[ISS] Visitation (Ash 2.2)

edited April 2016 in ISS Tsiolkovsky
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Ashlee,

image Lucas opens the door after you chime. He stands there, eyes searching you. He sees the bruise right away, looks past you to see if anyone else is in the hall. "Hey." He looks down at the deck, "Where are your shoes?" He motions for you to come inside.

The room's empty except for Lucas, Olivar's still out. You spot Lucas' Navi on his bed. "You okay, Ashlee?"

What do you do?

Comments

  • image
    By the time he answers I've calmed down a little. I look at his face as he answers, not quite in the eye, but close.

    "Pffft..." I scoff, "none of us cool kids wear shoes..."

    Don't really answer the other part right away and I slip inside past him. Happy to see Olivar is out. I sit on the edge of his bed with a little bounce and finally I answer, "uh... tha... thanks for coming to find me. Yeah, I noticed."

    A simple little smile. Feels awkward being able to thank someone for doing anything nice for me, let alone heroic.

    I cross one leg over the other and notice the bottoms of my feet are dirty gray from walking around like this since lockdown, can't help but rub a foot with the heel of my hand, they feel so cold.
  • image Lucas heads over to sit on the other side of the bed and removes his shoes, sort of pushes them off his heels, lets them drop to the deck. "I should have done something before he took you out. I should have..." He's not sure how to finish that sentence.
    He notices you rub your foot, "Want a rag or something? I've got a washcloth, it's clean." He stands up quickly, walks towards his bathroom.

    What do you do?
  • image
    Makes me smile when he kicks off his shoes, which makes my cheek sting again. Funny, in all my meandering I'd nearly forgotten about that, how Rys backhanded me just a few hours ago. It must look worse than it feels, or maybe the way it happened just makes it seem kind of laughable.

    When he hesitates I know I should say something and I look up and almost do, but then he asks about the rag and realize I'm rubbing my filthy foot right in front of someone like this, "uhhh... yeah sure. Guess it's pretty gross... sorry."

    As I wait I turn my head and lower my chin a bit to let my bangs hang over my cheek and better conceal the bruise Rys left me. I glance at his Navi, wondering if the feed is still up.
  • image

    Ashlee,

    The Navi is active and yes, the feed is up. The lockdown light is off.

    image You hear water at the sink. After a minute, Lucas comes out with a wet washcloth. He walks over to you, the drops down to take a knee, "Hey, if you want to use my Navi, that's alright." He gently reaches for your foot, like he's going to wash your feet. That's kind of weird, right?

    What do you do?


  • image
    Uh yeah... totally weird.

    I start to reach for the navi, then as he crouches thee and starts to reach for my foot I look at him with this twisty little look on my face. I lean forward and playfully snatch the towel, "what the heck are you doing?"

    And yeah, I kick him gently in the shoulder, just a playful little and quite good-natured tap. Nothing angry on my face here as we hopefully both have a laugh at how absurd this moment of our tortured little loves is.

    I start to rub a foot with the towel, chuckling quietly.
  • image

    Ashlee,

    image Lucas laughs a little, mostly following your lead. He doesn't try to keep the towel, letting you take it, watching you wash your foot off, then remembering to look up at you. "Uhm, yeah. Just..." He laughs again, still sitting there on his left knee, sits on the deck. "My mom used to wash my feet. I hated shoes.... guess I used to be a cool kid."
    He shifts on the deck, noticing you have his Navi. "Feed's back up, but it's weird. Twitchy. Want to catch up on speedball tourneys and.. and stuff?"

  • edited April 2016
    image
    I lean forward and swipe the wet rag across my feet as Lucas gets up, "your mom? Really?" That sounds really weird but I guess maybe it isn't so much. "Seriously, who gives a tic about being cool? Right? Who wants to be like those narcs and drokkheads."

    He asks about watching the feed."Sure," I answer, now he's talking my language. "Probably some good stomm on the SBG site... system league." I let him have his navi, of course, and he can browse as I get up to toss the dirty towel in the laundry hamper then return to sit where I can see.

