2019-05-30: I'll Take Your Report

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  • Log: I'll Take Your Report
  • Cast: Loren Voss, Lorelei Calice
  • Where: Luca - Residential District
  • Date: May 30, 2019
  • Summary: Loren, out gathering an essential, crosses paths with a pair aligned to his own cause. A new course is set.

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

    Thunder rolls over Luca's port. Still the activity at the docks continues unabated -- goods need to be loaded, the ships need to be ready to sail once the storm passes. Even out here in the market, the lightning and rain have merely dimmed the crowd rather than quench it utterly.

    Loren had thought it had looked like rain. He's displeased to be right.

    But if he hadn't come, it would have meant no salt. Lan's skills are keeping them afloat -- for now -- but there are essentials that aren't so easy to find. He's thought about trying to set up a drying pan or something to extract it from the sea itself but... that would mean keeping a stable camp which has its own issues outside of town.

    He needs to find more-stable work. Maybe he'll eventually be able to afford to sleep in a bed again someday.

    Currently standing under an overhang near one of the stalls -- fresh fruit, if it matters -- he clutches the small pouch close as if his life depended on it. Water meanwhile drips from the cloth above.

    He stares at the drips balefully.

    When is this storm going to end?

    In the bag slung over his shoulder -- water-safe and sturdy -- something within continues to futilely ping for a server it can't reach. It's a faint, frail hope, but he has still set the medical device to attempt to update its database.
    Maybe he's not alone, and maybe someone will detect it.

<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

There are worse things in life than being caught in the rain.

"Goodness! Who would've thought that it would rain," gasps an effusive voice just behind Loren Voss - and then, something pink intrudes itself into his field of view.

With a bustle, a Beastwoman with big pink hair and a pair of little tiger-like ears ducks under the overhang of the stall, making some show of shaking her hair out with a toss of her head. "My, the weather has really not been all that foul here until recently, has it?" she asks, instinctively bringing her social instincts to bear on the only person hunkering there with her - Loren. "Really, it's been beautiful in Spira! Oh, but I suppose weather tends to be quirky--"

Someone smaller and less obtrusive slides into the shadow of shelter. Her Etone robe is closed and collared, and her blonde hair has been swept back severely. She reaches out and touches the Beastwoman's elbow gently.

"--Oh, excuse me," the more effusive woman gasps, cupping her hands to her cheeks, then dipping her chin. "I didn't mean to be quite so forward...."

The smaller woman looks up at Loren, her blue eyes intent.

"I can't update your database, but I'll take your report," she says.

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

    There are a lot of worse things than getting caught in the rain, but Loren will be damned if any of them matter all that strongly to him in this moment.

    If water gets into the salt...
    He turns then, carefully lifting the flap on his bag and tucking the small pouch back inside.

    When he glances back, there is pink. A whole lot of it, in fact.

    Somehow the woman -- despite being about his size -- manages to take up way too much space. He attempts to take a step back out of reflex and bumps into the wall behind him. "Are you lost or something?" he starts to say, before his gaze drifts lower. ...A little lower than that, a moment later.

    An Etone?

    It's only at a delay that he realizes there is more than one woman here with him. "Uh," he starts, perhaps realizing he's here with two Etones.
    But maybe it's something in her eyes.

    And not to mention, something about the specific words she speaks.

    Database.

    He glances again at the taller of the two women, as if to silently query after her involvement in this.

    Then, his gaze returning to and locking on the blonde, he makes a specific sign with his right hand, still hanging at his side:

    The thumb pressed to each finger in turn, index to pinkie. Then retreating to the center of the palm. In other words, in their military hand code, 'Solaris'.

    He just about stares her down, searching her face for some sign that this is not some sick joke.

<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

The thing about the Beastwoman is that she seems much larger than she is - and it's not just the hair. Even when she's quiet, she's a loud presence. She fills out the space under the awning without even trying, her lips drawn into a little pout as she glances from her companion and back to Loren.

When the Solarian glances at her, she winks, once.

