Redemption

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illirica
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Re: Redemption

Post by illirica » Tue May 08, 2018 6:53 pm

Morgan shrugged. "Why, of course I'd an apron. I'd hate to get any stains on my clothes," he commented, absent mindedly stirring his impressive pot of chili. "I know it isn't exactly high cuisine, but it sure will satisfy your appetite, if you're hungry." He turned to Karana, letting his chili sit. "I still don't fully understand. Why are you here?" He crossed his arms. "I'm not saying I don't want you here, but you aren't the type I'd expect to see in this kind of work. There has to be some reason you're here, I doubt it is for the money..."
"How delightfully pedestrian," Karana said with an amused smile - although whether her comment referred to the apron or the cuisine was anyone's guess. Feeling a bit pedestrian herself, she reached back to shift herself up on the counter, although despite her choice of locale, her posture was impeccable.

"It may sound trite, but my reasons for being here are actually quite simple. I want to broaden my horizons. I have experience enough with boardrooms and meeting rooms, with finances and stocks and accounting..." She shrugged a shoulder, dismissive. "But most of what I encounter there is expected. Everything is planned - board meeting at nine, consultation at ten, review at eleven, and so on. I was looking to improve my experience in dealing with situations that are unexpected. Your Nine-Tailed Fox... let us just say I would be very surprised if everything goes as expected. I look forward to the challenge of it."

Indeed, it had proven unexpected already. Shade was... unforseen, a race Karana didn't know about, obviously out of her element, and handling her was going to prove an interesting challenge to take on. The rest of the crew, while Karana hadn't yet had much opportunity to debrief them, all seemed incredibly diverse, and she thought she would learn far more about managing interpersonal relations by the end of the mission than she would have in twice the time at a more staid corporation. "What about you?" she inquired, discreetly, "You strike me as... someone who's too far in to all this for it to be just about money. A man like you could get a mercenary-esque position anywhere, I should think. Why here? Why this? Why you, Morgan Blackwell?"

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Re: Redemption

Post by Quirbles » Tue May 08, 2018 11:07 pm

Jax's hand reflexively tightened its grip around the neck of the vodka bottle and grew dangerously close to cracking and smashing the glass in his palm; he resisted the urge to do so, however, opting instead to raise the container to his mouth and down the rest of the bottle's contents. Not that it would have an effect on whatever the hell was boring a hole in his fuckin' skull. His orange eyes stared through the cloud of pain and focused on Chellis' own, trying to peer past the tar-like coloration and facade of an expression. He knew Silwin; always something beneath the surface, always an ulterior motive behind those black fuckin' marbles. His hatred relaxed once a pained expression made its way across Chellis' face. A subtle smirk, in turn, made its way across Jax's.

Does it hurt? Feeling the way I feel?

Apparently, the Silwin didn't take to sarcasm too well. Truthfully, he shouldn't have expected much; the smirk faded from his face and was once again replaced with an impassive stare. For a moment, the two simply looked at one another, ending with Chellis tilting her head to the side and flashing another one of those smiles his way. It made his stomach— if he had one, which was probably the case— turn over on itself. Was it fake, or genuine? He didn't know, and that's what irked him. The Silwin made another inquiry on his condition, specifically how he was feeling. Around her.

I feel like getting the fuck away from you.

"No, not uncomfortable at all." Jax stated, a small smile making its way onto his face.

Could probably use a psychiatrist, though.

"Regarding the whole shrink business, I think I'm good." He said curtly. It was a blatant lie, all of it. Still, he betrayed his inner thoughts by keeping his expression stone-faced. In reality, the thing that was best for him was to simply talk to somebody about his problems and the damned dreams that kept assaulting his mind whenever he tried to rest; he was much to proud for that, however, and kept it all bottled up. It had been that way ever since he was activated, and it'd stay that way if he had any say in it. The act of confiding with another, showing compassion was a display of vulnerability and, subsequently, weakness. It was a belief that was pushed upon him forcefully on the Frontier, and it was one he had always retained.

The last God-damn thing I need is somebody in my head.

"I'll tell you what, though. You need a charity case, you're barking up the wrong tree; she's the one you're lookin' for," Jax deflected in a low whisper, gesturing to the once-cuffed woman idling at one of the counters.

"Though I think somebody already beat you to her." The Conscious finished, referring to the woman who was currently tied in conversation with Morgan. The one that shot him the glare on the ship. He chuckled to himself nervously. Chellis' effect on his mind was unnerving, to say the least, and he wanted to leave. Desperately. The alcohol was also catching up on him, giving him an uncomfortable warmth in his stomach that only seemed to feel worse alongside the tendrils poking around his mind.

