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No title.
(2013-05-29 - Now)
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Alma Hyral Being trapped in sidequest limbo isn't so bad really.

It was a time-honored fantasy character tradition. You got to see the world. You got paid for it. And after leaving the Murasame Zaibatsu, Alma found herself dealing without the challenge of having regular income. While it would have benefitted her more to have savings, she had instead invested most of her munny in her research and several business oppurtunities which had yet to come into fruition.. Once they did, this era of her life would become just a distant memory, but for now she took on odd jobs without complaint. It'd take a lot of income to afford a residence for Kyra and herself in Lower Archades, especially given Kyra's unique.. needs.

Today, she was a short order cook at a cafe in Costa Del Sol. Given that she was currently bereft of her usual attire, she was wearing the white dress Seloria made for her, with a yellow apron around her neck, and tied behind her waist. Her hair was bound up tightly in a bun, as given it's length, it wouldn't have been sanitary to let it down in the kitchen. Her chosen attire wasn't ideal for working in a kitchen.. but she didn't have much else until Selly had finished sewing her a few other outfits, or she had enough to spare to purchase something modest.

The regulars seemed pleased with her cooking, as while she followed the menu as a /guideline/ she was adding in creative little touches that Max had taught her to spice up their lives a notch. Currently, the breakfast hours were over, and she was on break before the lunch rush. She had taken a seat in a booth in the dining room, and drinking from a mug of coffee which had a telltale milky surface to indicate she was particularly fond of cream.
Emi Dennou Shida steps into the cafe, sniffing faintly. She is wearing, yes, a familiar set of white robes. She is, uncharacteristically, not smiling all that much and, indeed, seems to be set firmly in 'neutral'. Still, that food has a familiar scent. She sniffs a few more times as she looks around the dining hall but gradually slows down, especially once she sees Alma Hyral present and accounted for.

It still takes her a moment to recognize Alma without her uniform. How embarrassing! Shida lifts the robe up a bit as she approaches to avoid stepping on it and tripping. Again.

"Alma, why are you working here, Shida of the Network wonders if perhaps you have discovered the joy of living off multiple part time occupations much like The Network (but really mostly Emi)?"
Alma Hyral It took all of a single glance for what little color she had to drain out of her. Being from Ramuha, her skin actually had an almost sickly shade of white, verging on grey. She was inordinantly pale from the constant storms that raged over their continent, so it would be difficult to notice.

It was Shida that asked her the question of why she was working here. But in the back of her mind she almost imagined Feige Abramson asking, 'Why degrade yourself by working here? You could do so much more with your life.. your research.. It's a total waste of your potential' twisting around the question in her mind.

Still, she put on a brave face almost immediately, her voice actually sounding quite calm. She'd gesture with a hand for Shida to join her in the booth opposite to her. "It's good to see you a-again Shida. And you could say that. I'm unemployed right now, so I-I'm having to make up for my l-lack of income. Kyra and I are m-moving to Archades soon and we're h-hoping to afford a place of our own. H-How have you and your s-sisters been?"

She'd smile thinly, raising the cup of coffee to her lips as she took a short sip. As she put it down, she'd ask.. "A-Are you hungry? I c-could make you something."
Emi Dennou Shida makes no comment w/re to Feige. She, at least, doesn't make any comment. Feige doesn't radio either actually. Shida does, however, sit down across from Alma. She seems distracted. And yes, still wearing Alma's clothes. Though Shida calls them Shida's clothes now.

"Oh that's wonderful." Shida smiles faintly. "We were worried, a bit, that you weren't getting along? It is important for sisters to get along." She looks away a bit, biting at her lip momentarily, and then pulling the cowl up and over her head as she settles in.

"Sure...this one could eat. ... Alma, this one was wondering if we could talk, too, a bit about what would normally perhaps be considered private?" She pauses. "--Max taught you how to cook?"
Alma Hyral After her thoughts had moved away from the Mad Scientist. Alma couldn't fail to notice that Shida was still wearing her robes. It brought a sad smile to her lips, as she looked her over. Still, she didn't comment, yet...

She'd nod affably to her.. "Well.. K-Kyra and I have our problems. I was c-close to our f-family and our C-Church. She.. once she learned t-there was more to the w-world than the teachings of C-Cosma Naturalis, she decided she w-wanted little to do with m-most of the family any longer. O-Our father was p-probably about to disown her. But.. we l-love each other, despite our d-differences... S-She does a lot to p-protect me..."

