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 MxF  Sci-Fi  Action/Adventure Endlessness Is Only Scary In A Group || Nyco & Kitti

Discussion in 'Roleplay Haven' started by Nyctibius, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. Nyctibius

    Nyctibius Militant Owl Admin Administrator

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    It was turning out to be a hell of a day, Michael thought as he came into his room to find... well. That. His eyes widened a touch, but he turned away as Jotari warned him off. His eyes fell on the crate full of discarded parts and he pulled out one of the arms, surprised by the sheer heft of it. He supposed it made a certain amount of sense. The rock she'd been standing on had supported thousands, millions of tourists over the years. Iris had fallen right through. And then there was his complete inability to pull her out of the water...

    That would be a nightmare he'd have to endure for a while.

    He dropped the part back into the box and looked up through the balcony door windows. The sun was setting now, Monado's 13-hour-day ending and its 9-hour-night beginning to unfold. He could already see it in his mind--the daytime vendors closing down their stalls and shops, some transitioning to a more night-focused crowd, others going back to their residences. Other shops that had been closed all day long opened up to begin hawking wares, from stimulants to photosensitive meals to flesh for any and all interested parties. At one point Michael might have gone to one of those places, eaten some bizarre alien morsel that made him feel light as a cloud, gone to sit in a dark corner of a gloomy club, spent half his earnings from cleaning out the others on 'company'. It didn't do much for him, but it was a routine. He hadn't had anything else to fall into until now.

    He heard Jotari speak and considered ignoring him for a moment. He was sick of the incessant questions--and it wasn't like he had any answers, either. How was he supposed to know a damned thing about who or what Iris was...

    Despite his urge, he looked over at the doctor, and then at Iris, laying with her eyes open and her torso open, exposing layers of complicated machinery that all suspiciously resembled organs, muscles, bone. He looked away again and folded his arms where he stood. "Ask away. I don't have as many questions as you might think. At least, not any I'm ready to ask just yet."
     
  2. Sunshine Kitti

    Sunshine Kitti Every light casts a shadow Member

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    Jotari gave himself a moment to stretch and pace. He hadn't realized how long he had been sitting, concentrating. It was morning when he had arrived, hadn't it? Early afternoon? He wiped his hands on a towel and wiped at his face, then finally turned to Michael.

    "I had a list," he began as he absently folded the towel-- once, twice, three times. He paused and glanced back at his patient. Iris had yet to move. He realized belatedly that he should keep the information of her deactivation to himself. In that moment, it occurred to him also that he had no idea how to ensure she would reawaken.

    "But... I can't imagine this is easy for you. Either of you." Jotari sighed. He cleared his throat as he idly began to clean up. The microbeads would be a nightmare for even the cleaner bots to get rid of for some time.

    "Her condition should be greatly improved from now on. The parts she had-- ah... Were heavier than most standard synthetics. The ones in your containment unit are startlingly light." He ran a hand through his hair. "I think... No, I know that replacing the parts were the intent." His brows knit together. "But she'll be much more human like now. Almost indistinguishable."

    Finally he turned to Michael fully. "So... What do you intend to with her?"
     
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  3. Nyctibius

    Nyctibius Militant Owl Admin Administrator

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    Not easy? No. God, no. Michael hadn't dealt with something this fraught and convoluted in a good long while. He glanced down at his feet and for the first time noticed the microbeads that had spilled all over the place--the carpet, the hardwood flooring, under the desk. Everywhere. He stifled an explosive profanity as he turned to walk over to the services panel next to the door. "Couldn't you have tried a little harder not to spill these Lawdamned things everywhere?" he muttered. It wasn't as big a deal here as it was in the ship, though. He keyed in a few commands and after a moment a pair of drones emerged from slots in the base of the wall, moving around and whirring softly as they sucked up the beads.

    "What do I intend to do?" he asked as the drones went on their business. "I don't know. You should ask her what she wants to do with herself. You're already not calling her 'it' anymore, so the concept of Iris having free will shouldn't be too much for you to grasp." He sat down at the desk and rubbed his face, willing away the stress and aggression. It had been such a long day. Impossibly long.

    "But that isn't really answering you worth a damn, is it?" he mumbled. "What I intend to do is... protect her, if she'll let me. I have a feeling that the people who tried to stuff her into a shipping crate and move her across the galaxy aren't just going to let her go. Not when she is... what she is." He paused and his eyes went unfocused as he gazed into a different place and time entirely. "The powerful don't like to give up their bigger investments very easily," he said quietly, his tone bitter. "So they won't let her go," he continued, snapping back to the present and looking at Jotari. "What about you? Are you going to turn us in?"
     
