2020-09-02: Tension

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  • Log: Tension
  • Cast: Lan Lilac, Lydia Seren (as Rachiel Medry)
  • Where: Assyria Base, Damzena Desert
  • Date: September 2, 2020
  • Summary: After the Black Wolves' attempt on Minister Shakhan's life, Rachiel has some questions for Lan.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Rachiel Medry was tended to by Loren Voss and was eventually carted back to Damzena Base where she recuperated for the rest of the operation! However that went! Rachiel doesn't actually know because she was shot in the chest. But as a first class citizen, she gets pretty good medical treatment particularly since she took that hit protecting the objective. She isn't certain if Shakkhan would appreciate it--well he'd probably APPRECIATE it--but she isn't expecting gratitude.

Eventually with Solaris's modern medical capabilities, Rachiel is able to sit herself up but she's probably going to be in her the medbay for a while--Doctor's orders--but she did think to send a message out to ask for Lan's presence.

If Lan doesn't ANSWER that call, she'll figure out what she does then. But for right now, Rachiel is sitting up on a medtable with datapad in her hand that she checks periodically by tapping at it with her fingers, frowning in deep thought.

Her glasses are a little lobsided but she doesn't seem to have noticed this fact just yet beyond occassionally tweaking how they sit on her nose, but she just keeps overadjusting them, thus the glasses are always a little off.

<Pose Tracker> Lan Lilac has posed.

Nobody seemed to notice.

In all the chaos, in the heat of the moment, despite Rachiel's attempt to save the minister's life and implicate Lan for her crime, nobody seemed to have seen it. And even as she was falling unconscious, even then Rachiel had smiled at her.

Lan doesn't know what it means. She should have escaped with the Black Wolves. She'd frozen in horror, seeing that Rachiel had jumped in front of Leon's bullet. And then Lan's chance was gone.

She needs to leave. She needs to make sure Rachiel can't tell on her, when she wakes up. But the thought of taking someone's life with her own two hands, even if she could get away with it...

Lan thinks that really will change something. Bone-deep, it will make her into something else. Something that sleeps underneath her skin will take over, and she'll never be able to put it back. So she's been sitting in her room since the last debriefing, only coming out for the necessities.

Eventually Rachiel will wake up. And then...

And then Rachiel wakes up. And Lan finds a message on her room's terminal.

An hour or so after Rachiel sent the message, there's a soft knock at her door. Lan comes in, shutting the door behind her, and doesn't sit down.

"...How are you feeling?" she smiles. The knife feels heavy in her back pocket.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Rachiel has had time to think about it. She herself has taken 'attacks of opportunity'. Maybe Lan had a reason for doing what she did. And even if she didn't, she is a surfacedweller and it's important to offer some allowances in lieu of that fact. Castle was too quick to judge--and it ended wih him shattered in pieces. She won't make the same mistake.

"Could be worse!" Rachiel says. "I thought I was gonna die...! But I guess Loren saved me..." She smiles faintly. "I knew he was a good guy. Everybody--"

She pauses, realizing that she's kind of about to get personal there so she sets that thought aside. "So uh."

She rubs at her neck lightly with a hand. "Why'd you do it? At first I admit I was pretty mad--but I don't think Loren got into trouble, so..."

She lets her hand drop. "I figure you must've had a good reason right? I was running it through my head--but then I realized... I don't really know your circumstances. Maybe Shakkhan did something...? It's hard for me to imagine you doing something like this out of malice."

As Lan contemplates going at her with a knife. There HAS been dead operators in Damzena beffore due to peoplee breaking in (well it was Leah actually but that's the public word!). She might even get away with it. Rachiel is presently unsuspecting--or at least doing a real good job of pretending to be.

<Pose Tracker> Lan Lilac has posed.

If anybody were to ask her, Lan couldn't say why she picked it up. Why she slid it into her pocket along with her Assyria base ID card.

It's not like a knife would really help her.

It is, at the very least, honestly good to see Rachiel doesn't seem too banged up. Solarian medicine is the best Lan has ever seen. If she could just bring it to the rest of the surface-- if Solaris wasn't so selfish with its wealth-- "I'm glad you're feeling better. Everybody was so worried about you!" Not even a lie, but a trace of the tension stiffening Lan's shoulders eases.

Did Rachiel forget? Maybe bloodloss stole the memory of it from the other girl. If that's so, then maybe things will smooth out. Lan can pretend nothing happened. That it was the Black Wolves' fault and no other--

Why'd you do it?

And in four words, her hopes gutter. "..." Lan rests her back against the door, feeling the cool metal of its surface through her uncomfortable Gebler-issued tunic. Her mind races, but outwardly she's still.

"...There are..." she croaks eventually, "Things I'm not allowed to tell you."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Rachiel quirks her head, studying Lan's expression for a long moment, particularly when Lan says that last line. Her expression goes contemplative...

