[The Island] Isolated Pandora [Pa 4.4] [Ga 4.8]

edited November 2012 in In-Game
Pandora. You're coming to but everything is wrong. First of all, you're fighting for consciousness and second of all, you're in a whole lot of pain. You're aware of your existence before you feel your body or are able to command it to move but after a time, you start to gather information about your surroundings. It's dark. You're lying on a cold tile floor. And there is something heavy clamped to your head. Moving, at least moving your head, hurts.

You know how I said it's dark. It's absurdly dark. Most people who live above ground, have maybe never seen it this dark. It's darker than a hurricane at midnight when the moon isn't up. Of course, you live in an underground bunker and can make it this dark in your house, which surely means you have done so. But that's the kind of dark this is.

That's not the end of what feels weird about this, but you're having trouble making sense of your inputs.

So, what're you doing?


  • edited November 2012
    I move a hand, touch it to my head.

    You should know, I am not good with the dark, not good at all. It reminds me of much worse times, after I had escaped my family and the beach and gone to Georgetown. I wanted to leave behind that hardscrabble life; I wanted to learn, and to love, and to be comfortable and taken care of. I think my mother would have wanted that for me, and I didn't think my family would begrudge me that.

    I was ... fourteen? Fifteen? And it was some time before I found Vega, and found my place in the world. This place, the dark and the cold, hard floor, it sends me back to that time ... for most of a year I lived in the crypt, but I did not then know its secrets. There was no electricity, no water, just darkness and cold and vermin. But I was young and pretty and alone, and it was the only place I could sleep safely.

    I think I was like an animal, in that darkness. I would eat there, I would sleep and wake there, I would listen for the rats, and once I ate one of them as well and became violently sick, in the dark. I had sex there, twice, in exchange for food. They were my first and second genuine sexual encounters, but the third time he came to me, I had to kill him because I could not see a way to continue.

    This is why I love Vega. I am where I am today because of him. I am what I am, because of him. And those experiences may be why I am so enchanted by Jake's gentle light.

    If possible, my brain opens. You remember that I don't do that consciously. Usually the maelstrom comes to me as a thought in the back of my head (my own voice, or possibly my mother's voice). But in these circumstances, when I'm hurt and afraid and cannot see, stranger things might flower in the dark. Visions, out-of-body experiences, auditory hallucinations ... things like that happen to me when I am in altered states of mind.

    But if nothing of the sort happens, I don't think that I know to miss their presence. I just feel strange and thick-headed, which is about how I should feel anyway.
  • Open brain, if appropriate:

    #DiceRoller( 2d6+1 )

    What is happening? Where am I?

    That is xp, if the roll does happen.
  • Pandora, you're wearing a metal helmet of some kind. It's fastened to your head through some fairly complicated or unintuitive means. If you rock or wiggle it, relative to your head, the severity of your headache increases dramatically for a few seconds (assuming that you allow it to return to the less painful position).

    Go ahead and mark the experience. You're isolated from 90% of the psychic maelstrom, but you can still open your brain.

    Out of the darkness, you hear a voice. It is strangely accented but firm and pleasant; though it startles you and your concentration feels a little scattered. "Hello, Pandora. You're looking worse than usual. I'm sorry about that, I suppose it's my fault."

    Which of your siblings would it hurt the most to lose?

    "You see, there is a war brewing -- out here, on the other side. I intend to win it but I need troops and warlords. I've been gathering them for all the time that I've existed but it's been slow and things are frothing up now."

    What is the least pleasing or most irritating thing about Brick?

    "You already know my general, Burn. Even now, he is attacking the sea in my name, eroding her strength, both on my side and on yours. One day, if I succeed, you will be free of her impositions."

    Would it bother you to find that someone else had a relationship with your home?

    "Do you know that Cassa and Gabe are allied with another of my enemies? One day, they will have to renounce their affiliation with the island or be destroyed. And I fear that you could slip into the same trap that has snared them; you teeter on the brink. That's why I have prepared this situation for you. I would like to protect you from that fate so that you can be on the winning side of things."
  • edited December 2012
    xp (1)

    Does the helmet have wires or cables, anything plugged into it? I am holding my head still, yes, but I am reaching out blindly in the dark, my hand stretching out, feeling for anything at all.

    My relationship with my family is complicated, but if any brother or sister went missing, it would still leave a gap, a psychic wound. We are too close to one another, too bound together ... Rhyme's fault. But which one would hurt most? My feelings for my sisters are more intense, more involved than they are for my brothers, so it must be one of them.

    Road, I suppose. She is often stupid, and always sloppy, but we were close when we were younger (kissing games by the tide pools, after Gabe left home). And she is a good person, in a way that Clarity is not. And a whole person, in a way that Cassa is not.