  4. Sunshine Kitti

    Sunshine Kitti Every light casts a shadow Member

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    "No." The answer was immediate, even as Jotari's attention seemed to have gone elsewhere. He watched the little vacuums as the whirred and worked, and understood that he did not have much longer to stay. He went back to the bedside, flexed his fingers, then picked up the delicate tools he had been using to install the heart that lay still in Iris's open chest.

    "Nothing good would come out of telling anyone what I saw here today. I may have a new wealth of knowledge that would change how I do business, but... Not in a way that could be shared." With a final adjustment and a cauterized wire, the heart gave a little shudder, then began to glow a soft aquamarine. As the pulse found a rhythm, the lungs began to slowly expand with a first draw of oxygen.

    Jotari grabbed the breastplate-- far too real, for his liking and a bit too big for such a petite figure in his opinion, and set it into place. He was careful as he pressed it in, then careful swept his thumb along the seal. The rising heat of her body would activate the sealant that had been infused into each segment of her new body. The lines where they had connected would fade away. It was something that had been introduced into prosthetics years ago, and Jotari would have been surprised if such a detail would have been over looked.

    He was quiet until he watched her chest rise and fall, then sat back. "She will need protecting, Michael," he murmured. "Whoever did this... They can't do it again."

    He carefully pulled the sheet up to her neck, then rose. "I'm sure she'll be awake soon. I'm not sure how she'll react to any of this, but I can say for certain that I would not be as effective at mitigating it as you might be--"

    The moment Jotari had said it, Iris gasped. Her eyes squeezed shut and when they opened again they were bright and aware. She jack knifed where she lay, sitting up quickly with her hands scrambling to reach for something--though it was not clear what.

    Jotari's brows raised. "... That's... Not what I expected to happen," he murmured. He began to take more notes on his tablet at once.

    Iris' head was on a swivel. The shapes and colors of the room were still coming together, but the moment that her gaze found Michael, she was trying to get up to go to him. She had to be sure that he was really there-- that she could finally touch him. It felt like she had been chasing him across the galaxy.

    "Michael--" She had tossed the sheet away and gotten a foot on the ground before she realized, very suddenly, how different she felt. Her hand came up to hold her head as she forced herself to settle.

    "I'm sorry," she murmured. "Something is..."

    "Vertigo," Jotari supplied. "Your center of gravity has changed, but you haven't experienced it yet. Give it time."

    She glanced at Jotari, staring as if she couldn't place where she knew him from, then promptly averted her gaze when she understood. Her fingers brushed her neck absently as she tried finding something else to look at. But the floor was dusted in a layer of white that made her back ache with how stiff she got. She found the most comfort looking at Michael instead.

    "You were hurt," she said softly. "Weren't you? Are you alright?" She realized she had never asked.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
  5. Nyctibius

    Nyctibius Militant Owl Admin Administrator

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    He watched and listened as the doctor activated her heart--what is it, actually? What in an android would be analagous to a heart? he wondered briefly--and attached the final exterior panel. She'll need protecting. That, at least, they could agree on. Michael felt confident in his ability to protect her. Whoever came for them wouldn't expect a cargo hauler captain to be much of anything in the way of threatening. Whoever came for them would learn to reassess that expectation, should he opt to allow them TO learn. Michael shook his head a little and stood again. "They won't be allowed to," he promised. Jotari began to say more, but before he could finish his sentence Iris jerked and lurched upward.

    Michael blinked hard as she caught up mentally from where she had left off to where she was now. He crossed the room to her when she asked and reached past her, taking the sheet and lifting it up and over her shoulders, draping it over her body to cover as much skin as possible. It didn't bother him to see her naked--maybe it interested him a bit too much--but there was somehow a galactic difference between how she'd been, prone and unresponsive, and how she was now. "I'm fine," he promised quietly, his tone soft. "Like the Doc said, though, just slow down. You've had, ah... a lot of major change, over the last few hours. How do you feel? Is there any pain, any discomfort anywhere?"

    His hands lingered on her shoulders. His gaze drifted from her face to her neck as faint motion caught his attention, and he watched in quiet fascination as the sealant coagulated and congealed to form a perfect, flawless seal between panels. He glanced at Jotari, then at the door, then back to the doctor. "We'll be here awhile," he promised the doctor, "and I get the sense we've got more to discuss, but later." His tone didn't leave much room for argument--not with the doctor.
     
