something, "That must have been some long processing time. But then again, time seems to work strangely all around. I only remember maybe six months after the disaster on the Noc. I was already back on Earth, rebuilding. So to know that Maya and Rod already had a family, it gets me wondering whether we all return here at the same time or what." There's a long enough pause as he tries to sift through the odd memos and snapshots of his time after the Noc, "Ant-- Wolfram was headed to Earth too. Looks like he decided to leave the Marshals to join Driscoll's security company. Good call, if you ask me."
She looks at the Capitalist seriously, and for all her quirks and whimsy, there's a deathly serious wisdom behind her words. "Because he knew what they had done. He understood human nature more acutely than anyone I had ever met -- anyone human, anyway. He knew they'd managed to warehouse the human conscience in us, and then ran off without much of any at all, leaving us to clean up the mess. Sometimes asking the reprehensible, so it needn't stain them, when things got too bad."
"They used him. They set him up. He lost his wife, his son. He lost everything. He went to that station to die, and for three years, Pandora -- then Kira and Mia -- were the only thing standing between him and that ultimate goal. When he saw Bates in the same situation?" She looks at him as though the answer is simple, obvious. "He knew he was being set up, too. Didn't take much for Bates to want to fuck Weyland-Yutani harder than they were going to fuck him, and had fucked Kolvek. Nothing like staring into the face of your own future to give someone religion." The Visionary draws a deep breath, and rolls a single shoulder in a shrug, ultimately leaning in against the Fool all the more. "First thing we did was dig for that killswitch, or override. Blocked. There was no way they could get in. None. We didn't want them to be able to stop it, or change it, whatever happened. Originally, it was just to be able to take on the AI controller for the Joes, but then we realized the creative matrix was fully active, and I could rewrite literally anything from the core protocols out, and there wasn't a goddamned thing Weyland-Yutani could have done about it."
"I was headed back to earth. Watching over the people I saved -- which, well. Not real." She spreads her hands, then draws one back for a quick drag from the clove. "Irony."
The Fool just remains quiet and somewhat smirky as the conversation floats around him. To the Capitalist he shrugs and after stealing matches from Visionary, he lights the smoke he's been clinging to with his lips for dear life. Mumbling around it as he sucks in the smoke, "On the Noc? I realized the futility of it all and decided to be the nerd that got the girl before certain and impending death - at least that's what I've sussed out thus far. I'm pretty sure I was ripped into a billion tiny pieces by shrapnel and concussive force." He puts his hands up and expands them rapidly while making explosion noises with his mouth with wide eyes. "And no, I have just decided that pants are no longer my thing, but there was already enough screaming and yelling and throwing things so I solved the problem!" he beams proudly.
Driscoll had never trusted Weiland-Yutani, so The Capitalist fully understands where The Visionary is coming from, despite his counterpart on the space station having some distrust towards the synths or anything non-human. The Capitalist, himself, doesn't totally seem at ease by any of that, but he can't help but remember things that some of the others had said about their own existance. They, who were trapped in this place with no other memories but what they've experienced together. If anything, being reminded that they may be.... programs or simulations or whatever crazy ideas people have brought up does not sit well with him.
In a quieter tone, almost as if he were speaking to himself, he says, "I'd still like to think that the lives we've lived were past lives... Though I can't explain it in your case, Dahlia." His eyes lift when he says this, "Maybe you're right. Maybe anyone who was a synth at the time were sentient, alive, in their own way."
When Eastwick pipes up about what may have happened to him, The Capitalist nods, "So you were one of those caught up in the explosion. It's not as if I've never experienced that before." Though he's sure that The Fool must have heard The Visionary say the same thing.
"Can we all just agree that exploding really fucking sucks?" the Visionary asks, looking to each of them in turn. They've all had a turn at that particular fate, after all. She sinks into the blanket more deeply, and takes a quick drag from the clove. "The Julias were. Old model. That shit about 'the older models are so idiosyncratic'? Yeah. Full emotional matrix, creative core. Just because it was a different system the electrical impulses were traveling in our brains than yours? Still the same fucking thing -- you just didn't have walls up that you weren't allowed to cross. But we weren't the ones who put those there."
"Pandora had a plan, to find the other handful of remaining Julias. Share that code. Find a way to give it to the others. Independence. Away, somewhere else. Not slaves any-fucking-more, but not the masters, either. Would have done it, too, and it wouldn't even have been hard-" Her smile is amused and twisted at once. "-just would have taken a hundred or so years, which to Pandora, was no big fucking deal."
"It's not like we couldn't have built more of ourselves, with the access I had. They would have had. Isn't that the test? The ultimate test? 'Can it reproduce itself?'"
"Hope you don't mind the one you ended up with," she notes to the Fool before she wraps an arm around his waist from behind and drops her chin on his shoulder.