It's her smaller counterpart who watches Loren more intently. Her eyes dart to that sign, and she raises one eyebrow before bringing a slender hand up.

She touches the thumb to each finger in turn, then drags it to the center of her palm. It's the exact same military hand signal.

The curvier of the two Etones also raises her hand. She mirrors the signal expertly. She didn't even look at her smaller companion.

"We were on our way to figure out what was going on with that Odessa person," she admits with a huff. "But of course we got caught up in that teleportation wave and now we've been stuck here. It would be worse if not for the lovely weather, I have to admit -- it really is much nicer than Filgaia, isn't it?" She gasps a second later and straightens, cupping a hand to her cheek. "--Ah, goodness, how could I have forgotten-- ah, my name is Lorelei Calice, and this is my apprentice, Mignonette Stirling--"

"What do you have in terms of supply," Mignonette asks with a little grimace. "I assume you're a medic of some kind."

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

    By contrast, the woman at her side nearly fades into the background. It's the same coloration he's seen in some birds around Kilika, now that he thinks of it -- the difference between the jungle birds that scream their head off and the little grey ones that sit in the shadows and wait.

    Does Mignonette also wait?

    Perhaps he was expecting a different situation. Mignonette performs the gesture expertly, and that for the first time in weeks, no, months, prompts hope to truly ignite in his chest.
    But when Lorelei does the same--
    She didn't even look.
    His expression must be a giveaway when he looks back to Mignonette, confusion writ loud and clear.
    It takes him a moment to realize what's going on. Oh. I'm an idiot.
    The larger one is 'in the know'. Another operative, of a kind with Lan, but on a different level altogether...

    Lorelei speaks, explaining the whole situation. So they were also working on investigating the situation out in Elru. He closes his eyes, irritation flitting across his face. "...And of course they didn't tell me about either of you." He knows on some level he's being a bit unfair -- operatives in the field aren't told about others' whereabouts in order to avoid compromising other missions (or even sometimes the same mission) -- but he's been stranded and at the mercy of the Guard for over a month so he feels entitled to a little venom.

    "I was investigating the Malevolence disruption," he explains. "In Elru."
    He'll explain about Lan later, he thinks.

    Calice?
    Stirling?

    Are either of those real names? He hesitates, visibly.

    "Thomas Blackwell," he says, using a name he thought he'd never use again.

    Is his role that obvious? "Some things," he answers 'Mignonette' all the same. "I used some on the mission and I've been conserving the rest. I'm running low on basic Sols but the rest are largely intact." Including painkillers, bandages, a basic surgical toolkit, other miscellanea and...

    Some Drive. He never had used it while in the temple.

<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

"I hope we didn't misfile a report," Lorelei sighs, touching the back of one hand to her forehead and looking up with a little arch to her back. "Ah, well... but after all, the mission of the Ethos Society is to look into things like this, and we would so hate to disregard the teachings of the Church! I'm hardly that type of person."

Lorelei is wearing her Etone robe open. The outfit under it is fairly Spiran and fairly summery. It's not Ethos standard.

Mignonette's is. She crinkles her nose at the note of acid in Loren's voice, but it passes quickly. "When you need to know about our activities, you'll be informed at that time," she says, her tone bland as she mercilessly dismisses the venom. "But right now we're here, with no real allies to speak of. If we're going to return to our normal business, we're going to have to coordinate our efforts."

The name Loren gives is met with a cheery smile from Lorelei. She clasps her hands and smiles widely. "It's very nice to meet you! You seem like a very responsible medic -- ah, it's good that you conserved the important things, isn't it? I'm sure they'll come in very handy when the time is right--"

"The simple things we may have to supplement with local alternatives." Mignonette's once again the colder and more businesslike of the two. "I can help you restock some of the more esoteric ones if necessary."

She pauses, then, before adjusting her glasses. "Interesting," she says quietly. "I would've pegged you for Engil Voss's brother."

The look Mignonette gives him is steady and seems like it could somehow physically reach out and rip his alias off.

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

    Whoever paired up these two had a strange sense of humor, Loren figures.