  6. Sunshine Kitti

    Sunshine Kitti Every light casts a shadow Member

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    Jotari finished his notes before tucking the tablet away and raising his hands in surrender. "Certainly. You know where I'll be. In fact, I'll schedule you both a follow up appointment as is protocol. ... To further avoid the cosmic fuckton of suspicion I have to do away with." He rolled his eyes as he began to leave, but paused by the door.

    "Get rid of that box," he added before he departed with his Huragok assistant drifting behind him.

    Iris had been watching him leave, but her shoulders seemed to finally relax as Jotari vanished into the hall and the door sealed and locked behind him. She let go of the breath she had been holding and shifted so that she could press herself against Michael, wrapping her arms carefully around him to hold him tight. Her fingers clenched at his back and her face pressed against the warmth of his chest.

    "I thought you would have left," she whispered; a confession of fear that had her trembling. "I thought I wasn't going to see you again, a-and that I couldn't thank you and tell you how sorry I am..." She squeezed her eyes shut as they began to burn and blur.

    "I'm so sorry for all of this, Michael..."
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
  7. Nyctibius

    Nyctibius Militant Owl Admin Administrator

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    Get rid of the box. Like he wasn't going to make that a priority. Just a second priority, for now. He already knew a decent way to do so, but he set it aside mentally as the door locked behind Jotari and Iris pressed against him. He hesitated for just a moment; physicality was not something that came very naturally to him, and while he didn't object to being hugged by her--

    Then he felt how she was trembling, heard how her voice shook, felt her tears soak into his shirt. His arms lifted to wrap around her tightly, holding her as close as she held him, and he lifted one hand to stroke out her long, copper-red hair. "Don't," he said, softly but firmly. "Don't apologize for what you couldn't have possibly anticipated. I'm willing to bet there's a message waiting for me apologizing for the accident, along with a fat comp package for allowing it to happen in the first place." He cradled the back of her head and sighed softly, looking down at her. "You haven't done anything wrong, though. If anything, I'm sorry I couldn't help you. I couldn't get you out of there before... well, everything. And you suffered for it."

    A thought occurred. He hadn't been able to pull her out of the water, which meant she had to weigh much more before when on land. At least a few hundred kilos. But now, with the new center of gravity, the new body...

    He shifted his hand from her head to her back, holding her tightly, and then stood, picking her up off the bed with ease. He had put some oomph into it, and stood more quickly than he'd intended, expecting her to still weigh more than a flesh and blood person would--but if anything, she was precisely as heavy as she looked now. "Huh," he said appraisingly, and then realized that perhaps grabbing her up and holding her so tight without having clarified what he intended might have been alarming. He lowered her again just as quickly, his cheeks flushing. "Er--sorry. I didn't. That wasn't very smart. I just--I want to be sure I can carry you, if I have to. Just in case."

    You idiot, he thought savagely at himself.
     
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  8. Sunshine Kitti

    Sunshine Kitti Every light casts a shadow Member

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    Strange how different the world could suddenly be. Iris had not been prepared for Michael gather her up as if he intended to whisk her away. She would have never thought it possible, knowing what she knew now. But he had done so with such ease that she had been startled into clinging to him until he put her back down. By the time she was back on the plush mattress, her face had gone a bit pink with embarrassment.

    "I... Hope you won't have to," she said, wiping her cheek with the heel of her hand. But if he wanted to...

    Now was not the time to think about that. There were so many other things to say and consider. She shifted where she sat, gathering her knees close to her chest so she could tuck the sheet around herself more securely. She hadn't realized the need to be modest until then.

    "I hardly think that anyone is at fault for anything that happened up there..." she murmured. The Lance was still so clear in her mind. She wondered just how many accidents had happened there. She wondered if there were any like hers. "But if they're going to compensate you... That means we are staying?"

    We-- she had meant him; but the idea of leaving him now felt harder. She owed him so much more than she did yesterday. She needed time to make it up to him.

    "I feel alright," she tacked on suddenly. "Nothing hurts or... Feels 'bad,' just.... Different. I... I would understand if you had more important things to do here than make sure that I don't fall into anymore water." Her smile was hesitant. "You don't have to sacrifice all of your time here for me..."
     
