[ISS] To Find a Navi (Ash 1.5)

edited March 2016 in ISS Tsiolkovsky


You search the classroom, the empty room by Bea's, even the supply room, just looking for somewhere to pick up a Navi or a look at the feeds. You finally find a display in the table of the Ready Room that's hooked in and start catching up on Speedball scores, news and events. Some big trades, a few key injuries, a juicer scandal with Brok (again), and a new holo-cast deal for the main league. So much has happened in the months since you lost contact with the last beacon. It's mid-season already.

The click of the door is the first thing that brings you out of your focus on the replay of Jaxtor's winning goal on the Monoliths. You look up to see Lucas looking at you with those piercing eyes of his.

His voice is smooth when he asks, "Hey Ashlee, how are you doing?" He moves, no glides, around the table to come a bit closer, eyes never leaving you, drinking you in. "I saw how they were treating you. That's stomm, you know. A real problem, they should know better." He's wearing a clingy turtleneck and slacks, all dark gray. "What... what are you checking out? Where's your Navi?"


  • edited March 2016
    I watch intensely, there's not much time left before curfew and I need to take it all in. Highlight reel plays in one corner while I go through articles. My glasses sit at the edge of the screen and catch glare. Every now and then I tap back to replay a sweet play and go over the moves in my head.

    When the door opens I pretty much expect it to be someone from the team, probably Zola, come to bash on me for being there during practice. Or talking to Mark, or existing.

    Did not expect Lucas. I left the lights dim so nobody would notice I'm in here, too.

    He makes me immediatly uncomfortable. (Pretty much everyone does, but ok, even a little more than that) I put a hand on the table, gently touching my frames.

    "Yeah. Thanks for noticing..." I quietly snap back when he mentions how they treat me, more than a little sarcasm in my voice as I don't remember Lucas standing up for me when Zola put me down. Or ever.

    He asks about the navi. I lean back and realize ok, he's getting in my space here and I have to say something.

    "Just news..." I do not want him this close to me. I feel that knot in my stomach, "I like it here on the big screen... you know." I tap my glasses with a finger with a satisfying little clik-clik.

    "I don't have much time left... gotta get through this."

    Don't think I could be more polite than that.
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    He ignores your polite request to buzz off and sits down beside you, "What kind of news? Oh, speedball. That's interesting. Didn't know you were into it." He is wearing some kind of faint scent. "Did you hear about Olivar? Rys put a serious beat-down on him after class. He'll be pissing blood for a week, and I bet he doesn't show his face in class tomorrow." Lucas is sitting like, inches away from you right now, his hand resting on the table near yours.
  • edited March 2016
    "I didn't know," it's not like I wish Olivar well, he was a jerk last year, a jerk this year and specifically a jerk today. But he doesn't deserve to get thrashed by the strommin' Corporal.

    He sits so close it makes me tense up, stop moving. Like something could happen if I move. I want to get up and leave but he's made that kind of awkward, too.

    "You don't seem too upset about it," I finally comment, figure I just have to go along and talk. If that's all he wants then great. At least he's not great friends with Zola, as far as I know.

    And I watch that hand like a poisonous snake. I'm on edge already and I'm not going to let him touch me.
  • image Lucas maybe notices you tensing up, but he doesn't move away. "He was... a real jerk to you earlier. Maybe the beat down was a bit much, but still, he was asking for something." He looks at you for a long moment while you try to keep reading and watching, "My great uncle played Speedball." He gauges your reaction, touches his tongue to the inside of his lips, continues, "Zhan Koff, he was a Roof Attacker. You remember the championship on New Triton, twenty three years ago? Zhan scored the go-ahead goal for the Raptors, with that.... with that G-Fake? They ended up naming it after his teammate Corley, but my Great Uncle was the one who used it to put the Raptors over." He gets a little excited telling the story, words coming more quickly, his eyes searching yours for some level of interest.
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    I'm totally ignoring the words coming out of his mouth, well... until he brings up Zhan Koff. Who is an amazing speedball player, way before my time but he's unavoidable if you know anything about the history of the sport.

    I hear the excitement in his words and it feels like it's true. Feels like he's passionate about it, too.

    "Seriously? Your great-uncle?" I'm not even sure what a great uncle means exactly, but it sounds impressive. Curiosity overtakes my insecurity and I ask, "d... did you know him? Did he show you anything? Why don't you play?"

    My eyes go wider and I realize he may be aboard ship. I push my chair away but only so I can turn it towards him, my left elbow on the table now as I turn to my right to face Lucas.