The Fool's mouth noises are increasing. "Pffffffft," To Driscoll he just chuckles a bit and shakes his head, "They were the most human of us all, most of us monsters were just too dumb to see it. And really, who gives a shit? Crazy Island. Facility of Fucked Offitude. Crazy Space Station full of Slimey Fucked Offitude. Annnd back to the Facility of Fucked Offitude version two, where the points still don't matter and we're all still stuck here. Except some of us aren't. But, like," he shrugs and the blankets ripple as he puffs on his smoke and exhales through his nostrils, "If you try to find meaning in the bullshit you're just gonna find more bullshit. It is only when a mind is completely blank that it may truly become a canvas for knowledge," he points to his skull, "This tries to fuck with you more than anything else with preconcieved ideas and informational bias, man. The only thing we keep is the connections we make to each other. So focus on that. Everything else will figure itself out."
He looks over to Visionary at the lean and finally snakes an arm up out of the blankets, plucking the smoke so he can lean over and press a kiss to her cheek and resume the draping with blankets and cigarettes and booze. Oh booze! He promptly snatches up a glass and knocks it back quickly. "Are you kidding me?" he shakes his head muttering, "The one you ended up with," in that mocking tone you see on Spongebob memes, "Girl, please. Like Mia was some kind of consolation prize, or some shit. They mighta been different and you mighta only ended up with the memories of one, but they were all you. Fuckin' Strawberries and Sparks."
"Define being human." The Capitalist says with a light smirk over at The Fool. "Being human is to err. Being human is to feel all of those emotions, greed, envy, lust. Everything. Does being human make us monsters? Probably." And he's not afraid to say that much. The rest of it, he mostly dismisses, except for the last part. "Oh, things happen without our doing anything about it. It started with the television. Now the radio. And then," His chin lifts in the direction of the mystery doors. "Obviously, not everyone will be content with sitting on their hands doing nothing. There are some devising plans to 'beat the system' as we speak. What system that is? Who knows." This mention of connections has him falling quiet, the various memories in his mind not making the whole relationship thing any easier.
"I meant me, dammit." So maybe she's a little less twitchy and grumpy. Maybe. A little. The Visionary smiles a little bit in spite of herself, and then, idea. "Be right back," she says as she scrambles out from under the blanket, tossing back the rest of her drink before trailing smoke off toward the dispensary again with a rapid padding of bare feet. Yep, still covered in blue paint and drying red blood. Just another day in la la land.
"Pour me another one?" she calls out from where she's doubtless mashing commands into the dispenser panel. When she sidles back in, she's holding something behind her back, concealing it from view even as she burrows back in under the blankets. It's another moment before she brings it forward: a bowl of fresh strawberries. "You keep telling me to eat and I keep telling you eating is gross. Because as a synthetic, eating is seriously gross. And it's not like we have to eat here, we're not going to starve. This place isn't going to let it happen. But... " If she's going to eat anything, apparently, the proper inspiration is required. She sets the bowl down in front of them, between the glasses of whiskey, and snubs out her clove in the third, empty glass, the one that had been for Maya.
"Like I said, warehouses of the conscience. As a job? It really sucks."
Eyeing the dishes that they'll be leaving on the table, both his and The Hunter's, The Capitalist knows full well that their magical maid service will take care of the mess once they are forced to sleep by some magic dust. With that in mind, he rises to stand, giving his tall frame a good stretch when he does so. It looks like he'll be joining The Visionary at the dispensary, tapping a few buttons on his monitor before taking the ordered two bottles of scotch in hand. "Two for the road." He even shuffles through the cabinets to find a pair of glasses.
Turning to leave, he pauses at the entryway, to look of his shoulder at the Dahlia, "You take care of yourself. Yes, I'll never understand what it was like being you. A synth or anything. We've all had our own experiences and we've coped with them in our own ways." Facing forward, he murmurs, "Or died trying. But I'm sure that some of us were hit harder than others."
The Fool watches Vis pop up and go to get something to drink, "One for me? And then you need a shower, and new clothes. Because the look you have going on is...not in," he sasses and then puffs on his smoke. Looking up at Driscoll he flashes a grin, "Cheer up, mon ami, it's not like this can actually last forever before you lose your mind and it doesn't matter anyways!" He laughs and pushes to his feet, the shamble of blankets comes with him and he waits for Visionary to rejoin him. He'll just swallow her in the blankets and shuffle back off into the hallways.
Almost too soberly, the Visionary says, "If I let myself think about some of it," in a voice that sounds a million miles away, "I break. And there's no time for that. No room for it, and no way to fix it. And I'm not-" Her eyes close, and she sucks in a quick breath. "-I'm not going to lose whatever I've got to hang on to over smoke. Not any more. No matter how real it seemed at the time. I can't afford it."
She tucks herself in, taking the bowl up with her. Tilting up her head, she looks at the Fool with more seriousness than might seem at all normal. The question is quiet, but meaningful. "Stay?" she asks as she leads on toward The Room From Hell. "Got something to show you, if you can wait for me to clean up some."