[ISS] Dive Dive Dive (Our 3.3)

edited July 2016 in ISS Tsiolkovsky
image

Ourania,

You feel that liquid pleasure pull you away from the pain and the nausea into some floating otherness. Soon you drift back into the Med Bay. Priscilla is there, sitting on the examination table, like before. Nude and smiling, like before.

image "Ourania, what's wrong?" Priscilla immediately senses something about you, rising to walk over, padding quickly on bare feet. You feel the warmth of her hand on your cheek. "What's happened to you? You look so drawn, so pale." She pulls you to her, heedless of any concerns about catching a disease. Perhaps she's grown accustomed to this VR space where that doesn't happen. Perhaps she's swept up in the moment and her worry for you. You feel her warm skin against yours. You must be nude as well.

What do you do?

Comments

  • image

    Seriously, what's with the nudity? Is this me? According to Tabitha it might be.

    Of course I don't realize it until she's already hugging me. I shift awkwardly, my face heats. Other parts of me do too. Sure I hugged her before, but at least one of us was clothed. I clasp her against me for a moment then move her away.

    "Um... Priscilla why are we both, I mean are we... uh... naked?" That's it, avoid the subject.

  • image The corners of her pretty mouth curl upwards, not in some flirty way, more like a genuine smile of mirth, "Yes. We are. Would you like clothes? Just think about it." She's rubbing your arm with her left hand, a soft, smoothing motion. "It's all in our heads. You want wings, go for it. Not too bad, really." She's lying, Ourania. Putting on a brave face, enjoying the prison, or seeming to, probably for your sake. You feel it through the bleed. "What's wrong with you?" she asks again.

  • edited July 2016

    image

    I look at her a moment.

    Then she's... deciding to be naked? If this is a pass it's like the most unsubtle pass in the history of the universe. Of course, I am naked too...

    I'm about to pursue that, but I feel the bleed... how miserable she is in here.

    I step away, sit on the edge of the table glancing around, avoiding her gaze.

    "I'm sick too. And You don't have to lie. It's awful in here." I say. "Being stuck here alone must be terrible. And its..." C'mon... get it out. I shake my head as if scolding my hesitation. "It's my fault."

    I think about them reviewing this conversation. I think they can somehow, but I don't really know. It's fine. I want my Mother to realize that I hate myself for following this order and hurting my friend.

  • image Priscilla's face falls slightly when you admit you're sick. She squeezes your arm, offering silent support. Doesn't protest when you tell her you know it's terrible being here. When you tell her it's your fault, there's a moment. She looks at you, and feels it in the bleed, the truth of it. She knows. Still, she shakes her head, "No... you wouldn't. We're friends, Ourania. I mean, not like you and Gwen were friends, but still. Why would you even do such a thing?"

  • image

    I swallow hard. I pull my arm away from the squeeze and stand, agitated. I don't deserve her sympathy. I shake my head again, denying her denial.

    "I did do it, Pris. I did." I say it harshly the second time to stop the second denial I can hear forming on her lips.. I take a breath. "They... they sent me a vial of liquid and told me to put it in your food. And I did. And you got sick. I did it." I look at her. "It's my fault you're here. It's my fault that you felt like stomm for so long. if you... It's my fault. It's. my. fault." I'm poking my breastbone with every 'my' then once for each of the last three words.

    I sink down on a chair opposite her. "And I did it because, drokk... that's just who I am."

  • image "They..." Priscilla repeats, the word having so much weight. "You mean... you mean the Commandant. She told you to put it in my food. She told you to do it, right?" Priscilla's anger flashes, something she tries to hard to hold down, to keep hidden. "Why me? What did I do to offend them? Is it because I broke up with Mark? He's not the same person. He's not the person I fell in love with! Not at all! Is that why, Ourania? Why would they want to kill me, slow like this, over weeks?" Tears form at her eyes, the confusion bubbling up, answers to questions she'd almost stopped asking. She hugs herself and turns away, moving to sit on the examination table. "This drokking purgatory. Worse than just dying. It would stop then. No more stupid hope. No more... waiting." She sniffs, looking at the table, not you. "What did I do wrong?"

  • edited July 2016

    image

    "Nothing!" I stand up, take a few steps toward her, holding out a hand but then dropping it. "It's not about you, Priscilla. It's nothing you did."