    "Is... is he here?"
  • image The excitement falters a bit, his smile fades and he shakes his head, "I never met him, you know, face-to-face. He's sent us holo cards and stomm, for holidays." He exhales a breath, "I don't play speedball because my mom hates it. I told her we could get meatmesh and bonestitch here as good as anywhere, but she won't hear it, you know?" He senses your disappointment, and in an impulsive move, reaches over to touch your elbow, "Hey, I could... send him a message. Maybe get him on audio? Wouldn't that be zeng?"
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    I'm too excited to really notice that little touch, that would be zeng!" I say excitedly, my mind swirld a bit, "but... but what would I say? It's not like I play... oh... oh no don't do that."

    My cheeks go red and I shake my head excitedly at the thought. What would I say to a player like him?
  • edited March 2016
    image His hand doesn't move, still touching. His fingers are cool to the touch against your warm skin. "I don't play either, and I've got no drokking idea what I'd say to him, but if you wanted to do it. I mean, you like speedball so much, and he's like." He shifts in his seat, his hand turns and he brushes his knuckles against your elbow. "He's like the only important guy I know, really." He looks down at the screen, then wipes it off with his off hand, "C'mon, let's go check out my Navi, see if we can get him right now." He starts to take your arm, not hard, but actually taking your arm, but he hesitates.

    What do you do?
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    I'm not stupid, he's not my friend and I don't know very much about Lucas at all.

    But that light in his eyes when he was talking about his uncle, that flash of sincerity I saw when he seemed to love if not the game, then his relationship with the game.

    I stand up tentatively, "o... okay..." I do pull my arm away to pick up my glasses from the table and slip them on. Take a moment to smooth my hair out of my eyes and hopefully let him take a step so I can follow rather than be dragged.

    When I'm ready I ask, "do you think he remembers the move he put on Lincoln? I must have watched that play fifty times."

    Maybe he'll tell me about it.
  • edited March 2016
    image "Me, too. At least fifty." Lucas assures you as he heads out of the room. He stops near the door, looking back for a second, "Hey, why do you wear glasses, anyway, Ashlee? I mean, they could lasic you easy, right?" He walks right across the hall to his room. Have you ever been in their room? He lets the thumbprint scanner do its work and the door opens up. Lucas doesn't wait for you to come in or anything, he walks right in and heads for the right, his side of the room, for his Navi.
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    He asks about my glasses, which I'd honestly rather not talk about. I've been asked about it before and I always tell the same lie, "uhh... yeah my eyes aren't compatable... my cornea is too thin." Little shrug, little smile.

    The truth is more complicated. For one I like wearing them, and for another I am trying really hard to stay out of the medical database. I don't want any medical connections being drawn to my past on the ship.

    I pause there in the door. Little concerned about Olivar being here but relieved that he's not. Well. Also a little concerned about going into a guy's room alone. But... but a chance to actually talk to a last-gen all star? How awesome would that be.

    Hopeful huh?

    I haven't been in Lucas's room before. Why in the world would I be? I take a look around the hall to make sure nobody's watching before I take a couple steps inside and wait near the door.
  • image He picks up the Navi, answering with a bit of distraction, "That sucks, Ashlee. I mean, your glasses are alright. Just... It'd drive me crazy, wearing them." He cues up a call, tries to get a connection. As the sequence runs, he looks up at you, "Funny, though. You look pretty with them on. Like your eyes are bigger, you know? Like a cartoon character. A. A, uhm, a cute one."
    The call fails, and he makes a sound of irritation low in his throat, "Stupid protocols. They're hogging the bandwidth on upper decks. Everyone's trying to ping the pipe. Might take a bit." He looks around the room, "I know Ollie's side is a mess. We don't have, you know, chairs. Want to sit on the bed? I can get up."
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    He says some pretty nice things, although he's surprisingly awkward about it. Doesn't match my impression of him at all, really. Makes me glance away and wonder what he sees in my eyes. I reach up and touch my frames as he talks about them.

    But I stay near the door. Awkward or not, I'm not comfortable going into a guy's room like this, even with the promise of a speedball great. But with the feed failing to connect it's kind of a let down and it's starting to sound like an excuse.

    Excuse for what?

    I must look a little skeptical, "uh... I'll just stay here all right?" I lean against the door frame with one shoulder. Arms crossed across my middle. "You know it's almost curfew... maybe I should just... go back."