    I sit quietly for a moment as he navigates, then my voice falls to a little hushed, earnest tone and I ask, "hey... I was wondering... why'd you want to stand up for me? You know you don't have to..."
  • edited April 2016
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    Ashlee,

    He takes the Navi, cues up the SBG updates. The feed is twitchy, some after-images, fuzzy text in places. Still, you can see the silver and white of the Griffons, the defending champions. They must've won another match. You spot the gleaming smile of Andro, their team captain, staring out at yet another reporter.

    image Lucas looks up at the question, meeting your eyes furtively before looking back down at the Navi. "I, uh... I mean of course I have to." He sniffs once, straightens, meeting your eyes again, "I have to stand up for you. You're... you're like the only person who's nice to me. And I... I kind of like you, Ashlee." His eyes drop with the admission and he sits there, tense as he breathes through his nostrils, waiting for a response.

    He's being super nice to you. I think this triggers Futile Hope. Take the Condition Hopeful, which replaces Betrayed. You both swap Strings on each other, as well.

    What do you do?
  • edited April 2016
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    I've been leaning against Lucas, just touching shoulders as we watch the feed. I pump a fist a time or two as we see a couple of sweet goals. I glance at him as well as he looks at me. His demeanor has changed a little, I can sense it even though I am admittedly a little bit clueless sometimes.

    His admission takes me by surprise, and only then do I realize that our shoulders have been touching as I've leaned closer to watch with him.

    "What? For real?" I don't move, just stare at the screen, at captain Andro in some post-game interview talking about teamwork and looking forward to the postseason.

    My mouth feels suddenly dry and I'm suddenly aware of the sound of Lucas's breathing, the tension in him as he waits in obvious anticipation. I falter, two-three breaths pass... I hadn't though about him that way... like... he was just someone I could hang with, right?

    My eyes search the room for something to focus on, all I can find to say is, "why?"

    Why does he like me? I haven't done anything very likeable... have I? Ever? It may not sound too hopeful, to him... but I haven't moved away... and our shoulders still touch. I want to know.
  • image You see out of the corner of your eye that Lucas swallows once, nervously, his jaw flexes before he responds, "I dunno... why. Uhm, why not?" His mouth hangs open like he wants to say more, but the words don't come. A few breaths pass between you. The SBG site flashes to a commercial and it draws your attention.
    Not enough to miss when his shoulder moves, since you feel it. He turns and starts moving towards you, impulsively trying to kiss you, Ashlee.
    What do you do?
  • edited April 2016
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    Wow, I hold my breath and sit still as Lucas leans around to kiss me. I don't avoid it, I let myself be kissed. My heart races and I'm totally aware of how my lips are a bit too dry, my hair a bit of a mess, and how I'm totally unprepared for this.

    I keep it brief, pull away after just a few moments by turning my head. But I don't get up, I don't move away. I just can't let it be... too much... right now.

    Somewhere during that moment, though, I find that I've taken his hand in mine, or maybe he took mine. I hold tight with the back of his hand atop his thigh and my hand in his.

    "Lucas..." what can I even say... his name comes out like barely a whisper.
  • image Lucas doesn't push the kiss, but he draws back, a little disappointed more than frustrated. He squeezes your hand, taking solace in it, probably. "It's okay. It's... it's okay, Ashlee. I thought maybe you liked me back, but it's okay." He doesn't move his hand away from yours.
    "I thought. I thought you came here to... to be with me." He looks at you, tries to meet your eyes, eager for some sign from you.

    What do you do?
  • image
    "I did!" I turn my head and look him in the eye and squeeze his hand. I'm really not good at this. I stare at our hands as I search for something to say. I feel my shoulders slump a little, "I want to be here with you... but I just... I didn't know it would be... this... you know I...."

    My heart is racing, I'm not sure what I want but I know I don't want to make him hate me like everyone else.

    I turn towards him again, nervously lick my lips all self-conscious that he probably notices me do it. "It's ok..." I nod, a little dip of the chin and a tiny nod that tells him it's ok to kiss me.
  • image He doesn't need to be told twice, Ashlee. He turns towards you, his free hand coming up to cup your cheek, his face coming closer, closer. Just before he kisses you, his hand moves down to the side of your neck and kind of pulls you into it. The kiss is lips on lips for a moment, then you feel his tongue press against your lips, and his hand, the one holding yours, it moves. It's like he's moving your hand to his crotch, Ashlee. He's pretty excited, you can tell.