    I've thought about this for a while. Why would they choose Pris? And I thought about their ability to observe. And I thought about how my mother thinks about the world. Thought about the patterns of how I've lost my friends over the years. And it leads somewhere.

    "They needed someone for their experiments. To help them fix the plague. And..." I swallow. "And the Commandant was testing me. She wanted to know if I would sacrifice someone I.... really cared about, for my duty... for the ship." I shrug weakly. "So... not you, see? Me. My fault." I look down again. "If I... If Gwen was still alive, it would have been her."

    And this is why I'm afraid for Tabitha.

  • image "I'm a guinea pig? An experiment?" Priscilla says this quietly. "A test of your loyalty. An... object lesson." She takes a breath, holds it for a moment, then exhales through her nose. Her eyes leak tears, but she's otherwise calm. "So... now what?" Her tone's slightly hurt, but you feel that mostly through the bleed, you think.

    Ourania, you feel something else, too. The heavy weight of the curse has lifted. It was hovering around the periphery, like a gadfly, reminding you of your wasting body. But now? It's gone.

    What do you do?

  • image

    I look at her. "Now I tell you that I'm really sorry for what I did to you and... and that I'll find a way to make it right. Somehow."

    The burden lifts and I feel the relief, and then the guilt. It seems wrong that I can purge my soul and my sickness dies, the burden lifts away when Pris can't have hers lifted too. But I can't fix it, or avenge it, if I let myself die.

    I sigh.

    "And you're not those things. You're a... an amazing person. And I'm... I am your friend, even though I've drokked it all up like this."

    I turn away from her, feeling drained.

    "I should probably go."

  • image As you tell Priscilla she's an amazing person, you see a hospital gown materialize onto her body, the shapeless cloth hiding her features. She lays back on the examination table, then rolls away from you to lie on her side. The bleed is intense, her feelings of betrayal and loneliness coming in waves. "I would have expected something like this from Nadja. Or Lucas. I never thought you'd hurt me." She pauses, then scoffs, "I hope they get a cure out of me, at least. It's funny... if they'd asked, maybe I would have done it for them. Taken this... plague."

    "You're right. You should go, Ourania."

    What do you do?

  • edited July 2016

    image

    I look at her back for a long moment. Something in my chest squeezes painfully. I walk over to the table, and softly lay my hand on her shoulder.

  • image Priscilla stiffens at your touch, inching away while still laying on the small, cold metal examination table. "Ourania... please go." She swallows hard, sniffs again, reaching up to absent-mindedly wipe at her eyes, "I'm not even really crying, it's just an illusion. My whole life, what's left of it, simulated..." She looks back up at you, eyes reddening, speaking tersely, "I don't want to say something I can't take back. I need to be alone, now." She turns away again, her arms sliding up to hug herself.

    What do you do?

  • image

    I lift my hand up again when she pulls away. It sort of hovers.

    "Do you?" I pause. "Even hurt and angry...." Then shrug with a casualness I don't feel. "You've been alone too much as it is, Priscilla. Go ahead. Say whatever you feel, whatever you need to say. Hit me, if it will help." I stroke my fingertips along her shoulder blade. "Just because it isn't physical doesn't mean it isn't real."

  • image

    Ourania,

    It feels like you're trying to Manipulate Priscilla to open up to you here, right? If so, hit the dice, let's see how that plays out.

  • image

    (Rolled: 2d6-1. Rolls: 4, 1. Total: 4)

  • image

    Ourania,

    image With a suddenly quick motion, Priscilla slaps your hand away, scooting off the table to stand so it's a barrier between you both. The tears are gone, and she looks at you intensely, the bleed of her anger bubbling, "Ourania Fabre, I am not going to lash out at you. I'm not going to tell you all the awful things you already know about yourself. You did what she wanted, ignored who it might hurt, and now you're looking for me to punish you? Do you really think that would make me feel any better?" She stands up, crossing her arms under her breasts. She's wearing a dark blue dress now, one you've seen her wear in off hours, you know she feels comfortable in it.

    She opens her mouth to say something else, but the image freezes. The entire Med Bay flickers, then drops out of sight. Everything is darkness.

    Pitch black.