"Any other questions on your mind?" He asked, his hubris too great to stop him from politely telling her to fuck off and then leaving himself. The pain had faded, replaced with an odd feeling that would've made the hairs on his neck stand on end if he had any.
Last edited by Quirbles on Thu May 10, 2018 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Redemption

Post by LunaHawk » Thu May 10, 2018 5:07 am

Haed felt out of place in a room where food was being prepared for people who actually ate food. She considered doing the whole eating food thing herself, she was biologically capable of it but it served no purpose other than to enjoy taste. Glancing into the kitchen, she wasn't so sure about the taste bit, not this time. Instead she remained close to Karana, who seemed to think she should be following her around.

She wondered about that for a moment. If she thought she should follow her around and she did follow her around, what did that mean? Well maybe in this instance it meant trying to at least pretend to associate with the men and women she would be calling team members. She glanced around quietly, realizing for the first time she was now in the largest rooms she had been in for decades with the most people. In some it might inspire fear and panic, but in her...

Haed considered everyone quietly and wondered what exactly she felt, besides the obvious unending desire to consume everyone here that is. She shifted her position, ensuring her back was towards a corner. She didn't even notice she did it, it simply came with being a Time Siphon. This large of a gathering back home would have been exceedingly tense, Time Siphons rarely got a long well, at least not for long periods of time. She considered the conversation Karan was engaged in.

"I think no one is here because of all the other options they have." Haede said after a moment. "Mercenary included."

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Re: Redemption

Post by Azra » Thu May 10, 2018 11:15 am

Priority one had been to abandon casual fatigues and uniforms handed out to someone being trafficked to jump into the navy blue suit of hers. Fitting like a glove and almost more comfortable to be in then nothing at all. A life time of growing up and training in the dress as she called it made it feel more like apart of her then she would almost swear her own body. Which she knew didn't make sense, her blood and organs obviously was her not the suit, but it didn't feel like that was the case. Once dressed proper and relieved she might have a room to herself thanks to alien nature of others making not everyone want or need a room it was time for research.

Every monitor and device she had was brought up, every file she had access to dipped into. She wasn't a politician she wasn't going to talk down any drug lords or politicians. She wasn't some spy who could learn the blue prints of all the pretty buildings to sneak into and how best to perform such a task. She was all about piloting and engineering for the military. She knew vehicles and guns, she knew the delicate software and the armor classes of much of the galaxy. It was her job to know what was shooting at her and how to break it. Could spend a life time of studying however and not know it all. That was where research came in, if their was any information out there on what to expect on New Vegas and of the planet threatening opposition Viv wanted to know it. Buried behind her PDA the pilot had paid her surroundings little mind as she went off to visit her baby.

By the time dinner was being served Viv was in the cafeteria. A large emerald cylindrical attachment was set beside her as she went over to grab a bowl of food. She joined the others as if they were just any other squad at a table, so accustomed to the mix of topics and faces that it didn't bother her. Granted maybe that was rudely received by others. To assume she just had a spot, to bring toys to the table, for now however if that was the case it went right over her head. Rather with a spoon she stirred the bowl with one hand and her other tampered with the Arm Cannon of her mech suit. From a pouch on her hip she occasionally dropped a different battery or magazine or so on. The weapon would change and reconfigure to adjust to the ammunition. Viv easily just finding herself between food tech research and crew just in a state of relaxed comfort.

"I'm all for the mission actually. This is what I do, well none of it's ever been save a planet sort granted." Maybe Viv just didn't consider all the options she might have. She did disagree though with the creepy prison chick however, this felt entirely like the option to say yes to for the soldier. "Sorry for interrupting sir." Morgan seemed like he would be in charge of missions and with that Viv tried to catch herself and step in line, soon taking a bite. The heat didn't really get to her to much electric blue eyes briefly sparking before she began consuming more, she was clean and polite about it that said her bites were also quick. A lifestyle of expecting to need to return to a mission or project double time, leading to her being able to enjoy a meal but not exactly savor a moment.

