Solitude

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Annasiel
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Solitude

Post by Annasiel » Thu May 24, 2018 6:13 am

<Sable Aronowitz>
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Image
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Day 1, 1800 Hours - Networking Lab
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The steady whir of eight-tracks in a server array. Lights flashing red and green on the front of consoles, like some kind of utilitarian Christmas lights. Not that Sable had ever celebrated Christmas. She'd seen the Copts in her office get excited when January rolled around, decking out their cubicle halls with little paper-mache crafts and icons, but she'd hardly had the chance or time to care about any of their silly customs. All customs like that were silly. It wasn't like she prepared for Seder, or lit the candles for Hanukkah. They were relics of the past, best left in rotting old tomes where they belonged, so the people of the modern day could focus on things that actually mattered.

No, the color of the lights didn't give Sable a single degree of comfort in the cramped, hot cabin, nor did the sounds of technology themselves, though that was much closer to sentimentality than silly little holiday things could ever be. It did sound a lot like her office back on Earth, but she didn't care. Familiarity was for the weak and foolish. There was no chance in the world she would let herself feel homesick, especially not when she'd just arrived on this station just an hour prior. She was the first to arrive, the little face on the CRT had chirped when she first stepped foot on Morpheus, and the second would be coming shortly. That was all she knew about the person she was supposed to be working with alone for two years. That they existed, and that they were coming. Fingers crossed that they aren't an absolute imbecile.

Sable slid a piece of paper across her cramped, somewhat rickety desk, tired eyes trying tp scan the instructions line by line. So many instructions. So many directions. Not just on paper, but on little cassettes littered about the offices, or stored deep in wherever the AI's mainframe was located. This was obviously a huge operation, just going by the size of the station itself. It was massive. The size of an entire research building, just yearning to be staffed with a full academic body, but dealt a hand of only two. And why?

Profit margins, she thought to herself, and sniggered internally. Administrations anywhere found ways to cut the costs any way they could, especially in pursuits not deemed profitable. If this was some kind of dead-end research stop, it'd make sense for them to downsize the team, cut off parts of the satellite to preserve power, and leave a shit-ton of work for just a few people. She saw it all the time back at- no. She wasn't going to think about home. She wasn't going to get homesick. She was just going to focus on getting settled, reading all the documents, and waiting for her faceless associate to arrive at God-knows-when.

"Hello!" shouted a static-filled, muffled voice from the speakers above. "Transport vessel inbound!"

Speak of the devil. Anything to break this irksome isolation. Sable rose from her chair, stretched her legs, and head off for the docking bay.
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Re: Solitude

Post by Quirbles » Thu May 24, 2018 3:08 pm

It was more like a coffin than a transport vessel.

It would have been ironic— almost comically so— if people saw a high-altitude pilot getting uncomfortable at the thought of entering a small spacecraft, but people were ignorant to the minutiae of flying. In the seat of an SR-71, she had control. Control brought comfort. Comfort brought a cool head, and a cool head meant that she'd get back alive. The vehicles that she commandeered had wings, tangible equipment that she could reach out and use at her disposal. The shuttle that Blair sat in was a glorified shipping container that drifted through the cold expanse of space with little more than an automated program and weak propulsion to help arrive at its destination. If anything went wrong, this claustrophobic box would be the last thing she ever found herself in; so that's what it registered as in Blair's mind. A coffin.

Pieces of nondescript equipment had been piled around her seat, mechanical passengers that were taking the same journey she was. After observing the machinery for a short while she realized that the entirety of the cabin had been stripped down to make room for ship-related instruments and circuitry. Related to the automation, she assumed, seeing as an intelligent autopilot was a relatively hard thing to accomplish in spacecraft. The only seat in the entire shuttle was the one Blair found herself in, and that was the most disconcerting part of her situation. God, she hoped there were a lot of people up on the station; that, and she hoped they were as sociable as she was. Two years on a space station was hard enough, Goddamn it, and if she was alone long enough she'd probably go insane and kill herself— that's what they should publish studies on. She'd always read about sending one twin into space and leaving the other on Earth, growing different plants in space, but never about how the astronauts fared psychologically. It'd be an interesting read, at the very least.