    Ink.

    image Your mother materializes, standing there, as always, in her uniform. She seems taller here. Her presence in the bleed is controlled and forceful. "Ourania," she says your name in a clipped tone. "Doctor Lancome reported your medical condition and the sudden reversal. She said you called it a curse? What did you mean, exactly?" Her dark eyes watch your reactions closely, as sharp in VR as in the flesh.

    What do you do?

  • image

    I snap to attention automatically. My mind is scrambling for moments but I can feel Mother in the bleed. I clamp down on my own reactions hard, meet Mother's eyes.

    "Ma'am. I'm afraid I was so ill when I was brought to med bay that I don't recall what I said to the Doctor. It was probably something from a fever dream."

    I shudder slightly. When I have been able to sleep I really have had some terrible dreams.

  • image

    Ourania,

    image Your Mother's expression doesn't change, but you feel the doubt through the bleed, her eyes bore holes into you. "A fever dream?" the question is the opening shot of a salvo, you've heard the tone before. "You were weak, but lucid, Ourania." She looks away from you for a moment, but doesn't move. She's engaging something.

    An image appears to your left, a window into the Med Bay. You're there, Ourania. You look awful. Looking in the mirror all this week showed you that you were sick, but this view? From above, your whole body? It's something else entirely. You're like some spindly doll made of rotten sticks.

    image "It started... a week ago." you croak slowly, "It's a curse. There's nothing... you can do... to stop it."

  • edited July 2016

    image

    I'm shocked at how terrible I look in the video. I swallow hard at the disturbing image, realizing it might be prophetic.

    I meet Mother's cold intense eyes again. "Lucidity indicates nothing of my mental state, Ma'am. I am ill and exhausted. I haven't slept well. I haven't eaten in several days."

    I look at then stilled video once more. "And it certainly felt like a curse. And if it is the plague, then it's incurable."

  • image

    Ourania,

    image "You're clean, Ourania." Your mother says it with a certainty. "Whatever you had when you came into the Med Bay, it's fading. Your fever broke minutes ago. Doctor Lancome is replacing liquids and putting you on a steady diet of meatmesh to rebuild lost muscle tissue. You should be able to check out by tomorrow morning. I'll make sure you have a full training regimen, whatever courses you wish." Then, something happens. Your mother. Smiles. Not a hand-wringing "evil queen" smile. It's a genuine expression of pleasure. "I have some good news, daughter. The serum you administered to patient twelve has proven fruitful. We are very close to a cure for the plague!"

    What do you do?

  • image

    I look at her in shock. It's a glimmer of hope for all of us.

    I find my voice again.

    "That's huge! Patient twelve, you mean Priscilla Pendleton, right? Will... Will they be able to save her?"

  • image

    Ourania,

    image She nods when you ask who patient twelve is, then continues in the same happy tone, "It is unlikely that she will survive, Ourania. I know you two were close, but she had the strongest genetic makeup. She was the best choice, and now we're on the doorstep of bringing our two worlds back together!" She pauses, letting that sink in. "You can move back into your old room, or we can secure new quarters for you. I'd like to have you serve as an attache to my command staff, a liaison to the children to help them with reintegration into the adult society. It would position you in a leadership role and ensure you can continue growing into what you were meant to be." The smile slips and she pauses again, then asks as if it pains her, "Are you interested in this?"

  • image

    My attention snaps back. I've only barely heard her, the rushing sound of my own blood I my ears, the terrible certainty of Pris dying filling my thoughts. I guess I thought that she would get better, that she would pull out of it, but now her blood is going to be on my hands. The whole time Mother was jabbering sounding happy.

    I realize she's waiting for me to respond. I quickly reassemble what she said.

    "Oh... well I guess that depends," I say, "On how often I have to murder my friends."

  • image

    Ourania,

    image Your mother draws herself back up, smile slipping away, a stern, tight mouth in its place. "Ourania Fabre," she says sharply. "This is about much more than your classmates. It's about the entire safety and well-being of the ship. It's about the mission. I know it has to hurt, losing your classmate, but it's a small price to pay to reunite this community." She considers you for a moment, holding your silence as she considers her next statement. "The Pendleton family is already aware of the impending death of their daughter. They understand how much we value their sacrifice. If her own parents are willing to let her go, then you have to do the same." There's a hint of urgency in your mother's voice, Ourania. You hear it, she wants you to agree, she needs you on board with this.