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Re: Redemption

Post by Annasiel » Mon May 14, 2018 12:30 am

"I am not a shrink, and I didn't mean-" Chellis began to protest, but her words cut off and her lips pursed light. There was no real point in arguing. Talking to Jax, for all intents and purposes, was like running headfirst into a brick wall. Not just for his apparent stubbornness (in fact, stubbornness was something she had grown used to handling in the medical field), but for the pain that ended each and every start. It was like every sentence she spoke only made him... madder? More miserable? He could be elated for all she knew, or feeling some emotion that was so alien, so foreign, the only way it could register was as this indescribably irritating buzz.

At the mention of the one called Shade, her mind momentarily wandered from the wall and its wiles, instead reminiscing on that feeling she had felt before. Hunger. Bloodlust. A predator's eyes. Jax was right, in a way; Shade did feel as though she needed some kind of help. But Chellis very much didn't want to be the one to give it.

"She scares me," she admitted to Jax. Maybe if she were open, he'd act more open. Shared vulnerability was a wonderful tactic in engaging empathy, she'd found, and worked well on those who were nervous or on edge. Besides, it helped to bring up the intense aura of dangerous hunger she felt from the odd creature, even noticeable from across the room, before she hurt anyone here. As far as Chellis knew, she was the only one of the crew who had an inkling of the full danger she posed, an insight at the monster lurking beneath, and from what she could tell, Shade was more liability than resource. Crews were built on mutual trust and understanding, something an individual bathed in violence could hardly hope to give.

And hardly be vigilant to give it to.

"Every time I pass her, I feel as though I'm in danger," she continued, glancing at the woman from over her shoulder and quickly looking away. "It may be wrong of me to say this... I am hardly the one to bring dissent to a group... but I would not trust her."

Just as I have trouble trusting you, though you seem far less of an immediate danger. More a roadblock.

She breathed deeply, running her fingers up and down her forearms, a faint sense of anxiety appearing on her face. Not small enough to be imperceptible, but not large enough to be deliberate.

"On the topic of dissent, your passive-aggressive hostility is unwarranted. I've done nothing to wrong you," she said to Jax, then immediately regretted it. Careful words are well-spoken, words in impulse often broken. The situation and all involved were beginning to get under her skin, leading her to drop caution in favor of impulse, never a good path to take.
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Re: Redemption

Post by Quirbles » Mon May 14, 2018 4:10 pm

"She scares me."

Jax raised a brow ridge in surprise at the Silwin's confession. Of all the things he expected her to say, a declaration of fear wasn't one of them. It seemed... genuine enough, he supposed— well, enough for him to consider responding back with his own concerns. He patiently waited for her to finish her point, arms crossed as she talked at a length about hunger-girl's apparent bestial disposition. Jax's expression of relative smugness faded to one of soberness as he realized the consequences of her empathic abilities; not only could Chellis detect the once-shackled woman's emotions, but she could feel them. Just as she could feel his anger, he suspected, given the pained expression that had often made its way onto her face at points during their conversation.

"It may be wrong of me to say this... I am hardly the one to bring dissent to a group... but I would not trust her."

Jax gave a grunted chuckle in response, shaking his head.

"You don't have to tell me, sweetheart. Eyes— eyes are how you can tell, sometimes. Hers look like a damn animal's." He muttered, closing his own eyes for a moment and breathing out. Sounds faded from view and thoughts within his mind faded to an omnipresent darkness; before he could react and open his eyes, it was too late.

Darkness.

The high-pitched whine that had been present throughout Chellis' and Jax's conversation had muted itself entirely, leaving nothing but an anxiety-inducing thrum that resonated throughout his entire being. Limbs moved with a drugged slowness and senses felt dulled, if not entirely cast aside. It was a pool of darkness, a black void that consumed his body entirely. He didn't know where he was, who he was.

The black void twisted around him, warping into scenery and transitioning to a lighter hue. Black went to grey; grey went to white, and this white soon shaped itself into walls and floors, circular chambers large enough to fit a human slowly morphing into existence. J4X fell to the tiled floor. He knew where he was.

Home.

White cloth was draped across his body in a robed fashion; the metal he'd grafted onto his body for extra protection was gone, replaced with the stark-white sheen of his bare skin. He felt lighter, if not younger somehow. The Conscious looked around the room for a moment, studying the chambers around him. On the other side of the clear observational glass built into the tubes were his fellow kin, eyes closed and dormant. Peaceful, almost. Not one of these chambers were opened, save the one behind him; shards of broken glass had scattered onto the white floor, almost invisible in the light among the polished tiles. The Conscious turned to face the chamber behind him, shifting his body to view the smashed-open viewport.