    Slowly running fingertips across the cold tiles, in an arc along the limits of my reach. First this hand, then the other. My hands are shaking, trembling from the tension, the fear of the dark.

    Brick is ambitious. He wants to be more than he is, to increase his power and authority. He wants to take over Georgetown, to rule over the gangs as Nbeke did. I don't want that. I am afraid of that. Ambition killed Nbeke, and I am afraid that it will do the same with Brick. He has the Skulls, he has me ... why can't he be satisfied with that? He should be satisfied with that.

    Is there anything to touch, to pick up? Any trinket to take? Something that could ground me, something I could focus on, think about, use to increase my understanding of my situation?

    My home is mine. I will protect what is mine. Nobody else has a right to it.

    I fumble for any advantage, anything I can use. The darkness is oppressive. I speak into it, first a dry rasp, then:

    "What is ... Who are you? What is your name?"
  • edited December 2012
    Yes, there is a snaking rubber tube, both stiff and supple, strange; that leads from the top of your helmet around in a 3/4 loop that's maybe three feet in diameter before curving up into the air above. It's the only thing you can reach or feel other than the interstices that define the tiles you're lying on.

    "I don't really have a name, though you might call me little brother in the same way you gave 'Mother' its name. I suppose you're disoriented just now, but if it helps you to know, I think it will pass. I've seen the others that Babcock slotted in here and they start out bad, but they get better. You'll be able to move about unless something has gone wrong. Only rarely does she have to keep one of you sedated and that interferes with the machinery."

    "I want you to be thinking about something. You and I are in position to help one another. I'd like you to consider, whenever you're able to give it some thought, what you would want from me in exchange for your services. I think that you and I could work together to create and deliver a weapon to one of my enemies and assuming that it worked well, I would be in your debt."
  • edited December 2012

    I say the name, and it doesn't make sense. Babcock? Babcock's in Relay. But then I put it together, a little, and I whisper the name again:

  • I'm going to attempt Lost, as well. Again, it's xp if it is possible. And I wonder what happens if you use Lost on someone who's psi-isolated from you? Could it possibly just hang until a connection is established? Fizzle? Bounce?

    In any case: #DiceRoller( 2d6+1 )
  • edited December 2012
    It's desperate, though, and I know it. Who is this, this "little brother"? A weapon? What is going on? I don't understand what he wants from me. I beg. I mean it to be calculated, but it comes out a little more desperate than I even meant:

    "Please, help me, I can't - is there a light? I'll think about it, I will! Just bring a light, please."
  • "Babcock, I need you to come in here."

    And a searing pain splits your head in two as the ceiling, all in an instant, becomes the brightest thing in the universe.

    "What is it?" You here the voice of a gruff old lady. "What are you doing with the battery?"

    Little Brother replies without any hint that he's aware of Babcock's poor manners. "I'm seeing to our future. What else?"

    Even though it's been just a few seconds, you can already tell that you're not being incinerated -- it's just a bright light, and through your clenched eyelids, you can tell that it's moving around the ceiling sort of in time with Babcock's speaking.

    You want to do something now?
  • edited December 2012
    It seems like that worked, correct? For xp (2).

    I unscrew my eyes, shielding them with an arm, and I look. The light isn't a problem; the light is good. I'm breathing more easily, all of a sudden. If the ceiling is too bright to look at, that's alright, I send my eyes crawling across the floor, into the corners, up the walls. What is there to be seen?

    And yes. I take two deep breaths, bottle up the stress and darkness-fear, and I try to play my card. Is it too soon? Should I wait until I understand the situation? But it doesn't matter. It's my only card, and I may not have another chance:

    "Babcock! That's you? What is this? ... Wait, one of your men! He's dying, isn't he? Symptoms are pain, nausea, sweating ... accelerated heart rate. I did that! Come, please, take me out of here. I can cure him, and we can talk about this."
  • I don't, in fact, know if I have leverage. If I do, manipulate:

    #DiceRoller( 2d6+3 )
  • Lost fired, yeah. And that doesn't count as leverage here, sorry.

    "Can't take you out. People die all the time. Settle down there, we'll feed you well. You're the best I've had in here yet; I could see going to some effort to keep you happy -- it'd be a damned waste to sedate you. You hungry yet?"

    The floor is black tiles. The room is roughly a ten-foot cube and the ceiling is some sort of electronic screen displaying a video feed of Babcock's face. She's wearing a helmet like yours, you think.

    Little Brother keeps to your peripheral vision and appears shadowy. He addresses Babcock, "I think she'd prefer you to keep a light on in her room."

    You want to bust in or let them talk?
  • What are the walls? Is there an entrance?