    His mouth twitches in an unhappy downward arc. "I know that," he utters, gaze departing from her. Once again he's forced to swallow pride and pain both. "...I'm in the same boat." He pauses, as if keying in to a certain phrasing she uses. "So there really isn't anyone else here? Then it's up to us to find a way out of here." There are things he needs to do, and if he's stuck here...
    Even thinking about languishing here for years, for the rest of his life makes his skin crawl.
    "Fine. We'll work together. At least we're more or less on the same page."

    Whereas the Guard probably actually will string him up if they catch him again, and he's otherwise stuck trying to rely on the Drifters that ended up here, too, and somehow he doesn't feel like they are going to be feeling too charitable.

    "I guess," he answers Lorelei's statement that 'he must be responsible'. "I don't have a full kit, of course, so if you needed anything for a major engagement I don't have it." Meaning anything they would need in a major military operation. Artificial blood, harnesses, major surgical equipment and saws, and so on...

    "That's what I've been doing," he answers, speaking to Mignonette's statement. "They're inferior but they'll suffice. I have a few of their 'potions'. As for the rest... Show me what you have later."
    Replacement Rosesols would be a good start. He might need a few in a pinch.

    'Interesting. I would've pegged you for Engil Voss's brother.'

    The look on Loren's face might be loosely subtitled 'the same expression one would wear catching someone defacing a family member's grave'.
    If Engil had a grave. If Solarians buried their dead.
    But the sentiment is much the same -- shock. Mute fury.

    "Don't talk about him," he hisses in response.
    Which is then followed the cold realization of what she's done that overtakes him at speed. She's clever. ...Too clever.

    He looks away, the picture of ressentiment.

    "...Tell me your name," he says, his voice low. "Your real name."

<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

Tapping a delicate finger against her cheek, Lorelei cocks her head to one side, making a show of thinking about it. "Ah... there is another Etone here!" she realizes with a spark and a gasp. "Two, actually! Do you know Tabitha DeVriese?"

Mignonette raises her hand to the bridge of her nose, pinching it between her thumb and forefinger.

Oblivious, Lorelei continues with a braming smile. "She also made it here, and I think she may be of a similar mindset! Oh, and of course my sister Rosaline - have you met her? She's a very dear person, and a wonderful young woman! I would certainly not want to leave her behind on Lunar. But I think only one of those two may be, ah, receptive to additional things outside the usual boundaries of the Ethos...."

The senior Etone brushes a few rosy curls back from her cheek, affecting a small pout. "Mmn. Well, that's alright. I'm sure we can find some way to equip you. Or at least help you out a little." Her eyes brighten, and she clasps her hands with a wide smile. "I'm sure we'll make wonderful partners! We'll surely get home in no time."

Mignonette's expression remains neutral and studious as she watches Loren's face go through that phase of shock. Her eyelids lower ever so slightly.

"We will need to make this work. I'm Mignonette to the rest of the world. I don't normally get involved in out-front operations, so I will trust you to keep our position a matter of strictest confidentiality." There's something simple and firm about the way she says it that adds an ominous weight that her small stature does nothing to detract from.

With a glance to the side, the slender woman removes her glasses, briefly buffing them on the front of her robe, then donning them again.

"Taphas Parth."

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

    'Do you know Tabitha deVriese?'

    Loren gains a thousand-yard stare as the implication of this statement descends upon him. He's stuck on the moon with Tabitha deVriese.
    He's stuck on the moon with Tabitha deVriese.
    AGAIN.

    He takes a breath, somehow returning from that bad place. "...Yeah. I know her." Tabitha, that is.
    As regards Rosaline he can only offer a shake of the head. "I don't think I have," he says. "Does she..." and here he looks Lorelei over. "...Look like you?"

    He may be attempting some sort of mental calculus here.

    "I'm also short a lot of equipment. Anything that wasn't on my person didn't make the jump with me, and I lost my tablet and other items in the sea." Which really just leaves him with the sidearm, the sword, and the contents of his bag.
    He had to destroy the body armor -- it had been too damaged to use and too risky to leave behind. And he's been scraping to get by since.
    Lan, most likely, has even less than that on her...