Within it was the shapeless black void, metamorphosed into a human form. It sat completely still, its arms crossed along its chest in the same manner as the dormant Conscious he'd seen; he recognized it from the earlier vision, within the inn. Alarmed, J4X moved from his sitting position and stood up only to fall back down, his legs refusing to work correctly and leaving him vulnerable. Arms grabbed at the smooth tile and attempted to pull him away. Orange eyes shifted in panic to look at the featureless being within the chamber he'd emerged from.

"Get away from me," The Conscious breathed out, the tone shaking in an indescribable sense of terror. If the void had eyes, it stared at him for a moment.

I'VE DONE NOTHING TO WRONG YOU

The high-pitched whine crescendoed in an instant.

Jax's eyes snapped opened and he stumbled full force this time, quickly catching his balance on the edge of the counter and frantically looking around the room. No black being, no white room... no pyramids. Just the Silwin, the high-pitched ring in his mind, and the cafeteria. He looked back to Chellis with frightened eyes, forcing himself to calm. Don't show anything. She's in your mind. Don't show anything.

"You're in my head, Chellis, and I don't quite enjoy your presence. And on top of it, these damn dreams, I can't—"

Jax paused, not daring to tell any further. Don't show—

"I'm losing control of my damn body, so excuse me if I'm a little on edge." He whispered, voice sounding as if he'd stated it through gritted teeth if he had any.

Shut the fuck up, Jax.

"I can't—"

Stop.

He paused for a moment, swallowing before opening his mouth again. "I—"

STOP

The Conscious breathed out, closing his eyes for a moment before snapping them back open again. No sleep. No rests. No blinking. He couldn't go back into... wherever he'd gone. Was the Silwin behind this?

"Are you doing this to me?" He asked, tone shaky. He was scared, and his facade of apathy was quickly deteriorating. Jax looked around to the others in the room before staring back at Chellis. His outburst had gone unnoticed, hopefully, seeing as everyone else was preoccupied. Hopefully.

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Re: Redemption

Post by Poetic Ghost » Mon May 14, 2018 4:30 pm

Morgan cocked an eyebrow. “Some new skills, huh? Well, that is quite respectable. I can understand that. Though, this isn’t my team, Miss Shiori. To be totally honest, Nine Tailed Fix belongs to the Hub. I’m just here to oversee this operation. Once it’s over, I can’t guarantee I’ll still be here.” He looked down into his pot of chili and made an uncomfortable. “I’m not going to abandon any of you.. it’s just...” Morgan paused for a moment and shook it off.

“It’s nothing to worry about.” He gave Karana a smile and grabbed the pot by it’s firm handles. The heat was present, but not so intense that he could not hold a grip. He walked from the kitchen to the table and placed the pot in the centre of the table and returned to the kitchen.

"What about you?" she inquired, discreetly, "You strike me as... someone who's too far in to all this for it to be just about money. A man like you could get a mercenary-esque position anywhere, I should think. Why here? Why this? Why you, Morgan Blackwell?"

Morgan intended to answer, and opened his mouth. But as he began to speak, the Time Siphon, Haed, interjected.
"I think no one is here because of all the other options they have." Haede said after a moment. "Mercenary included."

It appeared that the super soldier, Viv had entered the cafeteria and approached him and his conversation. Her presence was not unwelcome. "I'm all for the mission actually. This is what I do, well none of it's ever been save a planet sort granted."

After another moment, she fell back on her military ways, and quickly apologized. “Sorry for interrupting, sir.”

Sir. Morgan hadn’t been called sir in a long time... sure, he had been called it in the formal sense, but never in the way she intended. It was a sign of authority by rank, something he had once held. “No worries, Lionfang. Permission to speak, soldier.” Morgan chuckled lightly and looked back at Karana.

“I’ve got some reasons to do this job... some personal reasons, maybe we can talk about it a bit further after dinner?” Morgan offered the woman, and glanced over her shoulder at her the table, where Captain Rhee had already begun to eat a bowl of his chili, enjoying it thoroughly.

“Well, you all can serve yourselves I think. If you don’t like chili, I think the Captain has some alternatives in the refrigeration unit. I doubt she’d mind.” Morgan addressed the crew, or those who were present.