And then the subject moves on to Max, and despite herself... a shiver wracks her body unconsciously. She liked Max, she enjoyed all that she had taught her.. but she was /terrified/ of his teaching methods. She'd had many near death experiences as a result. "S-Sure we can talk about that. M-My mother taught me how to c-cook originally. My f-family didn't watch many vids, but the two of us c-caught our c-cooking shows. I was s-sickly and at home a lot, so the t-two of b-bonded by cooking t-together. M-Max though is trying to t-teach me to become a m-master chef. I'm coming along...but I s-still need to learn more about c-creativity."
Emi Dennou "Max is a pacifist too," Shida says, hesitates, and then adds, "except maybe when it comes to teaching."

Yeah, Max gets a little strange when it comes to passing knowledge on. 'You will either be amazing or a corpse', it's a rather strange methodology isn't it?

"I'm glad to hear that, though," She says, regarding Kyra. "Shida of The Network--The Network in general, even, quite rather worried about that. Sometimes your siblings is all you have, Shida of The Network lectures needlessly."

She glances around again and adds, "Shida of the Network was wondering, what do you consider the appropriate methodology when discovering or treating 'love'-related behaviorisms and emotions when one is a hive mind?
Alma Hyral She shudders once again, "Y-Yes. M-Max.. is a good p-person. And his m-methods are effective but.. I w-wish there was another way to go about it."

Alma would smile at her, "W-Well.. our l-little family is g-growing whether she likes it or not.. it i-isn't always just the p-people you're r-related to, even if you f-feel a special connection. Me and S-Selly are like sisters to each o-other too.."

And then a very unusual question passed her way.. and she'd consider it for a time, before stating, "It d-depends. I d-don't know the s-situation.. is y-your.. w-well the p-person who is in l-love with you in l-love with o-one of you or the w-whole network? I d-don't know m-much about l-love S-Shida, and y-yours is a u-unique situation. I'm not a g-girl the boys pay much a-attention to. E-Everything I know c-comes from w-watching the world pass me by, or from s-sappy love songs and n-novels. The b-best advice I can give you is.. l-let them know your e-expectations, your h-heart. Be y-yourselves. I-If they l-love you, then t-they'll try to make you h-happy. And you'll r-reciprocate t-that."

After she is given the go ahead in our radio, she takes a deep breath, closing her eyes for a moment, before starting to speak, "I w-wanted to ask you and your s-sisters something p-personal w-which is s-somewhat related to y-your question. H-Having been... b-bullied, for a g-good portion of my life, I k-know what's the c-consequences are l-like when not c-conforming to societal e-expectations, when p-people a-aren't at ease a-around you b-because you're.. d-different. You and your s-sisters are uniquely d-different, given that you are a n-network, and e-each of you is a n-node.. so I was w-wondering.." She toys with the handle of her coffee cup, looking down into it, "...p-please don't be o-offended but.. do you all a-act d-differently to put p-people at ease s-socially? To m-make them t-think you're m-more individuals than you a-actually are?"
Emi Dennou This is a whole lot of stammering. It actually interferes somewhat with comprehension. Part of Shida wants to seize Alma up, shake repeatedly, and scream, 'RELAX ALREADY!!!!'. Shida has, however, considered that this may be counterproductive.

"The whole network." She explains. "...But that doesn't mean the whole network loves her back, Shida of the Network is compelled to explain further."

Shida tilts her head as Alma asks her own question, however, and frowns sympathetically when she's mentioned she's been bullied. She is human enough to understand that. She rests a hand on Alma's.

"Yes." Shida says. "Generally speaking. Why do you ask? One example is that we do not need to talk in order to communicate with one another, but we often act out our conversations for the ease and convenience of others. Not all the time, of course."
Alma Hyral Actually.. Shida's answer did serve to put her more at ease.. however she kept toying with the handle of the coffee cup. Perhaps she was.. disappointed? Or was she just more introspective?

"...I'm not sure I u-understand."

And then there's a follow up, "Your two s-statements.. seems paradoxical. But maybe I'm just i-ignorant."