    I glance out into the hall kind of towards my room.
  • image When you refuse to sit down, he nods, "Yeah... sure, that's fine." You can see he's realized you're losing interest, and then you trump that by calling on curfew and saying you should go. He hops up from the bed, moving up a step, then hesitates, "No, we've got like thirty minutes. I mean, we can try again tomorrow, for my, for my Great Uncle. But maybe, I dunno, you wanna hang out?" He drops his voice lower, "I've got something I could, you know, share with you. Feels really good. You ever had a hit off a Tramahex? They're supposed to be loaded into injectors, but pure hits off the powder, it's amazing. You want.. you wanna try one?"
  • edited March 2016
    I stand with arms crossed, leaning on the frame of the door to the hall. I tilt my head slightly as he offers me... drugs?

    I almost laugh, "you can't be serious?"

    If Lucas had any idea how many different drugs they've given me over the years in medical. Psychic enhancers, stimulants, narcotics, hypnotics... pretty much anything and everything that they thought might alter my mental state to the advantage of their research. Thankfully in a relatively controlled pseudo-medical way so I didn't pick up any long-lasting dependencies. At the end, though, they were just trying to keep me docile.

    But yeah, he doesn't know that he's offering me a bit of not-entirely unpleasant nostalgia from my childhood.

    I should just take off, but it's getting late and even walking back to use the navi in the ready room is going to eat up too much of my time.

    "You go ahead, Lucas, here..." I reach out a hand, "lemme see your Navi." Should be obvious I'm not taking the drug, but also not judging. I just want to sit somewhere and browse.

    I'll hang out as he puts it, but I've got two more weeks of highlights to watch before curfew.
  • image Lucas' mouth twitches with a nervous flicker of frustration. In a sullen move, he puts the Navi on the bed beside him, like "if you want to use it, sit here beside me". He hops up, heads over to his cabinet, pulls out a small medical box, clearly marked Tramahex injector refills, with another bit Keep out of the reach of children. He opens the box, looks over his small collection of the devices, uniform blue plastic containers for a powdery substance.
  • image
    Ok. Ok fine.

    I slowly cross the room as he gets his drek together and sit on the edge of the bed. I pick up his navi and get to my speedball news site as he preps his dose. I look up occasionally to follow what he's doing.

    Still a little nervous about being in a guys room like this but it doesn't feel like something's gonna happen. It feels like I know a little more about things than he does. Kind of feels like he's disarmed.

    As I watch him over the edge of my glasses I ask, "Why do you use that stuff?"
  • image He closes the box, one injector in his right hand. He holds it up like a little trophy, "Why not? Makes you feel good. Like.. fuzzy and happy, nothing can touch you, you know? No stupid roommate or Instructor Malcolm, or Corp Rys. They don't matter anymore and you just float away for a while." He sounds more comfortable talking about that than anything else.

    Lucas moves over to sit near you, not touching. Almost, but not quite. "I mean... we're all stuck and drokked, right? The only people I'll ever know are fifteen other souls and whatever grown-up comes over the screen. And nobody gives a stomm about me." His tone darkens at the end there, "Ollie's a terrible person, Ashlee. Ourania thinks I killed the dog. Mark... all he's ever done is laugh at me. Gwen's dead. Pris is as good as dead. The rest of them... Just the same assholes every day, the same faces, the same stomm every day and for what? To hope I pass a test in eighteen months and get to be an... an adult? Or they push me out an airlock. A test I can't... can't even study for? Some genetic lottery I've already lost, or won, and I don't even know?"

    He cracks open the canister, takes a whiff of the powder. You can smell it in the air already, something coppery. Like blood. But there's some other metallic scent in there, too. "My question is... why aren't the rest of you using this stuff?"
  • image
    Lucas earns a little sideways laugh as he mentions that first part, about the Corporal and all. But I'm still eyes on the Navi.

    But when he sits near me a little too close he's got my nervous attention again and I kind of stop. But he has such energy in his voice, how he's losing hope, how he doesn't know what to live for. I know these feelings really well, over seven years spend as a ward of the experimental medicine group made me question life... question everything.

    By the time he settles down from that first puff I've laid the navi down flat on my lap, turned off. It doesn't feel right to immerse myself in news from light-years away and ignore him.

    "Hey..." I take another breath, the scent of the stuff is in the air. "Life kind of sucks sometimes, but... but at least we're not all alone." I don't realize it yet but I'm shivering for some reason.

    I take the canister from him and swirl it around, held gingerly with my fingertips. I take a little whiff of the lingering fumes. Just the lingering bit of the hit he just inhaled, give myself a little buzz and be a part of this... thing... whatever it is. With him.