“By any means, we’ll be arriving at our destination in the morning, so make sure you’re rested and ready. Because once we land, we’re going to start work.”
~~ You are but a grain of sand, in the sands of time. ~~

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Re: Redemption

Post by Annasiel » Mon May 14, 2018 7:12 pm

Jax's response was telling two-fold. One, it let Chellis know he too had an understanding of the Shade girl's danger, that she wasn't alone in outright distrusting her. Two, that (at the very least) his understanding of body language contained common anthropomorphic convention, with the underlying implication that his own movements and expressions followed it as well. Evidence to rely on what she saw. Still irksome, without the added benefit of knowing how he actually felt, but she could hardly blame him for what seemed a product of... whatever he said he was. A Conscious, he'd said? She'd never heard of such a thing before, neither in her stint as a medic nor in her medical training back at the Symposium.

The whine's pitch fell, and Jax went limp.

It surprised Chellis at first. She hadn't expected - how could she - not so suddenly, so quickly. She'd been trained to be ready to use her skills at all times, but that was mainly an extension of handling stress and reacting to emergent combat situations. Individuals rarely froze, without warning, in the middle of a relatively normal conversation. The shock didn't last long, though, and she quickly moved forward, hands hovering in the air before her, unsure what she had to do but vigilant to do it. Some sort of seizure, perhaps? A stroke? A mechanical malfunction, if he truly was as machine as he seemed? The last was far, far beyond her expertise, and far away from anything she hoped to solve.

He still seemed conscious, though his eyes were shut, and his mouth was stretched into a cold grimace. This she'd seen before. Not in this form, not from this species, but in the faces of hundreds of war-tainted refugees that had passed through her clinic's door. Rigid poses, dissociation, and an indescribable negative response. Post-traumatic stress. If it was what she assumed, there was little she could do but keep him safe and comfortable until the episode passed. She glanced to the others in the mess hall. They hadn't noticed yet, which was probably for the best. If his condition worsened, she would call for help, but acting on present beliefs that might only cause embarrassment.

And if he dies, because you decided to jump to conclusions? You haven't worked on whatever he is. You don't know how his ailments manifest.

Now that the noise was gone, maybe she could try and discern an inkling of what he felt. She leaned in closer, trying to see if she could sense-

HUMMMMMMMM.

The buzz returned in full force, even louder than before. Chellis reeled back, her hands instinctively pressing against her ears, though there was no sound to hear. Even so, when she pulled her palms away, she fully expected to see blood. That was the least of her concerns. Jax had stumbled, catching himself on the edge of the counter, and his eyes were now open - terrified and wide - staring at her.

"You're in my head, Chellis, and I don't quite enjoy your presence. And on top of it, these damn dreams, I can't—" he said, then paused. She didn't move from her spot. Dreams? Flashbacks, perhaps. And, from the way he mentioned them, episodic. "I'm losing control of my damn body, so excuse me if I'm a little on edge."

Chellis frowned, concern filling her eyes. No sign of the earlier curiosity, nor the blank observance. Only concern.

He babbled for a time, starting sentences only to cut them short, then finally spoke after stilling himself with a deep breath.

"Are you doing this to me?"

Not for the first time since they started speaking, she seemed taken aback. It was entirely plausible, considering how alien his surface physiology and perceived emotional states were to her. She didn't want to say this, though, instead carefully closing the already short distance between them. She reached out with the back of her hand, intending to feel his forehead. Working on instinct. Operating on what she knew.

"I don't know what is causing it," she admitted. "But I will help you. You are not alone."

At that, she smiled again. Not the saccharine greeting from before, made to show she meant no harm, but sadder. More genuine.
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Re: Redemption

Post by Quirbles » Tue May 15, 2018 3:20 am

It had to be the Silwin.

The visions had only started when she approached him, and they were never this intense. When he closed his eyes to sleep, they were always abstract; images of white and black, monochrome and blurred to keep his mind from fully processing whatever his subconscious had created. Now, they were almost real. He felt the rigid glass beneath his knees in that hallucination, just as he had felt the damp warmth of blood that had pooled beneath his body in the previous one. Chellis reached out a hand and the Conscious retreated in return, raising up a palm of his own and looking away.

"Don't— touch me." Jax stated shakily, his voice rushed as he more or less scampered to his feet. He was trying not to make too much of a scene, but it was a little hard not to when the etched symbols upon his bare arms began to glow a dim red. They burned, horribly; as if somebody had taken a poker and jammed it in the shape of each small sign upon his forearms and biceps. Ignoring the pain, the Conscious' eyes snapped to Chellis for a moment, lingering long enough for her to see terror in his eyes.