    What do you do?

  • image

    "A small price for them to pay, maybe. What is she to them?" I say, gesturing 'out' at the adults. "She's a memory, an image on a screen, a vid, a sim. To me she's real, flesh and blood." More real than you. "She's sweet and kind. She has the annoying habit of cracking her knuckles. I had to watch her fall apart because of what I did. I couldn't turn her off."

    I turn away, agitated, then swing back around almost immediately. My voice getting angrier with every sentence.

    "All you had to do was ask her! Probably! She would have agreed. If she hadn't someone else might have volunteered! Why didn't you do that? Why didn't you have her go to the doctor and have the doctor give her the virus in the open? Why the subterfuge? Why did I have to give it to her? And if it did have to be me, why didn't you tell me what I was going to do?"

  • edited July 2016
    image

    Ourania,

    image Your mother withdraws. You can see it in her eyes, her posture. "Ourania. You need to stop acting like a teenager and start thinking like a leader. When you've considered those questions and have come to an understanding, you may notify me." She starts to fade into the dark void. "We will discuss it then."

    What do you do?

  • image

    She's bailing on me? I clench my fists.

    "No, Mother, this isn't a drokking object lesson! You want to show me how a leader thinks, then show me. If you won't state your reasons plainly then you either don't know what they are, or you are ashamed of them!"

  • image

    Ourania,

    That sounds like you're either Shutting her Down or trying to Manipulate her, here. Choose your move and let's see how it goes.

  • image

    Rolling Manipulate:

    (Rolled: 2d6-1. Rolls: 3, 1. Total: 3)

  • image

    Ourania,

    Your mother winks out of existence, this existence, leaving you alone. She didn't even give you the decency of a reply. And you are alone now, in VR, in the void.

    What do you do?

  • image

    I let out a short shriek of anger and frustration and sink to the nonexistent floor with my head in my hands. I rock back and forth that way for bit. The only thing I really have to do is wait. And think.

    The memory of Tabitha saying she first encountered Gwen in VR and... and so did I, really?

    I suppose its worth a shot.

    "Gwen?" I speak into the void. "Gwen, are you out there? Are you okay?"

  • image

    Ourania,

    Sounds like you're Gazing into the Abyss here, trying to find Gwen. Let's see how that goes for you.

  • image

    Rolling with Dark

    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 5, 2. Total: 8)

    +1 xp

  • edited July 2016

    Lucid and detailed and I'm drained. (If that applies, not sure since I'm contacting Gwen, or trying to.)

  • image

    Ourania,

    In the void, you have no sensation of movement. There is pitch black, with no touch, no taste, no smell. Complete deprivation.

    You close out the nothingness and think of Gwen. Call her name. Ask for her. Imagine her somewhere.

    The bridge of the ISS Tsiolkovsky. You've stood here many times as a child. You were here with your mother when she took in reports about the very beginning of the plague.

    She isn't here now. Probably still in her quarters after her VR visitation. Instead there are three pilots on the bridge, keeping the ship on the edge of a meteor storm. You hear them calling coordinates and readings to each other. The tick-tick-tick on the hull of dust and particles as the ship maintains course.

    Then you see Gwen run into the room. They don't seem to see her, but Ensign Trapper looks up with worry on her face, asking Captain Rivas if he "felt that". Captain Rivas barks at the ensign, a girl you recognize from a grade above you, too green to be on the bridge, too damn young to be steering this ship, but here she is.

    Gwen looks back over her shoulder, frightfully, at the wall she just ran through as she came in. She trips and falls, skidding through Lieutenant Dannik. He looks startled, like he felt it.

    Another figure comes through the wall. Shape twisted and turned, demonic red eyes. It's some HR Giger version of Lucas, with fingers like scalpels and a lascivious grin. "C'mere, Gwennie. Gonna cut you up. Kill you again. Slower this time."

    Gwen lets out a stomach curdling scream and Ensign Trapper covers her ears, screaming like a dog howling at a loud noise. She falls out of her chair. Captain Rivas grabs a med kit and tosses it to Lieutenant Dannik, ordering them to sedate her.