    Then I set the canister back down in his hand and lean my head back. I sigh deeply as the coppery taste gets stuck in my throat and the buzz hits the back of my eyes.
  • image

    When you take a hit from Tramahex, you're Gazing into the Abyss. Roll it with a +2 Forward on the first hit. On the second hit, it's a +1 Forward. On the third, there is no bonus to your roll.
    And surprise, the fourth hit is a -1 Forward. And so on, capping at -3 Forward.
  • Gaze into the abyss: Dark+1+2 Forward
    (Rolled: 2d6+3. Rolls: 6, 4. Total: 13)
  • edited March 2016
    Lucas has me thinking of deeper things, about our lives and what may matter. He makes me think of Priscilla, and Gwen. And all of our fragile lives. Of maybe how can I bring some small comfort to her. Or to Lucas. Or myself.

    The visions show me what I must know, and what I must do. But aren't very clear... as visions tend not to be.
  • image

    You feel the drug kicking in, your skin buzzes lightly and your hair feels like it is standing on end. Vision warbles and you feel yourself floating. Visions of your classmates float through your mindset.

    Lucas walking around the hallways on all fours, the lost dog. He whimpers and whines for attention, echoing and echoing but nobody will pet him.
    Priscilla drinks Ourania's tears, she cries out in pain and vomits them up, over and over until Mark opens an airlock to suck her out into space. They'll be dead together.
    Gwen sitting alone in the classroom, alone and forgotten. Nobody mourns her. Nobody sees her.
    Nadja looking out a porthole, seeing the coffins of her parents and her sister, rubbing the photocube she has on a locket, a picture of all four of them. She'll never get forgiveness for killing them.
    Ourania as a young girl pulling on the shirt sleeve of her mother, tugging and looking up, her mother's face is blank and featureless, her ears don't exist.
  • image When you come to, it's been a while on this trip or whatever it was. Lucas is lying beside you, he slumped over and ended up with his head on your shoulder. The injector capsule is lying on the bed between you. You can feel him, though, his presence, his aura, or... something. "Not... bad... hunh?" He smiles a loopy smile at you, gently pats your arm.

  • image
    I wake up from the disturbing visions a little disoriented and startled. I blink up at the unfamiliar ceiling (I'm used to my dark little bunk when I wake up).

    Lucas touches my arm and when I hear his voice I suddenly realize where I am.

    I push my self up to stand but a wave of dizzyness hits me and I end up falling back to sit on the edge of the bed. I pause, take a few deep breaths and get my bearings. It's been so long since I used something like Tramahex. Or maybe it really is much stronger when you use it his way. I didn't expect to black out like that.

    "I... I gotta get back to my room..." I say with some difficulty.
  • image Lucas rolls over and pulls himself up to his feet, staggers a step and laughs at himself. "Yeah. Curfew. Because... rules and stomm." He moves his head slowly, or maybe it just looks slow, looks at you, "Or... you just want to get away now. Right?" There's a lift at the end like maybe he hopes that isn't the case, but worries it is.

    The door opens, and Olivar comes in. He's shuffling his feet, a hoodie pulled up, casting his face in shadow. He turns his head to look over at you and Lucas, sniffs the air, then shakes his head, shuffles over to his bed and sits down heavily. In his left hand is a sealed plastic bag with meds in it, obvious plastic bottles in the bag with printed instructions.
  • image
    I look up at Lucas as stands and take another moment to get it together. I'm about to answer him when Olivar comes in looking a mess. It's a little hard to think... I'm suddenly aware that I'm here sitting on Lucas's bed and now someone who has no reason to like either of us has seen us together.

    Ashlee... get out. Just... before something worse happens.

    I stand, a little unsteady, hand on my temple.

    Focus. This is nothing.

    I pause and glance over at Olivar who just looks kind of pathetic right now. I'm sure he'd be calling me on this if he wasn't messed up from getting beat. It's hard to feel relieved about it though.

    "Thanks..." I say, take a moment to look Lucas in the face. Which is rare for me really. He can probably tell I would say more but... Olivar. "I'll see you tomorrow in class."

    Find the door and back to my room.

  • image
    Lucas meets your eyes, a flicker of a smile crosses his face before Oliver makes a pfft noise, then lies down on his cot. He moves over to the door and swipes his hand over the sensor. It opens. He has his back to Olivar like he's in the way of his eyes. "Want me, uhm... to walk you back?"

    image "Get out of here before I report you, Ash." Olivar says, his voice sounding mushy for some reason. Broken teeth? Swelling? Can't tell in the shadows. "Come over to rub my face in it? All the trouble you got me into. Drokking bitch. I will burn you hard. So hard."" He rolls over to face the wall.

    Lucas looks at you with a silent apology, but he didn't bother to defend you, either. What do you do?
  • image
    That chills my mood even more. I look at Lucas feeling suddenly pale.