    "Don't throw my name around either and we'll be even," he replies, glowering. It's probably a lost cause on his end -- too many of them know who he is and who he's aligned to, and those who don't know those who will -- but it's the sentiment that counts. Even if just tatters of his cover remain, he'll use them as long as they'll hold.

    She tells him her name.

    His brow furrows. Parth, Parth. Where has he heard -- or seen? -- that name before?

    Ah.

    "Are you Dr. Parth's daughter?" He remembers reading a paper or two of hers -- she focused on brain chemistry (he'd read a few of those), but the papers on Ether theory were a foundational part of some of his classwork.

    With a family like that, 'Mignonette' could have done anything she wanted in life. And here she is, stuck on the moon with the rest of them.

<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

Lorelei pretends not to notice Loren's doom stare. She just gasps and clasps her hands at her cheeks, her eyes glittering like stars.

"Ohh, perfect! Then we've all gotten to know each other a little bit! We'll get along so much better!"

When Loren looks her over, the Beastwoman smiles neatly, touching a delicate hand to her collar. "She resembles me quite a bit - well, we have different parents, but we grew up together, so it's not an exact resemblance. But she does have the same hair colour! You'd recognize her if you saw her, I'm sure. She's very lovely!"

The hand at Lorelei's cheeks descends, and she affects a small moue. "Fortunately we were carrying most of our backup supplies," she admits as she reaches into her robe, coming out with a small power cell of the sort that can plug into a radio. "That might help! But we'll still have to be careful! There's no recharge stations here!"

"Lorelei," Taphas says, touching the Beastwoman's elbow.

"--Oh." Lorelei blinks, then dips her head, going quiet immediately.

Taphas lowers her eyelids slightly, but nods. "Deal."

'Are you Dr. Parth's daughter?'

The alleged Etone trainee winces slightly at the question and lets out a breath through her nose. "We're related," she says vaguely.

Slipping a medical kit into her hand, Taphas opens it - and the array of bottled substances in there proves to go far beyond the standard medkit, with neatly-organized vials and injectors lined up alongside a few odd-looking mechanical devices. The woman sorts through and comes up with a few Sols, passing them over to Loren. "That should help," she says.

"We shouldn't stay together for too long while we're in town. I'd rather not have some Drifter come along and get any ideas. If you need to reach me, ping code MKU359 'FORCAS.'"

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

    "We have, haven't we," Loren replies, his tone completely flat.

    Perhaps all that can be said for his current state and wellbeing is that he hasn't crossed paths with Tabitha again yet.

    Come to think of it, he doesn't think he's seen her since the Photosphere...

    Here's hoping she won't cause serious damage to her hand. He doesn't precisely have a workshop up here.

    Lorelei clarifies a few things as per her relationship to Rosaline. Loren connects the dots. "Oh. I get it."
    Orphanage. Adoption. Fosterage. There are a number of possibilities.
    Surface-dwellers have extremely complicated families, he's come to realize.

    What she says about supplies gets his attention, before a secondary realization about where they're currently standing and who might be listening in arises. "Hold on--" he starts to say.

    Taphas beats him to it. He breathes out a sigh of relief, briefly closing his eyes. Crisis... averted.

    There's a wince. He knows all about awkward family situations. He can guess what that wince means.

    So he says nothing. He just nods.
    It's none of his business. He doesn't care.

    Though it does mean that she might be a good person to talk to about Ether and attaining higher levels of focus while using it, if she's been privy to any of her mother's work.

    He leans in when she pulls something out from her own kit, and is promptly a recipient of a few much-needed Rosesols. Potions will do for healing, but restoring one's Ether capacity when drained, well...

    "Thanks," he says at length, after putting them safely away. "I might need these." He pauses. "We should talk later."

    When they can do so without drawing suspicion.

    "There's another. I'll explain later." He glances, a bit meaningfully, at Lorelei. Whatever's been done to her -- if anything -- he doesn't want talk about Lan in case the situation's the same and it triggers something unfortunate.