A small beep from the shuttle's intercom notified the sole passenger of its docking procedure. Blair never understood the need for artificial intelligence and automation— sure, it was helpful in some cases, but she felt that there was always something better about using people. People were wiser, she reasoned, and were risk-takers. Risk, after all, is what leads to victory. Computers don't take risks. They beep and then they fuckin' die when you pour water on them. Humans were living, breathing. They react, and they notice things that machines can't. Because of that, people were invaluable. Society owed automation to candy-asses who couldn't stand to sacrifice a human life, and now everyone's been paying the price for it; no wonder she couldn't find work. All her job opportunities had been taken by a fuckin' robot.

Angrily sighing at her thought tangent, Blair propped up her toolkit and luggage bag before standing up from her seat as the airlock door hissed for a moment, filling with breathable air before opening itself up to the cabin. The pilot stepped through the small passageway and set foot on smooth, grated metal. The Morpheus, a highly advanced space station designed to support an extensive crew for years on end.

So where the fuck was everyone?
The D is silent, hillbilly.

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Re: Solitude

Post by Annasiel » Thu May 24, 2018 7:17 pm

Though she had a relatively decent sense of direction, navigating the labyrinthine halls of the near-abandoned station was still a chore. Grey blended into grey, with the same dark wires looping overhead in various directions, the same square doors and the same sharp struts in the walls. The only thing to break the monotonous uniformity was the occasional alcove, hub, or signage above a door. Could they kill to put in some kind of color? Nothing garish, but enough contrast to actually make different places seem... well... different. She found herself in a room that seemed to be some sort of kitchen (useful to remember for later), backtracked, and eventually caught sight of one of the sparce actually helpful signs.

Docking->

Surely her associate had to be here by now. Unless she was sitting in her shuttle like a dunce, waiting for someone to come and show her the way. Sable was somewhat ashamed to admit she'd done the same thing, not realizing when she'd first arrived that the station was completely, utterly empty. Sighing, she opened the door.

Ah, there she was. At least she wasn't waiting in the shuttle.

"Welcome to Morpheus," Sable said, her voice dry and tinged with a slight accent. "If you come with me, I'll show you around as best I am able. I only arrived here a small while ago myself, so don't expect anything in-depth, you'll have to figure that out on your own."

The newcomer had bright red hair, bright blue eyes, and several inches on Sable. A woman, thankfully. Being alone with a man would have been immensely uncomfortable. Not that being alone with this girl would be any less uncomfortable, but at least she could afford to relax a little for the time being. Not waiting for her new partner to reply, not even bothering to introduce herself or ask for a name, Sable turned heel through the door, obviously expecting the woman to follow.
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Re: Solitude

Post by Quirbles » Thu May 24, 2018 11:09 pm

As if on cue for her earlier statement, a small woman turned 'round a corner and stared at her with what she assumed to be a horrible case of resting bitch face. Blair returned the expression with a fake smile made genuine by her years of acting in high school. Pinch the eyes, open the mouth slightly; that's how she knew how to do it, at least, and whether or not it fooled her crew-mate wasn't of much importance. The small woman seemed busy, to say the least, and carried herself in such a way that made it look as if she didn't want to be the one giving introductions. She spoke with a slight accent, too. A foreigner. Probably hated Americans, right? Well, most people hated Americans [even Americans], so that wasn't especially unique.

"... you'll have to figure that on your own."

The pilot closed her eyes, the smile still stuck on her face. "Good thing I'm the curious type, then. Name's—"

Opened eyes revealed that she was talking to the space within the center of the hallway junction rather than a human. Oh. She isn't there now.