And then she laughs, "Trustingg a surfacedweller with that kind of mission, over a Gazel...! I've experienced a lot of strange things while on the surface, but I must admit that's the strangest yet...!"

Does she not believe Lan?

"Well, geeze... I knew Solaris had a long way to go in treating surface dwellers properly, but I guess we've made more progress if we're giving one secret missions! I was kind of joking about 'Commander Lan' but...who knows? Maybe one day you will be!"

The scariest part about Solaris might very well be that despite Lan getting her shot by not telling her this, she completely buys the idea that Lan would be given a secret mission without telling the bodyguards about it.

"Though I wish they had more faith in me... If that's what was going on it's not like I would've gotten in your way like that."

Her eyes widen.

"Oh no--did I..." She looks terrified. "Did I screw up your secret mission??"

It IS a little strange they didn't tell her OR Loren about it. "Leah's pretty unorthodox..." Rachiel admits. "Did she think I didn't have the guts? I better ask--oh but it's something you're not supposed to tell me."

She frowns, mulling over this. "...I don't want you to get in trouble... Lydia really seems to like you and she's kind of stuck here..."

She pauses a moment and scootches forward.

"Look, I don't want to... worry you, but... relationships between Gazel and surfacedwellers are--I mean they happen. But they're pretty taboo. So if you're hoping--or already have--gotten beyond friendship with Loren? Don't worry, it's my secret. But you should be ready for the backlash."

She has already the fanfic written out in her head.

<Pose Tracker> Lan Lilac has posed.

Lan studiously keeps staring down at her feet in their sandals. She doesn't know what she's going to do when Rachiel doesn't believe her, but she just needed a few seconds to think. She can't just keep denying it, can she? Medry won't believe it, after all, so Lan's got to decide on a solution /fast/.

She can do this if she has to. She said she wasn't going to be afraid. And Rachiel's relaxed, in a hospital bed, and just got shot clean through, and Lan can be so very fast when she needs to be--

And Rachiel, bless her heart, seems to take what Lan has given her and /runs/ with it. Lan notes distantly the sound of her blood rushing inside her ears, of the quiet shff of the hosital linens when Rachiel moves her arms. "...huh? Uh, they-- she--" She shuts her mouth and lets Rachiel talk.

what the hell what the hell what the heeeeeell it actually worked?!

Unless... Rachiel's even more clever than Lan gave her credit for. Unless she's trying to put Lan at ease. "I," Lan tries again, the words getting stuck in her throat before she can force them out. "I can't tell you anything. Even that. I mean, I'm sure they trust you! I don't--"

She blinks twice as something filters through the static in her brain. Beyond fri

Lan chokes. "N, no, it's not like that, I'm not even sure we're at /normal friendship/ yet, I'm not, I don't do that--"

And just like that, Lan finds the tables completely turned.

Who knew Rachiel was this good at psychological warfare?!

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"I don't know..." Rachiel says thoughtfully. "I mean I can understand if you're not going out yet," YET?? "But not even friends? He really worried about you when you passed out like that. I suppose that's partly because he's a medic but..." Would Loren do that for just ANY Surfacedweller?!

Of course maybe that being in doubt is the problem here.

Still, she says, "I understand, totally, completely. Solaris is pretty keen on information control. Even if it's kind of depressing to me--it's actually pretty understandable. I mean... I'm kind of a problem--that's why I got sent here instead of captaining a ship somewhere."

"...Oh but... Hey Lan?"

She nods towards a scabbard laying in the corner of the room.

"I'm kind of tied up here. Can you bring that to me?"

She points with a finger just to be sure there's no confusion.

<Pose Tracker> Lan Lilac has posed.

Sometime in the future, if Lan thinks about this (she will) she's going to wonder what's so wrong with friendship. Or maybe she'll just come to the conclusion that something's wrong with her for not getting it (she might). "I think... well, maybe we're better friends than we used to be," she admits after a moment. But it's still hard to call what they have a friendship, precisely.

She doesn't know.

"But I think it's just because he's a medic, and he's assigned to me. I mean, you'd be upset if Lydia fainted, right?" Lydia, who deserves some kind of medal for not cracking under the psychic pressure of being around Rachiel Medry so often. What a terrifying power...!

She follows Rachiel's pointing finger to the scabbard in the corner. What could she want with that? In a hospital bed? Paranoia creeps up Lan's spine. "How could someone like you be a problem?" she asks instead, hesitating. But that Lan would go get it, cheerfully. She'd trust Rachiel because she wouldn't know any damn better. Lan turns to go and pick it up, thanking the Guardians that the tunic she wore is long enough to conceal the knife in her back pocket.

If Rachiel tries to kill her with this...

Lan brings it to Rachiel's bedside, the scabbard held carefully in both hands like something precious. "Here you go. Did you hide something in the scabbard or something? You're not gonna try to practice your swordwork already, are you? You're still hurt!"