  9. Nyctibius

    Nyctibius Militant Owl Admin Administrator

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    "It's not really sacrifice if it's what I want to do," he said, shrugging where he stood. It felt strange to stand over a very naked android on the bed like that, so he turned and went back to the desk chair to sit, scowling at the crate as the little room-bots finished their job with the beads and scooted back to their alcoves. "The only thing I have to do is make sure this crate is properly disposed of. Aside from that... well, there's a lot I'd like to do." He looked at her again, studied her face and hair and demeanor. He stared for maybe a little too long before he patted the arms of the chair he was in and pivoted toward the desk. "We need to get you some clothes, I think, right? Yes? Can't have you going around in a sheet if we're staying. Or going."

    He realized quickly enough that he had no idea what her sizes were. What did a 'humanoid female (s)' size constitute? Was she an '(m)'? He scrolled through a few pages worth of underwear before he realized, once again, how weird it must look. "Um," he said, and glanced at her. "Maybe you should come over here and do this yourself. I, uh. Yeah. I'm not... the... undies, yeah? Not my. I'm not." He stood and turned the chair toward her, clearing his throat and busying himself with picking up the lid of the crate. "Yeah, I'm not the guy, who knows about, uh. Clothes and stuff. That's not in my... my wheelhouse, sort of, so to speak."

    Michael put the lid back on the crate and gave one corner a good percussive smack. It made a light pop sound as it locked into place, forming an industrial-grade seal that could only be broken open with a prybar. He wondered very briefly how Jotari had managed before he brushed that aside. He didn't want to think about Jotari right now, or anyone else for that matter. His eyes drifted back to Iris. No... definitely not Jotari.
     
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  10. Sunshine Kitti

    Sunshine Kitti Every light casts a shadow Member

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    Iris wondered, just for a moment, what was going on in Michael's head when he looked at her like that. It was as if he was studying her, thinking hard about what he saw. Something about that made her chest tight. Maybe he was trying to decide if she looked human enough-- or not. She remembered him saying something about being human, but she couldn't remember if it mattered to him. If she had any courage, she might have asked.

    Instead, she looked away, trying to tuck her face into the sheet to hide the heat rushing to her cheeks. She was trying to sort out if she appreciated the attentiveness when Michael began to stammer over something-- clothes? Undies? She glanced back up at him for a moment, then up to screen he was looking at.

    Oh.

    She couldn't help it, she giggled a little to herself, then shifted to get out of bed. She stood and found herself tipping one way, then the other, and caught herself by sitting back down with a look of bewilderment. How could standing be so different?

    She took a moment before trying again and ended up tip-toeing over to the chair instead. She kept the sheet close as she turned towards the catalog, and belatedly realized that she had never done this either. Her clothes had always been laundered and returned to her. Her delicates had always been white and practical. She never knew that bras could come in different sizes, or with more than two cups.

    It was easy to get overwhelmed, she discovered, and she just chose the from the page she ended up on. A multipack sounded the least stressful, and by the time she scrolled to the pajamas, the idea of looking for anything had her head spinning.

    She selected a few things from the next few categories blindly, them submitted the order just she wouldn't have to keep looking. She pushed back from the console and took a breath, looking at the ceiling for a moment.

    "I don't know anything about any of this either, she admitted." She glanced Michael's way. "I suppose there's a lot that I just have never considered."

    She was careful as she rose again and made her way to stand near the window. Her hand came to rest against the nearby wall for additional support. The resort below was still coming alive, and the streets were just as populated as they were throughout the day, if not more. She tipped her head as she watched them go by.

    "I just have so many questions... I don't know if anyone would even have those answers for me." Her hand came to rest against her cheek? "How do you ask someone how to be... A person?" She hesitated and shook her head. "Even I wasn't a-- a...." She could say it still, couldn't make it real, so she had to move on. "I never lived anywhere that wasn't Jette. Before this, and... You... My life had been four rooms, and I never knew anything else."

    The revelation stalled her. "Four rooms..." she said again. "I remember a little bit about that, at least... Not much, but... That's all I ever knew."
     
  11. Nyctibius

    Nyctibius Militant Owl Admin Administrator

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    Michael shook his head as he moved to stand next to her, the crate full of discarded parts sealed and ready to be moved. He watched as a stall opened on the boardwalk below, unfolding neatly from within the jungle. The owner, a fellow with a mass of tentacles around his mouth and two beetle-black eyes, began to call out in a chopping, warbling voice that Michael couldn't hear but could easily imagine. Nocturnal aliens had begun to populate the resort, waking from their diurnal slumber and going about their business as reliably as any other creature. He saw a reflection of red from her hair and looked over at her, watching her quietly as she wondered and touched her cheek.

    You're so beautiful, he wanted to say.