"—Blair. Name's Blair. Nice to meet you, I guess." The pilot trailed off, rubbing the back of her head at the absence of the crew-mate. Was she supposed to follow her? She was, wasn't she? Shit. Blair bent down slightly and hauled her toolkit and baggage forward, boots slamming off of the metal floor as she caught up with her curt crew-mate. The pilot examined the architecture of the station with a perplexed interest, wanting to know how everything worked above anything else. She'd done maintenance on space probes in her earlier years within the USAF due to a project involving NASA, but nothing ever this... big. The station was a monolith, and the thought of repairing anything seemed downright daunting to the redhead. Thank God she wasn't the only mechanic here. Hopefully.

"So. You haven't murdered the rest of the crew and hid their bodies in inappropriate locations, right? There are other people here?" Blair joked, hoping to lighten the mood with a bit of dark humor. Wait, now that she thought about it, this girl didn't seem like the humorous type. More like... overly religious Aunt? Childhood in Glasgow brought back memories, specifically how Aunt O'Connor had always been a bitch at the family reunions. Stopping excessive drinking, generally being the "fun police" and all that. This woman reminded her of that. Fun police. The perfect descriptor. She didn't even need to know her name.
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Re: Solitude

Post by Annasiel » Fri May 25, 2018 6:42 am

"Dr. Sable Aronowitz," Sable said in response to Blair's delayed introduction, not bothering to turn over her shoulder, slow down, or even wait for the other woman to catch up. Formalities, much like traditions, were often weighted with the plush frivolities of social custom. She stopped in front of an unmarked door, spun around with her hands on her hips, and glared. Blair, she'd called herself. An American too, it seemed, though that didn't hold a degree of merit or disdain to Sable. It wasn't who you are or where you were from. It was how well you could get the job done. And this girl, with her naive smile and idiotic jokes, was seeming more and more like an airheaded dipshit with every passing second.

Maybe she was uncomfortable, and just trying to diffuse the tension of being a newcomer. It was a realistic thought to consider. On the plus, she might actually be able to pull her own weight, and was just putting on this facade due to being a fish out of water. On the minus, Sable's vindictive judgements would be rendered petty. It was difficult deciding which outcome was less desirable.

"I have murdered no one, and there is no one. Did you not read your briefing papers?" she snapped, waggling her finger condescendingly. "We are a two person replacement crew who-"

Oh. There was no way she could have read the briefing papers. They were here, on the station. Sable had gone in blind as well, and only had the advantage she had because she'd arrived earlier.

Oh well.

"-are to continue the research of the previous," Sable finished, only hitching a little at her realization. Perhaps Blair would think she hadn't gotten the briefing papers, overlooked them somehow, or maybe didn't care at all. Yes, all of those options would be preferable.

A half-breath pause. Sable pointed at the unmarked door.

"This is the water closet."
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Re: Solitude

Post by Quirbles » Fri May 25, 2018 2:04 pm

To put it simply, Blair would rather be smashing her head against a wall than be nagged by a woman shorter than her. For a small woman, she had quite the ego; Blair had seen a variety different people in her life, and there were always people like this bitch. Complacent and unendingly condescending. The prospect of Doctor Aronowitz being her only crew-mate on the ship was... horrifyingly awful, to say the least. Unironically wagging fingers at others was a major red flag, and it was one reserved for old hags that taught middle-school and actual witches. Not that this woman didn't fit either description seamlessly. Well, besides being old.

Blair crossed her arms as the witch told a blatant lie to her face about briefing papers. To be that aggressive in scolding and barely break a stride in when you were wrong was... almost morbidly fascinating. The redhead now understood why Sable was up here to begin with; everybody was so sick of her fuckin' attitude that they shot her up into space where she couldn't bother anyone. Of course Blair had to be the one stuck with her.

McLoughlin had already done a hefty amount of research into Tyche and their offer, and nobody had ever mentioned a word about briefing papers. The mission and its nature was, until she set foot on this station, completely unknown to her. She suspected this was the same case for Sable. So why was the doctor scolding her about something neither or them knew? Did she want to flex her superiority that hard? All that nagging for a fucking bathroom introduction? What the fuck?