    "Forget it," not being dismissive of Lucas or anything like that, but I just have to get out of here and I don't want any more complication.

    I look over at Olivar, lurking there in his shadows. I so want to say something... I also know it won't do any good. It never seems to. I barely know what he's talking about. All I remember about class today is that I lost it in front of everyone. That lump in my stomach rises and I squeak out, "I didn't do anything..."

    Just shake my head with a little frustrated cry and hurry past Lucas and out the door.
  • image

    They don't try to stop you. You scoot down the hall and return to your room. Nadja's hair is very different, straightened for some reason. She's putting on a blue dress, but it looks like maybe she's putting it back on. Your sheet has been pulled down and your bedsheets are a mess, pulled off the edges and stuff.
  • image
    It feels like a long walk down one hall and up the other back to my room. I hold myself around the middle, feeling a little queasy from the drug, and from the sudden anxiety that goes with what happened. What did I ever do to Olivar? He was being a jerk to me in class. I didn't do a thing to him... did I?

    Finally I push the door to my room open, must be just a couple minutes before Curfew.

    I stop just inside the door and look at Nadja, at her hair.

    "Seriously?" did she do this because of what I said? Hilarious. "Didn't know you take fashion advice from losers."

    My mood is a little better, but then I notice the bed. Just what I need. Did she put something in my bed?

    "Real mature, Nadja..." A long sigh and I walk over and just start to clean up. I know she won't help me even if I ask. I'm going to check under the sheets, too, like if she dumped a bucket of ice in there or something.
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    The bed, Ashlee, it smells weird. It's wet in spots, and it smells, well, it doesn't smell like water. You definitely smell sweat, and Nadja's perfume, and...

    Mark's shampoo. Any day before today you'd never have a clue, but after sitting with him on the speedball court just, what, two hours ago? You remember the smell.

    Nadja is wearing a self-satisfied smile as you try to clean off your bed. She doesn't say a word, just crosses her arms, sitting against the desk and waiting for the light bulb to come on.

    I think Mark just betrayed you, didn't he?
  • imageRolling Futile Hope: +Dark
    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 3, 2. Total: 6)
    I lose all strings on Mark.
    I lose condition hopeful.
    I gain condition betrayed.
  • edited March 2016
    I pull the sheets down expecting to find some prank, maybe a cruel one. But I was not prepared for what I do find. I feel the wet on my hand and arm, I smell the scent of Nadja and Mark's obvious sex. I withdraw my hands from the bed and fall back on my ass, look up at Nadja in disgust.

    "What the hell did you do? Outraged, really, to invade my only tiny little bubble of personal space in the worst possible way.

    I stand up and cry out in furious frustration. With both hands I grab at my bed sheets and tear them from my bed with all my strength, probably send much of my clothes and personal belongings scattering across the floor. The sheets don't come completely free and I have to yank at them a couple times.

    I can't stop from crying out, almost crying in earnest, "what the hell did you drokkin' do?"

    Desperate, frustrated, I tear one last time at the sheets and throw the whole disgusting bundle of sex and betrayal towards where Nadja sits smug at her stupid desk. The bed is left bare to the mattress.

    My life is a mess.
  • edited March 2016
    image She shrugs, "Mark. That's what I drokkin' did." She looks around at the floor, "You made more of a mess than we did. Nerd Girl. Almost curfew, you better clean this stomm up." Then, like you even asked, she tells you, "Mark looks even better naked than he does in his speedball suit. I mean, he's ripped. His abs... they'e so nice."

    Mark gets a string on you. He does sound amazing, and so not yours. Ever.

    What do you do?
  • image
    So pissed off. So disappointed. Frustrated. I just seethe there, breathing hard and coming down from my outburst. She teases me with it, rubs it in my face.

    I turn away from her and cry out one last frustrated little sound and just look at my destroyed living space.

    "I don't care..." I snap back without looking, wipe my eyes and sniff, "I don't care about him, I don't care about you... just st... stay out of my bed... stay out of my life."

    I start gathering my things up, one by one or in rough hand fulls. Fold clothes roughly and put everything on my bunk. I go about it like she's not even here, just looking at the floor, the wall, my feet. She's no help of course.

    I end up glaring down at my ruined bed sheets, "you are such a drokkin' ass hole."

    If she's not in my way, I take the gray sheet that's usually my hanging partition, wrap it roughly around myself and collapse on the bed, on my side facing the wall. Trying to hide how upset I really am, how much I want to just cry at being betrayed before anything even started... and the drugs still linger in my head... ugh.

    I don't bother to change, or get ready for bed... I just want to disappear.
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    End Scene
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