"Stay— stay away— stay out of my—" He tried to speak coherently, failing as he blinked in order to keep his vision steady. An acute sense of nausea settled into his stomach and refused to evacuate, almost bringing him to the point of vomiting— whether he could even do that or not, he didn't know— and as Jax opened his eyes from the split-second of darkness, the blackened figure from earlier stood behind the Silwin, head cocked to the side. The Conscious ceased all movement and stood dreadfully still for a moment, eyes trained on the figure with a horrified expression lingering upon his face; another blink and it was gone, the scene of Morgan and others chatting taking the silhouette's place.

I'm losing my fucking mind.

Jax steadied himself against the counter and breathed out, eyes scanning the room for any sign of whatever the hell had begun to appear to him. It wasn't just in his dreams, now, it was real, tangible, and it wasn't stopping until it got what it wanted. What the fuck it want? The buzzing, the fucking buzzing in his ears, the God-damn pit in his stomach—

"For the first time in my life, I think I'm going to fucking vomit." Jax muttered, quickly moving past the Silwin and others with a hurried gait as he exited the cafeteria and made his way down the hallway, finding the nearest bathroom and swinging open the door before stumbling to the sink and emptying the contents of his stomach into it, turning the handles for water flow as he did so. Clear liquid— undoubtedly the vodka— mixed with a dark crimson that languidly flushed down along with the rushing water.

Funny. He didn't remember having anything besides alcohol.

"If this is what dying feels like, I'm glad I'm fuckin' immortal." Jax mumbled to himself, retching for a second time but finding that nothing came out. He shook his head and let out a shiver despite the uncomfortable warmth in his chest and head. His head was clearer now that the Silwin was absent, allowing for some unobstructed thought. Whatever freakout he had in the mess hall, it wasn't going to happen again. Thank God only Chellis saw, as far as he knew. Could he trust her? Was she really the enemy? Had she given him the hallucinations?

He didn't know, and it scared him.

Jax turned off the water flow and wiped his mouth, undoubtedly feeling a lot shittier than he had a few minutes ago. He breathed out, not even daring to shut his eyes, and made his way back to the mess hall. He'd only been gone for about 20 seconds, so it wasn't hard to find the Silwin again.

"Sorry about that. Upset stomach. Or... chest. Whatever I have." He found the need to joke, and did so as he talked to the Silwin; however, the half-assed smile on his face faded. A look of fear replaced it. He looked into empty space for a moment as he debated his words, then met Chellis' eyes with his own.

"I'm scared. I don't know what's happening to me, and I'm freaking the hell out. We'll— talk about this later. Not in front of everyone." He stated candidly, seeing as she had done the same with him. No hatred. No feelings of ill will; for the first time, he'd spoken the truth.

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Re: Redemption

Post by illirica » Wed May 16, 2018 12:33 am

"I'd love to talk later, Morgan" Karana assured the captain, with a pleasant smile. She followed him out to the tables as well, picking up a bowl from the stack and ladling a little bit of chili in to it from the pot. A teaspoon stirred the contents before she tasted a little bite, thoughtfully. "It's not bad," she acknowledged. "Much better than the apron," she added, with a gesture in the direction of the aforementioned garment with the tip of the spoon.

She'd teased him earlier about the food being pedestrian, and it was, but at the same time Karana had been raised in space, meeting with important people from all over the galaxy. She'd sampled plenty of stranger things than this, and a large part of dinner-party diplomacy was having a strong stomach and the ability to eat just about anything politely. She drew the line at things that were meant to be eaten while living - those little polyps that looked like an anemone with an eyeball in the middle from Sartoria IV were just too strange. Other than that... well, her culinary experiences were multifaceted. Chili was relatively tame. Flavorful, nicely spiced. A little protein-heavy for her general tastes.

She would never, of course, admit that she occasionally rather liked pedestrian food. It would be unbecoming. She made sure to give Haed an encouraging smile, and an amused "Try some. You said you could eat normally. Think of food as art for the palate. There are more kinds of nourishment than the life-sustaining kind." Certainly, the Time Siphon could reduce the contents of the pot - and the pot itself - to ash and rust in an instant, but that wouldn't broaden her horizons any - and likely it would annoy the rest of the crew. Most species regarded the sharing of food as a bonding experience - Karana thought the Nine Tailed Fox could use some bonding experiences. They would need to work well together when they got there - and the best way to ensure that was to make sure they worked well together before they got there.

Karana would try to facilitate a smooth transition to that future state as best she could. There would be meetings, and mediation, and all those things. For now, there was chili.

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