    Gwen keeps screaming, unable to move as the Demon Lucas stalks forward.

    What do you do?

  • image

    No! The hex. She's still running from the hex. I move to put myself between her and Demon Lucas.

    He is terrifying, but I reach for him, reach to unravel the power.

  • image

    Ourania,

    Let's see if you can Hold Steady as you move to interpose yourself between the cowering Gwen and the LucasDemon.

  • image

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 3, 5. Total: 10)

    Xp +1

  • image

    Ourania,

    Your tummy twists up, and you feel bile in the back of your throat as you move between them. Gwen curls up into a fetal ball, doesn't see what you're doing. The bridge crew are freaking out. The ensign's on the deck, so is the Lieutenant. The captain tries to keep her steady, but you feel the ship shudder.

    image "Ohhh. Oh. Rann. Ya." the demon says as he looks you over, twitching his scalpel fingertalons and stalking up to you. You imagine his fetid breath that smells like raw meat and fried blood. "Do you want to be cut up first? You brought me here. Such sacrifice. After the fact. Just get out of my way and let me take care of this... morsel." He reaches out to shove you aside.

    What do you do?

  • edited July 2016

    image

    I almost dive away, cower. But I hear Gwen whimper and it puts steel in my spine again. I wasn't there for her before, no one was. No way he's moving me now.

    removing condition 'Drained.'

    "No." I say in that particular voice of authority that I learned from mother. Complete negation rather than simple refusal. I grab his wrist at the same time, pushing him back.

    "Be gone shadow, your time here is ended."

  • edited July 2016
    image

    Ourania,

    When you face down a monster from someone's nightmare, roll with Dark. On a hit, choose options. On a 7-9, choose one. On a 10+, choose two.

    • you banish the monster

    • you don't take Harm

    • Nobody else takes Harm

    On a miss, you gain the condition Haunted. Also, that monster's still around.

  • image

    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 1, 6. Total: 8)


  • I banish the monster.
  • image

    Ourania,

    The force of will is draining, but Lucasdemon dissipates, leaving you with Gwen. You're still on the bridge, the ensign and lieutenant are still both down and the captain's calling for assistance. Gwen looks up, sees you. Her eyes are wet, but she sits up, reaches for you, murmuring your name.

    What do you do?
  • image

    I go to her, pull her to her feet then into a tight hug in almost one motion.

    "Shhh, It's okay. I'm right here. I'm sorry."
  • edited July 2016
    image

    Ourania,

    image
    Gwen buries her face against your chest, clutching tightly. The din around you, the klaxons and the distress call from the captain are all a low roar as you hold Gwen. "Rania, gods Rania. He kept coming and coming." she murmurs against your chest. "He tore me apart. Then I woke up again and kept running. I thought it would never stop." You feel her tears wet against your top, you're somehow wearing clothes now, she is too.
    When she finally calms a little, she looks up at you with tears streaking down her face, "We have to kill him, Ourania. This will never end for me if we don't kill him. I... I don't want a body anymore. I just want it to stop."

    What do you do?
  • image

    I hold her and murmur comfort. My hands stroke her back, I run my fingers through her soft, short hair.

    When she calms and looks up I put a hand to her cheek, gently wiping some of the tears with my thumb. I nod.

    "Don't worry, baby, we will. We'll get him. I swear. But I still want you back, okay? I'm not giving up on that."
  • image She sniffs, looking up at you with watery eyes. Scoots her butt a little closer. When the ship hits a larger asteroid, she flinches, but doesn't hide from your eyes. "I'm sorry we weren't together longer, Ourania. I mean together. I was scared of how much it meant. I didn't want to get close... because- because I was afraid of the drokking test. Of passing it and moving on without you. It was so stupid. I... died anyways, and never got to tell you I loved you back."

    What do you do?
  • image

    "Well now you have."

    I smile, squeeze her a little. "I was just as silly. I didn't say it either. I was afraid to. I was going to, though. That day. I was looking for you to tell you..." And I found her too, just... I pause and mentally shake off the grisly vision of her broken body.