    I probably do have something to say. I'll expand on that later.
  • The walls are smooth, black, six-inch tiles like the floor except where punctuated by a black rectangle that must be a door of some sort. You might be glad of the light, sure, but it's still taking a while to apprehend these details since your eyes hurt to just open. But y'know in a minute things'll be back to normal.
  • edited December 2012
    I'm forcing myself to look up into the light, shielding my eyes with my arm and squinting painfully. Who is this woman? I've heard of her, but I don't know her. I think I hate her, and I don't believe that she can't take me out of here. So I make myself pick the planes of her face out of the glare, hunting for any leverage. All I have is her thug, and she doesn't seem to care. There's a time limit on that leverage as well, since he will probably recover in time.

    All that's left is ... ugh. I do cut in, continuing to press:

    "This is a bad idea, Babcock. People will come for me. My brother is coming for me."

    I'm not pleading anymore, but I'm not threatening yet.
  • I want to read her:

    #DiceRoller( 2d6+1 )
  • You know, I think it feels more appropriate to adopt a more aggressive tone. I'm changing that last bit.

    "This is foolish, Babcock. You can't keep me here. I have friends, powerful patrons. People will come for me. My brother is coming for me, and soon the Skulls will be here as well. You're not invincible here. If you don't release me, my - they will take this place down around you. Whatever you're doing here, find someone else!"
  • You're looking up at her and taking her measure before you speak up. She looks like Anne Ramsey.

    You have your say, but your words don't come out as strong as you'd expect. It might be kind of humiliating, not being as in control as normal, but you might also be too distracted to care. You see, it's right then that you can feel the squid writhing in your skull for the first time. A rainbow of colors ripples in tingles, cold and the barest pain across your entire sense of touch as the beast's suckers release one part of your brain and slide over to another. As you can imagine, it's considerably distracting and even kind of odd that you get such a clear image of this animal that's in your brain.

    Babcock chuckles at you a little, Pandora. "We can release you of course, if your friends do come for you. And if letting you go is cheaper than holding you. It'll be hard though; for both of us. You won't be happy out there in your old life once you've been in here. And I know you won't believe that now, but if that's how it goes down, you'll see -- life missing part of your essence will eat away at you. You'd be better off figuring out what we can do here to keep you amused..."
  • It's suddenly laid out in front of me. I don't just hate her; I am going to see her dead. Cheaper than holding me? We'll just see, you filthy, disgusting little woman. But I keep my fury out of my expression, making my eyes go flat. I am practiced at this.

    "... What have you done with me?"

    Abrupt question: Am I clothed? In the same long tunic and woolen trousers I put on after dealing with Clove? Or no?
  • (I don't recall if your clothes were defined in detail in the previous thread.) You have not been stripped naked. If you had headware, that's gone. If you had anything big or bulky -- cape or coat, those are gone, but you probably didn't since they're inappropriate for the climate. If your tunic was particularly loose and blousing, it's gone, but if it's just a normal sort of thing, you still have it. Anything they did to your clothes was for utility, and they didn't particularly need access to your body. In any case, assuming you have undies too, you have enough things to be arresting for a while, if that's where you're going.

    "You're plugged into the machine. It blocks you from the aether and allows me to access it using you as a power source. You're better than the others. It sounds bad, but I'm in a fundamentally similar position. If you try to make a life for yourself here, I think you'll be happier. And I really would prefer you to be on my team than in opposition."
  • "No. What have you put -"

    I stop and readdress the question to the other party present, this 'Little Brother':

    "What has she put in my mind?"

    They caught me within moments of having finished dressing while talking to Gabe. At that time, I had on underwear and also these trousers and tunic. The trousers I invented just now, but I believe I did describe the tunic as, yes, a simple undyed tunic, loose and long. So it sounds as if that would be gone, leaving me in my bra and pants. I am barefooted, and my pockets contained nothing of consequence, except my little medusa, which I made use of.

    And no, I was only wondering, not particularly concerned with being arresting.
  • This situation. There is a thing in my mind. Or, I assume that when you say that it is in my brain, you mean it in the figurative, colloquial sense that my siblings have invented, as in "open my brain" and etc.

    Babcock is somehow connected to me, and is using me as a means of accessing what she is referring to as the aether, which is most likely what my family refers to as the maelstrom (Sun's word, as I recall). I understand that concept. She is likely doing something vaguely similar to what my family does when we join telepathically to manipulate the maelstrom. Though it may be more accurate to say that she is doing what I have thought of engineering with Jake, using him as a psychic antenna separate from my family's influence.

    Babcock believes me to be isolated from the maelstrom, or at least from the aether, but she does not appear to be entirely correct. I called her, and she is here ... I suppose that that is within the realm of coincidence, but it felt right. I think that the connection was there.