    What do you do?

  • image
    The kiss is nice. He touches me gently at first, his lips feel nice and it's good for that first moment. I'm definitely awkward at this, not sure if he would notice. Hope he doesn't.

    But then he presses in with the tongue, and starts moving my had and it's like... a moment of panic. I was ok with kissing, Lucas! Just kissing, and then... maybe... maybe make out a little on your bed. Maybe! But... but seriously? You don't wait two seconds and already this?

    No, I can't let this go that far... I came here for a place to feel safe and welcome... a place to hang out, yeah, maybe make out but not like this!

    He's holding me into his kiss so it's hard to say anything, hard to stop it. I make a little noise of protest and resist how he's moving my hand towards his crotch. Shake my head a little... if he doesn't immediately stop then I'm going to have to pull out of the kiss and I don't know... get the drokk out of here?

    For a brief moment, too, I thought someone might actually want to just spend time with me...
  • image

    Ashlee,

    Are you going to Manipulate him to back off, or perhaps spend a String for it? He might be dissuaded without too much trouble.
  • Manipulating Lucas to cool it.
    (Rolled: 2d6-1. Rolls: 1, 3. Total: 3)
  • image

    Ashlee,

    When you move back, he pulls up, letting go of your hand and stopping the kiss. He looks worried when he sees that you're not into it, and he scoots back, away from you, mumbles an apology, then moves off the bed, standing up and going to the bathroom.

    What do you do?

    Give Lucas another string, Ashlee.
  • edited April 2016
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    He slips away. Just like that. I want to say something but that feeling of his hand on mine, pressing me towards... I shiver and watch him sadly go. Why, Lucas?

    I'm kind of in a state of disbelief. What happened doesn't seem real, or possible... When I came here it was to a safe haven, or so I thought... wrong again. I quickly I get up and silently excuse myself. I pause in the doorway and look back at the washroom door.

    "Sorry.... Lucas," I say probably too quietly for him to hear.

    "Why are you aplogizing, Ashlee?" I berate myself and slide the door shut behind me as I hurry back to my own awful, awful room. My face full of hurt and shame from too many disappointments.
  • image

    Ashlee,

    Lucas comes out of the bathroom when you open the door and head into the hall. You see him, maybe he did hear you, but he stays by the bathroom, his eyes sad that you're leaving.

    With the Lockdown evidently over, you spot a few people in the hall. Aiden has his door open, he's sitting in the floor right outside, listening to music, just happy to be out of his room. He's munching on some food, which reminds you that you're super hungry, Ashlee.

    Mi Sun is pacing outside her room, she sees you, but ignores you. She looks upset, maybe she's been crying? Not like she'd talk about it with you, though. What were things like between you and Mi Sun before they transitioned?

    When you get to your room, you still have the nice sheets, Nadja's still gone. What do you do?
  • image
    I glance at Aiden, one of the few people left in the pod that I actually don't have a problem with. Yeah, I am hungry... although those food bars should be waiting in my room some actual food would feel way better.

    Mi Sun was never a friend of mine, but was quiet and kind of actually pleasant before... sometimes we'd talk a little before class. Nothing deep though, and I bet she'd deny it ever happened. I don't really think about it but maybe Mi Sun was more absorbed in her own problems... now she just wants to keep the cool kids off her own back. Find someone else to put down, that's very often someone like me.

    As for now, I pause just long enough for a pregnant little glance at her, then just walk past.

    I reach my room and remember those sheets, Nadja... off drokking with Mark on pod eight by now. I glance down at my hands and shudder as I feel Lucas's hand pulling mine towards him. Damn it.

    I find my navi and take it to the desk and sit in the little chair, one leg on the floor and the other curled under me. I unwrap one of the food bars to gnaw on while I browse.

    Curious... I'm going to look up who's on the current speedball roster for our pod.
  • edited April 2016
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    Ashlee,

    Speedball Team Hawk Roster (current):
    Team Captain Mark Larsen
    Corporal Rys
    Tabitha R. Smith
    Zola Leal
    Cressida Redmond

    Injured Reserve:
    Jace Hyo

    Cressida is Pax's registered name.