    "Don't stress about it," he said instead, his voice soft despite the careless words. "Whatever was, whatever will be... you've got me in your corner." He would have taken her hand, but with her holding the sheet on and touching her own cheek, there wasn't one to take. Instead he put his hand on her bare shoulder and squeezed gently. "I know we haven't known each other long, and maybe I'm... I'm jumping to conclusions, or... I don't know. Maybe I shouldn't, but I care. About you. A lot. I'm invested in making sure you're... happy, if that. If it makes any sense, to say that." His hand dropped away and he looked back out across Monero.

    He hadn't been up for this many consecutive hours in a while, but he wasn't quite fatigued enough to feel tired yet, even with the excitement at the Lance. He didn't want to abandon her, even in the pretense of getting some rest. "We'll get you some more clothes tomorrow," he decided quietly. "Enough that you can have some variety... and you can pick them out yourself, too. You've got a sense of fashion, I bet, it's just not something you ever had to think about before. I can call in the resort's favor to get as much as... as you like, y'know. And I've got plenty of money for now, so if they get weird, we'll be fine."
     
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  12. Sunshine Kitti

    Sunshine Kitti Every light casts a shadow Member

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    As Michael spoke, Iris found it much harder to focus on what was happening down below. The warmth of her cheeks increased as she studied his face and felt the weight of his hand on her shoulder. Was it heavier now? She glanced at it, then back up to him with wider eyes, studying his expression.

    He cared. He cared about her. There was an exhilarating thrill that went through her as the meaning settled over her like a thicker, warmer blanket. Despite everything: the overwhelming feeling of trying to recontexualize everything she knew, the incredible sense of imbalance, the endless unknown that stretched out before her-- she found herself smiling.

    How did he do that? He was very good at it, whatever it was.

    She reached out to take his hand then, not ready for him to move away just yet. "I care about you, too." He had to know that. She couldn't explain it-- but she wanted be sure that he had no doubts about it. She wanted him to be happy, too. It was why she was so concerned about how everything with her was affecting him. It was why she wanted to stay with him, and make sure that she made her presence with him worth his time.

    ... Somehow.

    The door chimed, announcing the arrival of the delivery she had just ordered. Another expedited arrival, but perhaps it was the for the best. She realized that walking around mostly naked might be incredibly inappropriate for the both of them. She cleared her throat and excused herself to go answer the door, accept the package and slip into the bathroom, all with that unsteady gait on the tips of her toes.

    With the door shut, she dropped the sheet and stood before the mirror to inspect herself as she had done before. To her knowledge, she didn't look any different. Freckles still dotted her pale skin, her hair was still curled and red. But upon closer inspection, she could see that her collarbone, once etched with a silver tattoo, was bare. She rubbed at the area, then touched her face, her neck, her torso...

    Was this truly her body? Should it feel like it?

    She swallowed past the mounting anxiety and dressed herself instead. The pajamas that had arrived were silky and emerald green, a set of shorts and a tank top trimmed with black lace. She had never even considered such a color for herself, let alone the luxurious fabric. And the underwear...?

    Well, it was hardly practical. But in lovely shades of pink, red and gold, with thin fabric and interesting designs, they were pretty.

    She got dressed, careful not to move to quickly and cause herself to topple over, then crept back into the main suite with the sheet bundled in her arms.

    "I think we've both had enough excitement for the day," she murmured, brushing an errant hair behind her ear. "Tomorrow sounds good... For a lot of things, really."

    How could she say that she just wanted to stay close to him for the rest of the night? Could she really ask much more of him?
     
  13. Nyctibius

    Nyctibius Militant Owl Admin Administrator

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    Michael sat down heavily once she was in the bathroom. His mind was sluggish, working but slowly. If he was going to protect her, take her and run, some changes would have to be made. Uncomfortable changes--but to him almost all change was uncomfortable. If he questioned himself closely enough he'd start to wonder why in the galaxy he was so unbothered by Iris, but he didn't care to. Didn't even really want to. He cared about her and wanted her to be safe and happy, and that was all that he needed to acknowledge for the time being.

    When her changing began to lean more toward lengthy than brief, he went to the computer and pulled up a list of heavily populated worlds, a half-dozen, then another. He plotted courses from each and calculated the cost using his ship--then, after a moment's thought, erased that cost and began to browse other, newer freighters. He'd have to abandon his ship, sell her and buy a new one. He'd have to try and persuade her to get a haircut, and dye his own hair, at least early on. The business of disappearing was an all or nothing sort.