    I kiss her forehead. "We'll take care of Lucas and find you a body. You wait and see. We'll be together again, really together, just like we always should have been."
  • image

    Ourania,

    image
    She cranes her head to kiss your chin, looks up into your eyes. Sniffs once, "I heard it. I remember. It was so sad, seeing you there, looking at my body." She pulls herself to hug you tight, holding on. After a moment, she whispers in your ear, "What about Tabitha? She's a great friend, and I... I think I love her, too. Hard not to when you're, you know, inside someone that long. You care for her, too, right?"
  • edited July 2016
    image

    I cradle her. It's a familiar position, distantly remembered. I nod. "I do. Very much."

    I absolutely do, I can't deny it. I like the way she fussed over me being sick. I felt... cared for I guess. That's not something I feel much. And then after the three of us being together the way we were, well...

    But there is a specter of uneasiness there, that I try the best I can to keep out of the bleed. Gwen was just talking all past tense, like she was going to be gone. And then she's been inside Tabitha, like, in her soul. And she loves Tabitha because of it, not that that surprises me. I don't think Gwen would love me after living in my soul, though.

    "And... I guess... well we've kind of already been there, right?" I shrug slightly, my voice is reasonably light. "We'll figure it out. It's not like I'm going to tattoo your name on my ass or anything."

  • edited July 2016
    image

    Ourania,

    image
    Gwen giggles lightly, reaching a hand up to cover her mouth, "Gods no, please don't. Nothing should ever mar that perfect ass of yours, especially something as dumb as Gwnedolyne." She looks at you closely, ignoring the sounds of the captain giving his report that the bridge crew is down, demanding some assistance.
    "Rania, you're here, and you don't look sick... you're not dead, though." There's a weight in that observation, like she can sense your living-ness. "Are you in VR or something? How did you even find me? More of that lil black magic you've got?"

    Ourania, as you sit here on the bridge with Gwen, you notice that her feet, below the knee, they're gone. She's been sitting as if to hide it, but you can't really hide something like that.
  • edited July 2016
    image

    I always thought Gwyndolynne was a beautiful name, and I'm about to say so, but she moves to asking me about how I'm here.

    "Tabitha got me to..." I break off looking at her legs, alarmed. I lean over a bit to get a better look. "Stomm, Gwen what's the matter with your feet? You had them when you ran in here... Will they... Come back?"
  • image

    Ourania,

    image She scoots over a little, feebly trying to hide it. "I dunno, it's like they were just stripped away when that Lucas whatever attacked. You stopped him though... I guess they'll grow back? Never, uhm, happened before. Part of me going away." She looks down at the tattered pieces of her knees that dissipate into nothingness where the rest of her should be. "I. I wonder if I can stand up? That would suck, being a ghost and having to crawl around. Right?" She laughs once, trying to put the best face on this. You know she's terrified of losing pieces of herself like this. She has to be.
  • image

    Stomm, another chance at it and I still can't protect her. I try to sound confident.

    "They'll probably come back. It's not like you'll need them when we get you In a body anyway, but let's see if you can stand."
  • image

    Ourania,

    image Gwen nods. "Yeah, you're probably right. I mean, half of the stomm is that I can never change clothes or anything. I keep coming back to the, ah, default state. Like some video game character. Or April O'Neil, stuck in that drokking yellow jumpsuit." She moves around her legs, then stands up on invisible feet. "Well. I'm walking, at least... I really liked my feet, Rania."

    She seems ready to leave here with you. What do you do?
  • image

    "Sorry? I was busy thinking about how hot you'd look in a yellow jumpsuit." I smirk at her, lean in and kiss her cheek.

    "I like your feet too. And they're right there just not visible. They'll be back, okay?"

    I look around at the bridge For a moment. "Can you get all over the ship like this?" The potential for gathering intelligence is huge.
  • image

    Ourania,

    image Gwen licks her lips, looks down for a moment, "Okay, this will make me sound sort of stupid, but... I don't know where I can go. Until I saw Tabitha, I didn't go anywhere except resyke and around our pod. So... maybe?" She moves towards the wall she came through. "I've... always used doors." She huffs a laugh at herself, "I'm stomm at being a ghost, hunh?"
  • image

    I follow after. It occurs to me that I'm either outside the VR system, or the VR system extends further than most people know. I don't know if I know how to get back. I suppose I must still be tethered to my body somehow.