    No mention of you. Maybe Mark didn't mean it when he said you'd be part of the team.
  • image
    I bring up the brief list. You know, I didn't actually expect him to add me to the team, especially after... well after Nadja. Cressida? Oh... right. Pax.

    I tap-tap on my screen and look at the list with annoyance. I'm not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination, but it just doesn't seem fair. Just because I wasn't born tall and athletic like Tabitha or yeah, Zola. I thought I could stand up with them on agility or at least on technique... but like it or not Zola was faster. I couldn't do it and she put me on the floor for trying.

    It burns, though, and I feel it hot behind my eyes. Makes me want to scream how she treated me today, too, just for showing up anywhere near the court.

    And I can't stop flexing my hand, the one Lucas was holding... it's like I can still feel it. After some time sitting here glaring at the screen I suddenly cry out and slam my hand on the desk to get that drokking feeling out of my hand. It hurts and my hand stings as I stand up and walk a slow circle around the room with a hiss and shake it out.

    I turn back around and again regard the dimly glowing screen. "Tabitha R.?" I wonder what it stands for and smile softly. At least someone isn't an ass hole.

    I sit again and look up the team's next opponent.
  • image

    Ashlee,

    Speedball Team Hawk Schedule

    next game - Pod Eight Speedball Team Power


    What do you know about Ezekiel, Gen Yu, Gams and Pellit, the Power team?
  • edited April 2016
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    I nibble the corner of my lip and think, pull a leg up to sit a little higher.

    Team Power, they're formidable, their bench players might be starters in a weaker pod... Maybe even ours. They have a system of turnover that keeps the team strong and their coach is widely regarded as the best on board, one of the better players to come out of the shipboard league... of course that was before the plague. It's no stretch of the imagination to assume that someone up in command has them "sponsored" and sees that pod eight gets what they need.

    I tap-tap around a bit to look up game highlights. I clock Gen Yu's amazing speed up the flank, the way Gams is always resting a foot on the goal marker when the ball is at mid court... even takes eyes off the ball to check, I have to wonder why. Pellit is the rookie but already smashing his successor's records and his shots on goal look devastating, but he telegraphs the break of the shot by tilting his head to that side... yeah. Every time. I smile a little wicked grin and congratulate myself for noticing this little detail.

    Then there's Ezekiel, the calm one... obviously the one calling the plays and I can't figure out his signs. If I could get into their practice, maybe... yeah. Then I could figure him out. I wonder...

    I glance up and see my food bar still sitting there unwrapped on the desk. I'd forgotten to even take a bite and lost track of time. My stomach grumbles.

    I swipe over to messaging and tap-tap in Mark's addres.... then pause and think...

    "No... Ashlee just no."

    I erase Mark's name and enter Tabitha's instead:
    To: Tabitha
    can you beat team power?
  • image

    Ashlee,

    No response from your message. Ten minutes go by.

    You're all alone, it seems.
  • edited April 2016
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    Fine.

    I need to see team power at practice, figure out when they have the court logged and ... what, just hang out? I'm not on the team, maybe they won't care.

    Ok.... that's the plan. I send a message to Aiden. He knows everything, right?
    To: Aiden
    can you get main court practice schedules for all pods?
    couple food bars good for it?

    Might as well go for it. Not like Nadja needs something to eat... I'm sure her mouth is full of... something. I shake my head and try not to picture that. I stand up and nervously pace as I wait for the little chime of a message.

    If he won't answer either I'm probably going to break something.
  • image

    Ashlee,

    There's no response on the Navi for a minute or so. You head back to something else on the Feed, it's twitchy, still. Feedback loops and after-images. Nothing's very stable on the sites.

    There's a chime at the door. It's Aiden.
  • edited April 2016
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    I'm just to that point where frustration makes me begin to think dark thoughts. I hadn't thought Aiden had a problem with me, lockdown's over and there's no way that tech-head would be without his Navi. Seriously wondering what I did to piss him off, too, when the door chimes startle me.

    I pick up the two unopened food bars in one hand and walk over to open the door.

    "Hey uh.... is that a yes?"
  • image He gives a little nod. "Can I come in?" He glances back over his shoulder, like he'd rather be safe than sorry. He doesn't seem scared, just cautious. I assume you let him in. He looks around, heads for the desk, puts his Navi down. "Why do you want the schedule, Ashlee? And... are you alright?" He gives you a quick glance, then he's looking at the Navi again. Being polite.