    He heard the door open and looked up to see her emerge, sheet bundled in pale arms. The emerald green looked startlingly good against her red hair, and he stared for a moment before remembering himself. "Right," he nodded. "A bit too much, to be sure. Go ahead and take the bed for yourself. I'll be good in the armchair." Or the floor, but he didn't want to tell her that. He could predict how she might object to him sprawling out across the ground.
     
  14. Sunshine Kitti

    Sunshine Kitti Every light casts a shadow Member

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    There was a bit of hesitation, but Iris nodded and made her way to the bed. It felt strange to approach it now, knowing that she had already been there for so long before. But everything was still spinning and she still couldn't get a strong sense of self. She needed to rest more.

    She crawled into bed and smoothed the sheet across her lap, studying the space for a moment before she glanced Michael's way again. Suddenly the room felt so much bigger; or she, much smaller. She could only imagine him towering over her now, and what should have felt imposing only felt comforting instead.

    She wanted him close. Her lips parted and she inhaled, but the words would not come to her. She tried again, then a third time. And finally--

    "It's big enough!" It sounded as if she had made a discovery, and she clapped a hand over her mouth, trying not to look too mortifed. Instead, she cleared her throat and brushed her hair behind her ears. "I-If you're worried about... not having enough space if we shared it. ...Th-the bed."

    She couldn't look at him, but now that she had started, she couldn't stop talking. "I don't think I move a lot in my sleep, so you won't even know I was here. I-I mean... if you wanted to, but I don't mind... This is your room, after all, and you shouldn't have to sleep anywhere else because of me."

    She stumbled over her words and took a moment before finally covering her face. She sounded like a fool. He probably thought she was being strange, maybe even childish. But, she couldn't escape the feeling.

    "I'd really like it if you..." Her words trailed as she peered through her fingers at him. "If you... were comfortable..." It wasn't her reason, but it was a good one, if nothing else.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021
  15. Nyctibius

    Nyctibius Militant Owl Admin Administrator

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    A small frown flitted over his face as she spoke. He wanted to explain it wasn't a matter of comfort or space, that it was just unwise--but how many 'wise' choices had he made since they'd landed on Monero? He'd dove into the pool on the Spear, he'd fried a hospital's security system, yelled at and abused one of the only people who knew her secret, gambled away most of his money--granted, he had won it all back and then some, and then a lot, but if he was honestly worried about being responsible--

    Well, wouldn't he have just taken the deal?

    He tapped the arms of the chair. That was correct; if he had wanted to take the 'correct' or 'responsible' choice here, he'd have taken the scientist's deal and made himself scarce while the boogeymen grabbed her and disappeared. For all he really knew she would end up with a happier, more fulfilling life than whatever kind of on-the-lam discomfort he would provide. No, if Michael was really interested in logic, he wouldn't even be here in this room. It began to dawn on him that for perhaps the first time he was following what his heart wanted, rather than what his mind dictated.

    He pushed himself up and walked over to the bed, sitting down on the side across from her. "Fine, you've convinced me," he said quietly. "But you can keep the blankets and all. I'm a hot sleeper, never use 'em." Which was the truth, if not also a convenient layer of separation he could cling to. He lay down on his side facing her with one eye open and stifled a yawn, exhaling slowly as he reached out to give her shoulder a squeeze. "Lay down, get comfortable. Sleep if you can--rest if you can't. And wake me up if anything weird happens." Not that it will, he wanted to add. Nothing weird should happen. Not yet. But Michael could never be too safe.
     
  16. Sunshine Kitti

    Sunshine Kitti Every light casts a shadow Member

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    Relief swept over Iris as he came to lay by her side. At his invitation, she settled down too, rolling to face him as she pulled the blanket over her shoulder.

    "I remember," she said as she studied the features of his face. It was becoming clear that she remembered a lot of things about him. He looked just as he had in her dreams, except much closer now, thankfully so. She found herself smiling again.

    "You never used them on the ship," she clarified. "I was always worried you would get cold."

    For a moment, she considered leaving it at that. She could have closed her eyes and drifted off. But there was one finally thing bothering her, something she couldn't shake but was easily soothed away as she reached out to thread her fingers between Michael's.

    The rough pads of his fingertips, the heat of his palm... It was enough to allow her to close her eyes. She was sure of it now; he was there, and he wasn't going anywhere. Not yet. She truly hoped he didn't mind.

    "Goodnight," she whispered.
     