    I wonder if I could circumvent Babcock's system. Seize control and use her mechanisms to reach out of this cell with my mind? Block her off from her precious feed? Taint the flow, or invade her mind? She doesn't seem to genuinely know who I am or what I am capable of, and I know a thing or two about psychic mechanisms, as I demonstrated in the capture of Mother. My family has been experimenting with these techniques for years, and I know that I am one of the best.
  • I'm trying to put together a plan of action, since I - as a rule - refuse to count entirely on Rhyme. I'll attempt reading my situation, since I certainly do find it to be charged.

    #DiceRoller( 2d6+1 )
  • edited December 2012

    If I may ask a question related to the psychic layer of the situation, then how may I get through/past/out of Babcock's Ψ-isolation?

    If not, then more generally, what's my best escape route?
  • edited December 2012
    "It's a bioelectronic interface that allows you to access my world in a different way. In this case, it shields you from the rest of them but leaves you a narrow channel to interact with me. Your potential, thus pent up escapes into the contraptions that Babcock uses for her hobbies."

    "My research!"

    So, between Little Brother's explanations and your own intuition, it seems pretty reasonable that he could at the very least, act as your proxy, but maybe even let you through. Elsewise, you have every reason to believe that your helmet is your containment and the room doesn't have much to do with it. So getting the helmet off should free you. But it might also kill you -- it sure hurts when you wiggle it wrong.
  • edited December 2012
    I want her to go away. I've found no leverage over her: she apparently cares nothing for her thug's life, and she seems to view me as no more than a component in her machines. She wants nothing of me, which is novel in and of itself. But unless I eventually lower myself to offering my body or threatening suicide, I will need to find other means of making my escape.

    I cover my face with my hands and let a little weakness slip into my voice. It's not hard. Shock at my circumstances and fear of the dark, they are a little too real right now.

    "Just leave me be. Give me a light, and leave me be."

    That's what I'm most afraid of, right now. That she would take the light with her when she left. I can't let her realize how important that is to me; she would have too much leverage over me if she did.
  • (That last line feels like an invitation. Are you manipulating her into leaving a light? Are you acting under fire to prevent her from discovering what you most need? I like the latter better but don't want to deny you what you're good at, if that's how it would feel -- like I did to Brick earlier.)

    "We have found that the less sensory stimulus you have while you're in here, the more you turn to your own brain which helps with the machinery. We can even roll a tank of water in there for you to float in and dull your muscles and nerves with a spinal implant. It's like you get Lost at sea."

    And the staccato of heavily dulled but still quite audible gunfire erupts from the direction of the door. Thud, thud, thud. Thud thud thud thud thud.... You maybe notice that it's coming through the speakers that convey Babcock's voice to you, also.
  • I drop my hands so they're just steepled, covering my mouth, and I listen for a moment. This must be Rhyme, and anyone who came with him. Brick, maybe? I hope so. I didn't call to Brick during my capture because I was worried that this might be a different enemy, that Brick might begin a war over me and end up like Nbeke. But Babcock isn't that kind of enemy. I wonder how long I was unconscious, for them to just now be reaching me?

    Conversationally: "Babcock! You're actually quite close to me, aren't you? What do you imagine that sound is, Babcock? Gunshots? Perhaps I'll be seeing you in person, soon."

    I suppose I had assumed that Babcock was somewhere far off, safely hidden away in a bunker. In retrospect, why would that be? I can be no physical threat to her, so it does make sense to keep us close, so that her machines can easily communicate with one another. Therefore, if someone penetrates far enough to get to me ...

    Well, her talk of increased sensory deprivation is unpleasant, of course, but I don't have any general pathological fear of that. It is the darkness I fear, specifically that, because it sends me back to the worst parts of my life. I close my eyes, because that may soften the blow if she turns out the light, and I tell her:

    "Leave me a light, Babcock, and go tend to your house."
  • It feels strange to be rolling, really. I'd rather roll to act under fire if she actually does turn out the lights, because then the fire is clear. If the fire right now is "she might realize something about you that you're afraid she'll find out", that seems a little too general. If that's it, then we should be rolling to act under fire every time we're concealing fears or true intentions. And she's had opportunities to get in my head, like when I missed a roll to read her.

    Anyway, I'm offering no leverage, so I'm clearly not manipulating. If you want a roll to act under fire:

    #DiceRoller( 2d6 )
  • (skip the roll or you succeed, it's all good.)

    Babcock's signal disappears from the ceiling and is replaced by the flickering black and white pixels that folks in another place and time called snow.

    "Do you know what? I think you're going to get out of here. That's lovely!"
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