    What do you do?
  • image
    I stand in the door with the food bars in hand, I hadn't expected him to come to the door, let alone want to actually come in. I glance inside by reflex, usually Nadja is here being annoying and hogging the room with her friends so It's not like I often have company.

    "Oh... yeah ok," I take a couple steps back to let him in and over to the desk. The room is at least my bed is sort of neatened up, though of course all my stuff is still piled up around the edges as usual. I don't sit, but stand a couple steps back from him to watch, casually, what he's doing.

    "You know I love the sport, right?" I deflect, just acting the part of a fan. Let him assume what he wants. He noticed my cheek, too... I still haven't bothered to look in the mirror. "Yeah... it doesn't even hurt.
  • image He continues tapping away on his Navi, "No, I didn't know that. Fan of Mark, I assume? Everyone else is." His tone isn't completely snide, just stating a fact more than anything. He reaches up to pinch and zoom the screen, then taps a small listing. "Do you want calendar or a list by team?" He glances back at you, then walks over to take a food bar (he won't yank it from you), opens it and takes a bite. It's a crunchy one, and he seems to approve.
  • image
    I watch with eyes slightly narrow, standing behind him I'm glad he can't see the face I make when he mentions Mark. Blech.

    "Let's say I want to go to another pod's practice or whatever... that kind of stuff."

    He takes a food bar, I just relax my grip and raise my hand slightly for him to take it. I realize I actually haven't answered.

    "Uh... yeah a list by team... that would be great."

    As he returns to the desk I stand near my bed and watch his hair bob around as he eats. Seems like we have a more or less professional relationship and that's all. I'll take it.
  • image "Oh, that's doable. There are forms for interpod field trips and stuff. Rys doesn't let anybody know about them. Of course. Too much of a headache. Hey, open your Navi, I'll slide this stuff over."
    He waits for you to wake your Navi, then he grabs the data spool, and flicks it over. You see it pop in your incoming messages bin. Aiden screen-locks his Navi and sits on the desk, facing you. He munches on the food bar a little, then continues with his mouth still a little full, "You should move to front row. Let Zola sit back there with the others. It's quiet up front. Easier. You're as smart as Bea. She hates you because of it, but she needs the competition to keep sane."
  • edited April 2016
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    I stand closer to get the data transfer, "thanks," and then sit on the edge of my bed when it looks like he's going to stick around to finish the food bars. I check the file and quickly make sure it's got what I need before screen-locking my own and setting it next to me.

    Surprised he's staying to long, I wonder if Mark's kicked him out of their room or something.

    "Front row? Yeah you convince Zola of that... and I don't want to cook on those pipes, anyway... give me Pax's seat and let Zola sit in back... uh... somewhere." I joke, there's no way Pax is giving up that seat, not to mention, "it's not like we just get to choose anyway."

    I stare at my knees for a few seconds, nervous. I can't waste the chance to actually talk to a person like... just like people.

    Not sure what to talk about I kind of suddenly say, "thanks for... well... for not being a jerk."
  • image He munches a little more on the food bar, then scoots back to actually sit on the desk. "We don't get to choose, no. But Zola would be happy to get off the front row, and away from the pipe. But yeah, you're second row, not like you're back there with Lucas and, no offense, Nadja." He looks over at Nadja's bed like she's there.
    When you thank him for not being a jerk, he looks at you. "Oh. Well. I don't get why they call you names. It's stupid. But I've pretty much given up on our class, Ashlee." He pushes himself up off the desk, "Anyways, thanks for the food bar. I was starving in there during lockdown!" He heads for your door.
  • image
    I nod as he goes on, and follow his look at Nadja's bed, looks we agree on that.

    He actually thinks so? That people shouldn't be calling me out? That brightens my mood and to my own surprise I find when he gets up to go I sort of don't want him to.

    As he pushes from the desk I almost say something, almost stand up. Almost try to stop him... but, "yeah! Thanks..." I ache to stop him, but remind myself that it's not like he likes me.... he just came for the food... if I say anything I'll probably say something stupid.