  17. Nyctibius

    Nyctibius Militant Owl Admin Administrator

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    Her hand was so impossibly soft. He squeezed gently as she took his hand, thumb smoothing across the back of her hand and knuckles. "Yeah," he murmured. "Night." He ended up laying there long after the fact, watching her as she slept, holding her hand. No thoughts worked into his head, too distracted by her sleeping face and too tired from the day's events to truly put anything into tangible form in his mind. Until his eyes finally closed all he could really think was that he felt, for once, pretty fortunate.

    Outside the room a single figure stood facing the door. A long coat, reaching from a hood that covered their head all the way down to their ankles, obscured most of their form, but they were definitely humanoid and presumably masculine. A gloved hand lifted a round projector and his thumb pressed a switch on the side, displaying a small image of Iris in portrait and profile, along with relevant biometrics. An eight-digit number under her image displayed the bounty that had been put out for her capture and return--at least so far as he knew. The job was a straightforward one, one he had taken as a matter of course. Questions didn't factor in. Usually.

    He pressed the switch again and powered off the disc before pocketing it. He sighed and pinched at the bridge of his nose, regarding the door for another quiet moment. "Michael," he murmured, "you gettin' youself too far inna dis mess." Aidan turned and walked away down the hall, back out into the resort at large. He'd keep his distance for now, watch and wait and judge. Michael deserved that much from him for the years of knowing one another. He deserved at least that much.
     
  18. Sunshine Kitti

    Sunshine Kitti Every light casts a shadow Member

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    Was it a privilege to dream?

    Iris hadn't considered this until she woke the next morning, and found herself glad that she hadn't. As she became more aware of her surroundings, she realized that there were no lingering thoughts or images plauging her, no pressing emotions to jostle her from her slumber. There was only comfort and refreshment.

    ... And Michael.

    She truly thought that she was being honest when she said she was a still sleeper. But somehow, she had wound up beneath his arm, fitted against his much larger frame. Part of her wanted to be embarrassed, but the rest of her wanted to enjoy it. She wasn't sure how sound of a sleeper Michael was, but it felt like a crime to disturb him.

    But she could see the sunlight spilling into the room. It was a new day-- the beginning of so many things yet to be explored. More importantly, Michael was supposed to be vacationing. She had thoroughly interrupted him already, but she was determined to make it up to him, somehow.

    She carefully slipped from his hold, even if she didn't want to yet, and carefully tested her ability to stand. A bit easier than before, but not without its concerning lightness. She felt as though she was floating as she made her way to the monitor across the room.

    There were messages from the hotel's management, the hospital, and Monero's embassy. Though they were addressed to Michael, she couldn't help but to sneak a peek. Surely enough, the embassy was deeply apologetic and offered to schedule a meeting with a representative to file a settlement, provided they agree to non-disclosure. The resort had already credited the duration of their stay and even offered a sizeable allowance to the catalog, for the inconvenience. It was kind of them... Perhaps a bit too kind. She supposed they wanted to avoid word of the accident spreading.

    The hospital's message was different. It was a simple follow up request from Jotari, but there were no specifics about it. Something was uncomfortable about that revelation, but Iris found it easiest to leave that be, for now. Instead, she focused on finding something new to wear for the day.

    She knew Michael was insisting on taking her to the shops, but she couldn't imagine the experience being terribly thrilling for him. Besides, the selection here worked just as well, and she was able to order a few more dresses and even some shorts and shirts that she never would have imagined herself in. But she wanted to-- that was the important part.

    Just at she was going to submit the order, something caught her eye. A bathing suit... Her heart fluttered at the thought of the beach. Perhaps her last experience with the waters on Monero were less than ideal, but the sands and the tides gleamed under the mid morning rays. They could see it up close-- after all, it was much closer to the ground.

    So she ordered the white two piece that came with a floral wrap and headband, then decided on a practical set of trunks for Michael. She hoped he wouldn't mind. She even hoped he might like them.

    By the time the clothes had arrived, she had ordered breakfast to be brought as well, and she thanked the little drone as she accepted the package. She did pause as she peered out into the hall, glancing this way and that to find it completely empty. Maybe it was too early for others?

    All the same, she waited until room service delivered before she settled on the couch and laid her choices out on the coffee table.

    The beach would be lovely... But if Michael wanted to walk around the resort, she would want to blend in. It was so unusual to have so many choices...
     
  19. Nyctibius

    Nyctibius Militant Owl Admin Administrator

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    Michael didn't usually dream, but then he usually didn't have days nearly as eventful as that first one on Monero.