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed. 

There's nothing wrong with friendship! Or not being interested in relationships like that but Rachiel is an imaginative lady and a romantic at heart and she jumps to conclusions real quick. "oh--huh. I guess so but... she's still a prisoner, really. I can't really change that. But you're here willingly aren't you?"

She takes the scabbard. She does not stab Lan with the sword. Instead she just kind of looks at it for a while, for now. She doesn't seem to notice the knife.

But she has noticed one thing. "You're really tense," Rachiel says quietly. "I think that's pretty understandable. I would be too."

"Loren," She looks at the sword. "His brother had an--an accident and my brother died in that accident. He's really awkward around me because of it, I'm pretty sure, but it's not like it's his fault. Or even his brother's. Jugend really pushes people to their breaking point." Pause. "Oh that's just a school of ours."

She looks to Lan. "This was my brother's sword. I'm probably better with it than he was now which is kind of funny to think about. I still have a kid sister back at the capital, and parents."

She looks back down to the scabbard. "I thought for a second you were going to try to kill me, but I guess I was just imagining it." She sets the blade to the side, out of her immediate reach.

"Is there something I can do to get Lydia to trust me? Or is the fact that I'm Gazel--part of the people who put her in this situation to begin with--does that make it impossible?"

<Pose Tracker> Lan Lilac has posed.

There was certainly a time when Lan thought about what kind of person she would marry. She was a child, and it seemed to be just how things were done, and Mama assured her that when she was older she'd know when it happened. She still loves cheap five-gella romance novels, and has a small stack of them on the desk in her room.

Willingly? /Is/ she?

She could have left with the Black Wolves. But even now, even after everything he said, even with his memory getting worse, she still wants to save him from Solaris, from Gebler, from Etrenank and the First Class.

"Yeah. I'm here because I want to be." She watches Rachiel hold the sword quietly. Of course she's tense. She can't remember the last time she felt really relaxed. Even the Star Festival was ruined by something (admittedly, THAT one wasn't Solaris's fault. Probably). "Of course I'm tense. I- you almost got-" I almost got you killed. You were supposed to stay still. We were all supposed to stay still. I hated you. I hated you and Shakhan and Loren and every single person that stole me and Lydia from where we were happy and messed us all up. I hated myself, too. "...You almost died," Lan finishes lamely, and looks away. "I don't want you to die."

And if her hands twitch at her sides when Rachiel names her suspicions, Lan is at least thankful that her hands are below mattress-level. "I never met his brother, but I wish I could. It would've been noce to meet yours too. I don't have any siblings of my own." At least it's a relief to watch Rachiel put away the sword for now.

"Lydia? I think..." What would Lan want? What did she get? What would she do? "...If you can be patient, maybe she'll become fond of you. Maybe she'll depend on you a little. It won't be easy, but I think it would be worth it. It's lonely, not having anybody near."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

It would have been easier. Indeed, if Lan had just left that day--maybe she wouldn't have had to hurt anybody rather than be thinking about if she has to kill Rachiel while she's helpless.

But Rachiel has her own issues. Part of her wonders if she'd even try to defend herself--

"That's very sweet of you to say. I don't want you to die either, Lan."

She looks to the side.

"When you --did your mission, a thought popped into my head: 'Filthy lamb,' I thought. 'How could she put us in danger like that?'. That sort of thing. I always thought I was better than that."

She turns onto her side, suddenly unwilling to look Lan in the eye.

"I acted like I was, anyway, but when push comes to shove... maybe I just don't have what it takes. Being better requires bravery and I'm not brave at all. If you're not brave, all the conviction won't help you when the blade's aimed at you."

"I like to think my brother could've done it. But I guess I'll never know. Not having siblings, I bet that can get pretty lonely."

She is quiet for a moment.

"If you're going to do it, don't let me know it's coming. Otherwise..."

She pauses.

"Otherwise I guess I'll see you around."

<Pose Tracker> Lan Lilac has posed.

Filthy Lamb. When she'd found out that they had a word like that for surfacedwellers, and what that word entailed -- well, she'd still been brainwashed. It hadn't seemed important. It'd been like a funny joke. And then she wasn't, and so it wasn't.

"It's not like... you knew. If that's what it took to make you think something like that..." Lan pauses, struggling to find the words she wants. "And you feel bad about it. We all do things we regret. Stuff that we know isn't 'the real us'."

What would Loren and Rachiel and Leah have been like if they'd been born on the surface?

Would they have been happier?

"And if you're a coward, I am too." She leaves it at that, already not trusting herself to not let secrets slip out. It's dangerous enough just talking to Rachiel. But, impulsively, she reaches out to give the other girl's hand a squeeze.

"I've got something nice to give you. Not because I got you shot, but... because I think you'd like them. So try not to worry too much, okay?"

Before her emotions can get the better of her, Lan leaves the room.