    I just want to cry out... don't leave me alone, don't you want to stay? Hang out... talk... listen to music? Watch the replays... do homework? Even?

    But there's only a desperate little sound from somewhere in my throat... and I just watch him go.

    I guess... I'll figure out when the next Team Power workout is. Right.
  • image

    Ashlee,

    Aiden doesn't hear in your head, and he heads out your door, leaving you alone with your Navi. You're able to pull some vids on previous practices and look over how Power's playing now. Find a few tips you could maybe pass along to Tabitha.

    After a few minutes of this, the internal ship alarms come on. You hear movement outside moments later, someone running. Red lights flash and the klaxons go.

    What do you do?
  • image
    What? Wow, I wonder if they found the open vent and busted Nadja and Mark? That would be kind of delicious, wouldn't it? Nadja spending ten days in iso or something?

    Don't celebrate, Ashlee, it could be anything.

    I wait for the footsteps to fade before taking a look out in the hall. I'd like to attend a team power practice, slip into the stands and watch, hope they just think I'm some fangirl. I need to see them in person.

    But yeah, what was that all about?
  • image

    Ashlee,

    You see Mi Sun, she looks over at you, the motion drawing her gaze.

    image "Something big. Rys took off like something shot him out of a gauss rifle." She seems nervous about something, pensive. "What were you doing with Aiden earlier?" She's probably only mildly curious, you realize, but she does ask.

    What do you do?
  • image
    "Rys, huh?" his name is becoming kind of amusing to me. I just can't take him seriously any more... probably I should. Just can't.

    I start to move on but Mi Sun keeps talking. I slow and turn, without quite stopping to answer, "talking speedball. Why are you hanging out in the hall?"

    Same tone, not that interested but a little curious. And she does seem bothered by something.
  • image She stops pacing and glances at her room, "Can't. Can't stand being in there anymore after lockdown. I don't," she hesitates, then continues. "I don't do so well when Jace isn't around. And he's hurt, bad. And drokking Doc Haladay won't tell me stomm about him! Locked me out of the med bay! It's... it drokked."
  • image
    I realize that I missed the whole thing while I was out in the halls with the Corporal. Nadja told me about it, but it didn't seem real, didn't seem like it hurts, or that it really matters. And well... with Priscilla... leaving...

    "I'm... uh..." I've never seen Mi Sun looking so vulnerable, it's kind of disarming, "I hope he's ok. I don't know why they wouldn't let you see him... drokking stupid rules... stupid doctors..."

    Doctors.... the title is pretty much a proxy for whatever adult happens to have been put in charge of my life. Above just about everything, I don't want to be seen, scrutinized, and especially not remembered by anyone in control. Not that Doc Haladay was in on the experimental psycho-physiology labs, but who knows what he knows. I have no love for anyone like him.

    So my voice might be a little harsh when I agree with Mi Sun on that point. She can probably sense how I feel if she's paying attention.

    "He'll be all right," I add, trying to sound empathetic. Not my best quality. "It's probably just... pointless rules."
  • image

    Ashlee,

    image Mi Sun seems pretty wrapped up in her own deal, doesn't notice your harsh tone. When you assure her Jace will be alright, she moves over to the wall by your door and puts her back against it, crosses her arms. "I don't think so. Ashlee, you won't believe me, but Jace and I... we have a special connection, alright? I can feel his pain. He's not getting better, they just locked him - in iso or something! It's killing me. I'm... I need to help him, something."

    As Mi Sun's baring her soul, Mark and Nadja come around the corner and walk down the corridor. Nadja gives you a little smirk, and in the dim red light it's hard to tell, but she looks like greasy dirty. Mark, too.

    What do you do?
  • image

    Ashlee,

    After you answer Mi Sun (if you answer her), Mark says:
    Coalhada said:

    image
    "Hi. Who set off the alarms?"

    Please go here to speak with him.
  • image
    "What?" She probably thinks I'm reacting to the news about Jace, and I wonder if she thinks I may not believe her. But no, I believe her, we have another psycho-reactive in the pod? Maybe two? Pretty sure they're low-level from what she described, but this is kind of mind-blowing!

    I'm about to say more when Mark and Nadja come down the hall...

    Moving to that thread.
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