    He found himself underwater, but he could breathe. When he looked toward the surface he could see the silhouette of his ship, squat and blocky and basic, growing steadily smaller. When he looked down he was sinking, attached to a weight made of light that pulled him down into the depths. He felt no fear despite knowing he should be terrified. His grip tightened on the line and he drew it in, pulling it closer until he could wrap his arm around it, letting it pull him down, down, down.

    A brief movement disturbed his sleep, and he woke up halfway as she climbed out of bed. The dream changed when he allowed himself to drift back into rest, turning more esoteric, less sensible. By the time he surfaced again and sat up in bed both dreams were fading back into the ether, and he took a deep, bracing breath. Still more asleep than awake he grumbled a brief, wordless greeting to Iris and shuffled into the bathroom. He splashed cold water on his face and bent down to drink right from the spigot, then scrubbed his skin dry with a towel before he looked in the mirror. His hair was askew and in need of attention, but of considerably more import to him was the single long strand of red hair clinging to his shirt.

    He plucked it off and held it up, peering at it in confusion. When had--how? He dropped it in the sink and splashed more water on his face, then shed his clothes (they felt downright crusty at this point) and stepped into the shower to freshen up. He emerged thirty minutes later with a towel wrapped around his waist and another around his shoulders, obscuring most of his body; the fresh scar on his waist was visible, though already considerably faded. Another along his spine was much more apparent, though he didn't give her much of a chance to see it as he registered that, while he had been in the bathroom, breakfast had appeared on the table. He couldn't sit down and eat in a towel. "One minute," he grunted, bending down over his luggage to dig out a fresh shirt, pants, and skivvies, then ducked back into the bathroom to get dressed. He emerged in loose khaki pants and a faded tee that had the words 'FAVORITE BAND' stamped on it in Aurbesh lettering.

    "You've been busy," he observed as he sat next to her, his hair still damp and clinging closer to his head. He threw a glance at the computer, expecting a message indicator light, but there was nothing. He shrugged that off mentally; either the hotel would reach out or they wouldn't. He was much more interested in Iris, and smiled at her before looking down at the array of breakfast food. "What's all this? Did you order more clothes? I suppose that makes sense." He helped himself to a slice of toast, hot like it was still out of the toaster, and spread some of the complimentary jam--the flavor was some kind of berry blend, he didn't know or care what--and took a large bite. "How'd you sleep?" he asked around a mouthful of bread, looking at her again, once more smiling automatically.
     
  20. Sunshine Kitti

    Sunshine Kitti Every light casts a shadow Member

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    Iris hadn't meant to, but she had almost stopped everything once she realized that Michael was up and about. She watched him shuffle to and fro, disappearing into the bathroom for quite some time, then again when he realized that he needed to get dressed. It was only then that she remembered that she had to do the same, and she forced herself to turn back to the small wardrobe laid before her. She had to make some sort of decision. She had to do something for herself at some point.

    It was the least that she could do.

    But she still found herself stumped, even as Michael came back to join her and helped himself to the offerings that had been set up on the dinette table. She had just chosen a handful of things; toast with jam, a small assortment of meats that sounded familiar but sort of all looked the same, a cheese plate with accompanying fruits, and a shortstack of pancakes bejewled with fresh berries, powdered sugar and whipped cream.

    She peered up at him and found herself smiling too. Even with his mouth full, there was something charming about him-- refreshed and mild-mannered. It was almost easy to forget the events of the day before. ...Almost.

    "I wanted to make up for lost time," she said, clasping her hands in her lap. "You didn't get to do anything yesterday, and... Well, I want you to be able to use your vacation for an actual vacation." She beamed a little. "And I'm sure you didn't get a chance to eat anything yesterday either, so I made sure to order plenty for you to choose from."

    Actually, now that she had mentioned the food, she realized that she could smell it. And it was strange; she realized that it was something that she had not recently considered. The way things smelled never really registered in her mind, but now that she was thinking about it, she was noticing that the air had a certain aroma to it. She inhaled again, this time closing her eyes to try and make sense of it.

    "...Everything is so... different now," she murmured, mostly to herself. But when she realized she had spoken allowed, she stiffned and turned back to Michael. "I-in a good way, I mean. I... didn't realize that I couldn't smell things before. I... never thought about it."

    She ran a hand through her hair, tucking it behind her ear. "I want to see more of Monero... More of the things you wanted to show me before things went... wrong." She cleared her throat. "But I'm not sure what any of that would be. I want to do the things that you want to do." She tucked her knees beneath herself on the couch, looking at him expectantly. "What do you normally do when you come here? If I wasn't here, where would you go?"
     

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