    "...Understood. I'm largely outside of town right now. The Guard..." He gestures, vaguely. The Guard, he doesn't want to get tangled up in again if he can avoid it.

    "I'll keep the signal running in case there's anyone else. But I should get going."

    A pause. Thunder rolls angrily overhead, as if to underscore why he's been stuck here so long to start.

    "...Eventually," he appends, shoulders slouching in irritation.

<Pose Tracker> Lorelei Calice has posed.

Lorelei smiles a sparkling smile for poor, put-upon Loren. Her eyes gleam with delight. "We'll have to get everyone together and discuss things soon," she suggests. "We'd thought about visiting the priests of Yevon and getting a sense as to whether they could help us. Perhaps you'd like to come!"

That smile only brightens. "I'm sure we'll have plenty of interesting adventures in the meantime! I'll do my best to make sure you get home safe and sound, Mr. Thomas! There's so much for us still to do!"

Taphas glances sidelong at her more effusive companion. "She's right. Spira is a waste of our time. I'm sure it's a waste of yours too. But until we find some sort of transporter, we're stuck." She lowers her eyelids slightly. "Last time agents were here, the route home was under Azado. If someone manages to kill Sin, our plan may be to find a boat and just sail there."

If someone manages to kill Sin, anyway. That's a tall order.

When Loren explains her situation, the woman in the glasses nods slowly. "Let's meet privately," she agrees. "Somewhere less obtrusive."

As the thunder rolls, Taphas sighs. Then she adjusts her collar. Her carriage changes subtly; her chin dips a little and her shoulders straighten. "Until then, Mr. Blackwell. Please go with Granas. Dame Calice?"

Lorelei folds her hands and bows elegantly. "Yes, please, go with Granas and be at peace! And try your best to stay dry! The weather is terribly foul, isn't it? I'd hate for it to dampen your spirits, ohoho~"

With that, the pink-haired Beastwoman pops up a huge pink and white umbrella, because life is simply unfair.

"Come along, Mignonette!" she calls gaily, stepping out into the rain. Mignonette moves after her at a brisk step.

<Pose Tracker> Loren Voss has posed.

    "The priests?" He looks at first skeptical as he turns this one over mentally. But wait -- putting prejudice aside, the priests are likely to know... more than a few things about this land.
    And they're also not precisely on speaking terms with the Guard at present which, for him, is a definite bonus.

    So instead of a 'maybe' (meaning 'no') he says: "Yes."

    Even if the precise cheeriness from Lorelei makes him thereafter falter, and thereafter begin to wilt.

    Good spirits, his only weakness.

    "What happens here doesn't matter," he agrees, inclining his head in a short dip of a nod. Indeed, his only goal right now is to get back home so he can get back to work.
    And eventually, meet up with his fate.

    It's going to happen this year, isn't it?
    Once he turns twenty-one.

    "If we had a Gear..." he says quietly, returning to the here and now. Though it doesn't matter -- they don't have one, so thinking about how it would solve their problems is pointless. He shakes his head. "As long as Sin's alive we can't cross the sea. ...Wonderful. We get to try to figure out how to kill something that can flatten a city." He sounds remarkably less-than-enthused. One wonders why.

    Somewhere less obtrusive, indeed. "Maybe outside. I don't have coordinates to give you." Largely because they keep moving camp so much. But until he can find somewhere defensible or a more potent ally, or money, or all of the above, it's all he's got.

    As the thunder may underscore.
    He hopes the tent didn't decide to leak again.

    "Same to you?" he utters in response to that statement of religious feeling, with all the bewildered fervor a nonbeliever can manage.

    For Lorelei herself there is a more deadpan, "I'll try."

    The rain picks up at that moment. Loren stares out wearily at a hateful universe.
    The same universe into which Lorelei and 'Mignonette' stride out into. ...With the help of an umbrella.

    Great. Great. That's perfect, is approximately the thought Loren has on the matter as he watches on.
    I'm in hell.