    "What, you mean you didn't take the 'how to be a ghost 101' class? Thought everyone took that, especially nerds."
  • image

    Ourania,

    image The banter seems to calm her nerves, the crying's stopped, tears evaporated (advantage of being a ghost). She scoffs, "I don't get access to all the cool classes, Rania. My mom's not Queen of all Space, remember?" She steps through the wall, pausing just before her head disappears, "And you're the nerd." Then she's gone, leaving you in the bridge with the captain.

    What do you do?
  • image

    I chuckle.

    Before following, I pause and glance around at the bridge again, noting how much worse off it seems than we knew. I mean down in the quarantine, they never tell us much real about the wider ship. We don't know the death rates or how many crew we have left. We don't know anything. I'm sure mother strictly forbids any sort of real news. So we tend to imagine everything is fine, but it clearly isn't.

    I turn and go after Gwen. After all I'm an non-corporeal as she is, I should be able to pass the wall too.
  • image

    Ourania,

    You step through the wall without a problem, somehow traversing what seems like the waking world without much trouble.

    When you attempt to navigate the ship while incorporeal, roll with Dark.
    *On a 12+, hold 2
    *On a 10+, hold 1.
    *On a 7-9, hold 1, but you also encounter a guardian.
    *On a miss, you encounter a guardian.
    *On a 1-3, also lose all hold.

    When you spend 1 hold, discover a "treasure", an "answer", or a missing person, and describe the room it is found in.
    When you've spent 4 hold, you're tired from too long out of your body and return to it. If you don't have a body, then you enter a fugue state for some time.
  • edited July 2016
    image

    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 3, 3. Total: 7)

  • image

    Ourania,

    You pass out of the bridge and enter the crew module. The place is surprisingly empty. Years ago, the last time you were here, there was three full crews in rotation. One sleeping, one training and working, and one manning the bridge. Now? You see a half dozen people here. They ignore you as they work on their Navis and larger screens, pulling up scanner arrays of the asteroid field and try to plot their course.

    Gwen hover near you, watching them work, worrying over the stress that's settled in their postures, the sense of desperation in the room.

    What do you do?
  • image

    Now I'm wondering how desperate the straits are for the rest of the ship. Clearly we're low on flight crew. Why insulate us from this? Why not train us and hook up remotes to the bridge if they need more flight crew. Probably kids as young as 13 or 14 could manage a lot of it. And those of us older?

    This is why they felt desperate enough to sacrifice Pris. The urgency is more real, more understandable, but the method was still so... Underhanded. Wrong.

    I move behind one of the working crew to look at their screens. To see if I can work out what is happening. Mathematics come easy to me, always have. There's solace in that very orderly, rule-bound world of equations. As a result I'm pretty far ahead of most people in it. I usually tutor in
    Unschool.

    "Stars, Gwen, this looks bad."
  • image Gwen moves near you, letting you take the lead, but observing with interest. "This place is almost empty." She exhales with consternation, "Is flying that really hard? I don't even know. But surely Ashlee, Pax, or Aiden... hells, even Zola could do this stomm, right? With training, or something." She shifts her gaze from the Navi and displays to you, "Does your mother provide you with counts on the lives here? How many survivors are on this side, anyways?"
  • image

    Ourania,

    As you and Gwen look over the shoulder of Ensign Alvaro, you see that he's working on some calculations by hand to try and plot a course that remains on the Beacon Path but avoids as much of the asteroid field as possible. The simulations he's running are disastrous.

    You could plot something much better, but you can tell even then that the precision needed to thread those needles is beyond an average pilot's skills.
  • image

    "I don't know." I reply. "She always acted like the rest of the ship was fine. I look around at the other crew in the room. "And flying takes... Instinct, I guess. It's the reason for speedball, really. It's all reflexes and snap judgments about things moving in space while staying close to a game plan. The advanced pilot interface is... well it makes the ship an extension of your body, especially for hops." Assuming it still works.

    I shake my head. I never had the head for speedball. I'm good at strategy and analysis, not tactics--those moment to moment instinctual decisions under pressure.

    "Ashlee... maybe. She certainly knows speedball." I feel a certain amount of habitual contempt for Ashlee. But now I'm less certain of it. "Zola maybe. Larsen, certainly... but really? Tabitha. You haven't watched her play but... she's beautiful in motion like that."