Blair raised up a hand. The temptation to argue was too much.

"Hold— hold on," The redhead stated, chuckling slightly. It was more a laugh of wanting to kill herself out of frustration than actual humor.

"I remember a lot of things about Tyche, particularly the asshole evaluators, but not one thing about briefing papers. So just—"

She paused for a moment. Not worth it. Just let it go, Blair.

"— show the the rest of the rooms, please. Then we can just... get out of each other's way. Alright?"
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Re: Solitude

Post by Annasiel » Sat May 26, 2018 5:04 pm

She knows.

Sable swallowed, her throat suddenly feeling a tad bit dry. The prospect of being caught in a lie, however minor, was extremely unpleasant. Especially considering she'd have to spend the next couple years living with whatever consequences might come out of it. While "propriety" in introductions was hardly necessary, impressions in and of themselves, to Sable at least, were the world. Unconsciously straightening her stance in response to Blair's crossed arms, Sable pinned her own at her side, turning almost mechanically on the spot and continuing down the hallway.

"You may not have acquired yours yet," she replied, tone much less sharp than before. She refused to turn and meet Blair's eyes. "There are additional copies on-board, which you may peruse at your disposal."

She almost considered apologizing, but that felt a bit too much. She wasn't in the right, but it wasn't like she was in the wrong either, more of a midway point between justification and failure. Besides, there was no way Blair could know neither of them had gotten their papers. Large administrations often made oversights, and it could have very well been their intention to give briefing documentation to both of them (before they signed the nondisclosure during the shuttle voyage?), and they merely forgot to.

Yes. That was a certain possibility, and the one Sable now intended to stick to.

"Large portions of the station have been closed. It is my assumption this is to conserve energy. I have already checked the grid diagnostics, and these sections are disconnected from both the power supply and the life support," Sable continued, pretending everything before hadn't happened at all. "I would suggest not opening any door with a red light above it-"

She waved her hand demonstratively as they passed one such door.

"-or you may find yourself suffocating or freezing to death."

She rounded another corner, then paused, glancing from side to side. This was a part of the ship she didn't recognize. Had she made a wrong turn again? Certainly not, not with the added pressure of an ignorant jackal pacing behind her, ready to pounce. That little laugh Blair had made before replayed in her head. Trying desperately to orient herself on her tragically underprepared mental map - even with areas cut off, this station was still massive - she spun on her heels and marched purposefully back the way they'd come.

"There's nothing down there," she said. "Nothing you'd need, anyway."
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Re: Solitude

Post by Quirbles » Wed May 30, 2018 12:49 am

Blair steeled herself and continued, outright forcing herself to stop the temptation of breaking out into a fight with Sable. Not even a glance backwards, an acknowledgement of apology or— any emotion at all, besides a stuck-up complacency. God, she wanted to get this over with.

"Large portions of the station have been closed. It is my assumption this is to conserve energy. I have already checked the grid diagnostics, and these sections are disconnected from both the power supply and the life support,"

That was particularly interesting to her. If they were supposed to be a replacement crew, then why weren't they allowed to use the full extent of the station? Being cramped with another person was a quick way to increase resentment among shipmates [though a good portion of hatred had already been cultivated in her, what, five minutes upon the station?], and although she wasn't a stranger to enclosed spaces, the prospect of being limited in her mobility and tasks was annoying. She wanted to explore— to get away from Sable, specifically.

"I would suggest not opening any door with a red light above it— or you may find yourself suffocating or freezing to death."

Well, at least I know there's a quick way to kill myself if you drive me to suicide.

She was so close to saying that out loud. Just to see what the doc's reaction was. Blair didn't want to give her any ideas, however, so she kept the little comment to herself. Silence passed between the two women before the tour came to an abrupt stop around the corner of a hallway. Sable paused for a moment as if to look around, and the pilot raised an eyebrow. Crossing her arms, she patiently waited for her benevolent guide to spout further words of wisdom regarding the station, but nothing came. Finally, the doctor turned on her heels and walked back towards the redhead.

"There's nothing down there," she said. "Nothing you'd need, anyway."

Blair held out an arm in front of Sable to get her to stop, looking further into the hallway with a furrowed brow. No. No, she was gonna indulge herself just this once. Fuck it.

"Nah, I'm gonna look," She stated with a tone of skepticism, withdrawing her limb from the doctor's path and walking past her without as much as a glance in her direction. Blair began examining the infrastructure of the hallway and its respective branches, feigning interest.

"You're welcome to join me, if you haven't been down here before."
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Re: Solitude

Post by Annasiel » Wed May 30, 2018 7:21 am

"Now wait just one-" Sable began, starting backwards and staring at the arm with an incredulous expression, but the absolute dolt of a woman was already worming her sorry way past. If this was the respect with which her directions were going to be treated, then there was absolutely no point in warning her about anything at all. In telling her anything she might need to know, in giving her tips or tricks or - when the jackal opened a locked door and found her on the wrong side of cabin decompression, Sable wasn't going to mourn her one bit.

"Wait, you imbecile!" she shouted after her, running up to head along her shoulder. A bit more wiggle in her hips, a bit longer stride, and she was a pace in front, head tilted back. She managed to make the angle look incredibly condescending, and if anyone told her so, she'd fervently defend its necessity. Situations like these needed a degree of proper condescension. Whack the puppy with the newspaper and they learn to obey.

"Listen here," Sable began. "It would do you well if you learned to listen to what I tell you, or you will certainly end up dead - or worse - more brain dead than you already seem to be. I am senior to you on this vessel, and you haven't read a shred of the documentation they have on board!"

Like the briefing papers?

Sable nearly shuddered at the thought. She made a mental note to hide them, or, better yet, pass them off as copies in the event of some kind of mismanagement. Yes, that would certainly do.

"It obviously becoming my responsibility to keep you from galvanizing off to whatever place you desire, a mindset that will certainly only end in bitter disappointment!"

Head tilted back as it was, her eyes weren't on the path ahead. Her toe slammed into something hard, and - Sable ran smack-dab into a wall. She didn't fall over, though she certainly seemed ready to, balanced precariously on her uninjured foot and vocalizing nonsense in an incredibly disgruntled tone. She glared at Blair, as if to imply it was her fault, then turned to glare at the wall for equal measure.

"I meant to do that."
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Re: Solitude

Post by Quirbles » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:12 pm

Every scolding word that was thrown Blair's way had only served to make the pilot increasingly more agitated with her doctor friend; hell, she considered slapping Sable if only to shut her up for a moment. No, that's wouldn't do— the worst it would do is stun her for a second before she went straight back to flapping her gums again—

Hold on. Did this bitch just call her brain-dead?

Blair stopped in her tracks and halted, not bothering to face Sable as she stared off into the distance. She was practically harnessing every fiber of her being to stop herself from going off on the browbeating hound, opting instead to cross her arms tightly against her chest and grit her teeth. She listened carefully to the woman's words, observing with a contained expression as Sable began to walk directly into a wall. The doctor barely missed a beat before her mouth began to yap again. With her face contorted into an expression of agony, Blair quickly stepped towards the doctor in an attempt to actually get Aronowitz to acknowledge her presence.

"Sable." She said softly, her tone carrying an unbridled sense of malice as she leaned towards her crew-mate.

"If you don't shut your fucking mouth for five minutes, I am going to get angry." Again, her tone was reserved and low in volume.

"I am an engineer. My job here is to fix the ship. For me to do my job correctly, I need to know the fuckin' ship. I can read signs, I know how to navigate a ship, and as far as I'm concerned, the only thing stopping me from doing my my fucking job is you. Now, for the love of God, let me get the layout of this place and work."
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