    I sound a little dreamy on the end statement. I glance at Gwen with a small smile.
  • image Gwen looks at you for a long moment, her face inscrutable. Then she snorts a laugh, "Somebody's got it baaaaad." She playfully pats your arm, "She is pretty great, reminds me of Ioanna when she's on the court, but more direct, you know? More primal. It's scorching to watch."
    She mulls it over for a minute, then muses, "What if we broke the containment, Rania? If we're carriers, and none of us are dying, then aren't they the ones at risk? What if we just... broke the seal, and let everyone out?"
  • image

    I shrug and I smile a bit more, feeling my face heat.

    She poses her question. I sober and I shake my head. "It's not that easy. We don't know everything we need to know. And if they all die, there won't be anyone to tell us. Assuming we actually want to make it through this voyage. But it doesn't have to be like it is."

    I glance around again. I'm tempted to make my way through the ship learning secrets, maybe spy on Mom. But now I know this is possible, even if I might need Gwen as some kind of scout to get here, we can do it again later.

    I look at Gwen, thinking about how she feels solid in here. I havn't been with her... Just her... In so long. But...

    "I need to get back. Can you come?"
  • image

    Ourania,

    image A hint of worry crosses her eyes, but she gives a little smile, "Sure. Although, this pilot's lounge does seem really awesome, and all." She pads over, reaching out to take your hand, then starts leading you out of the room, "So, uhm, you think I could... you know, get inside you next time you're with Tabitha? Is that..." she looks at you for a moment, quizzically, "Is that too weird?"

    What do you do?
  • image

    I look at her. You won’t like it in there Gwen. Won’t like me. It’s not like Tabitha’s soul. And that’s assuming I even get to be with Tabitha again.

    But I can’t refuse her.

    “No, it's fine. Sure… Uh… you know, If you want to, and Tabitha is okay with it, It’s okay with me.” I say, squeezing her hand.

  • edited July 2016
    image

    Ourania,

    image Gwen moves up to give you a kiss. On your cheek, at first. Then she moves around to meet your eyes and kisses you lightly on your lips. "Rania," she says softly, then pulls you along to the wall to pass through and return to your body. You both move into a processor, where reconstituted waste is calibrated into foodstuffs. "What are you worried about? I know you. Do you think I won't like being inside you?"
    Gwen laughs lightly, "I sorta have been there. Done that. Sorta." She squeezes your hand. "Tell me what's really going on."
  • edited July 2016
    image

    I shrug, avoid her eyes. "I told Pris about what I did. I... It's just..." I let out my breath. Weird since I'm in VR, or not even VR. I'm not a good person like Tabitha is Gwen. My mother... she isn't a good person and I've always... really tried to be like her. But I know she's not. And I'm not . Good people don't murder their friends"
  • image

    Ourania,

    image "Tabitha's a beautiful soul." Gwen observes. "She's also like one and a half. She hasn't lived a whole life, hasn't had chances to drokk up."

    She pulls you along past the processor room into a small cafeteria. You ate here many times with your father. This is where he cheered you up by making some potatoes dance. Stuck forks in two of them and pretended they were huge feet. It was very silly.

    Gwen turns to face you. "Here. Some truth. You aren't the only awful person. I slept with Zola. And... before he killed me, Lucas, too. Like, I thought we had something special before he got cray cray. I sort of cheated on him to prove the point that he didn't own me. And his reaction was to kill me, so... that backfired." She licks her lips, seeming nervous about revealing all this. "Pris isn't dead. Your mom would've made her sick regardless. You aren't her. We can save Pris. That's... that's what you want, right? So, wake up, and let's do this."
  • image

    I... hadn't known that she'd been lovers with either one. It kind of hurts. What the drokk is it with Zola anyway? Girls drokking fall at her feet. But... wasn't Gwen cheating on Lucas...um... with me? What does that mean?

    I don't think I want to think about it too hard. At least the feeling in my gut says so.

    Anyway, her little bouts of 'awful' don't really hold a candle to mine. At least Lucas is a psychotic sociopath... what's my excuse? But I don't think she will understand that.

    But she is right. I do want to save Pris, if it's possible.

    "Okay...okay. You're right.I nod. Time to wake up.
  • image

    Ourania,

    End scene.
Sign In or Register to comment.