She'd take a sip from the coffee cup, then place it back down, turning it within her hands as she considered, "I-If your individual p-personalities are mostly to put people at ease... t-that implies you're more of a hive m-mind and the individual nodes r-reactions are more in line with that.. uniform d-decision to h-have different p-personalities.. but t-that you all f-feel the same way, r-respond the same way i-internally..."

She looks up to Shida, looking her in the eyes, "If the w-whole network doesn't love her b-back. Then how could you n-not be individuals? Or do you act like you don't all l-love her back, just to m-maintain her perception of i-individuality?"

And now came the lie, or at least half-truth. She was terrible at lying in general... She wore her heart on her sleeves. So she held her breath, as she answered, "I'm m-merely interested on your nature. So I can b-better understand you."
Emi Dennou Shida says, "We are not without individuality entirely. You are seeing us as a set of cloned brains that should either think the same thoughts, or think different thoughts. However, that is not how we operate. The Network is a network. Therefore, it is only natural that different nodes develop individual characteristics in order to better the whole. Imi practiced love for us, for example, whereas Umi and Omi have trained to be more physically adept, while Emi reads a lot, Shida of the Network wonders if this explains? We share these experiences, but the ones who experience these experiences are still the experiencees."

That last bit probably isn't even a word, but she tries anyway.

"A hivemind where every entity behaves the same would be a very inefficient mind. Treat us like one brain. We serve different functions, though there is overlap and redundancy in the system, but we are still fundamentally one being. Names are something we developed rather recently..." Shida smiles. "But we've gotten rather attached to them. Shida of the Network is the only one to have ever been detached due to an acute case of death and afterlife."

Shida adds, a bit grumpily, "We informed her of our position. She is aware we do not all feel that way."

"But some affectations...are neccessary to properly communicate with those around us."
Alma Hyral Alma would nod thoughtfully at this, her voice even calmer as she repeats back her understanding of it "So even if you were originally all of the s-same template.. you have developed each in your own way, as part of a mutual decision to better the whole. You each have d-diverged, and have your own interests which are.. seperate, despite the information filtering back to all of you. Your e-experiences are what define each of you as individuals."

She might have responded to the rest of it, but her focus on the conversation is shattered by one particular part.. "W-What? You.. you d-died? What was the a-afterlife like?" She inquires, her interest suddenly growing.

There is a measured pause, as she considers the coffee cup, "And w-what was her response? Does she m-mind?"

And then, perhaps realizing that the conversation had gone on for some time, she'd state, "Oh, I apologize, you w-wanted something to eat didn't you? Can I get you a-anything? What would you like?"
Emi Dennou Shida shrugs her shoulders a bit. She isn't really a scientist, Dennous think about what they are frequently enough, but like plenty of folks they usually instinctively feel they understand what they are, though they have explained it many times, some parts do appear paradoxical and Shida has enough on her mind.

"Terrifying." She answers Alma. "We do not suggest dying."

She shakes her head. "She does not mind. She sees us as one."
Alma Hyral She'd merely offer Shida a sad smile, "We're all g-going to die one day, Shida. I might p-pass on sooner than you think..."

She'd get up, walk to the other side of the booth, sits down, and wraps her arms around her in an embrace.. "T-Then.. I hope she makes some of you v-very happy."

She'd take a deep breath, "When I saw you again...I t-thought that I might ask for my clothes back. I'd never intended to g-give them away, they were taken from me but.. keep them, t-they're a gift now."
Emi Dennou Shida says, "If you die, we will see if we can get Hades to bring you back." She isn't sure she can pay any such price like that, however, but she'd at least--gulp--visit and try.

Shida goes silent when Alma mentions the clothes, she looks down at the table and doesn't say a thing. Not for a while. She mumbles a faint 'please...' in the middle there, but Alma eventually gives up on them.

Shida smiles suddenly. "Really? Truly? The Network does not refuse or return gifts, we provide this warning (though it's too late there was never any intention of returning them anyway)!"

She returns the hug tightly. "...I hope so too. This one found it embarrassing and a bit dull."
Alma Hyral Alma looks puzzled, "I.. H-Hades? From O-Olympia? I s-studied some of that world's star c-charts..w-what sort of deals does he make?"

And she'd breathe out a sigh, but still offer a smile at Shida's way, "T-Take care of them. They were the last thing I had... of my p-parents. My s-sister hated those old things. Our p-parents dressed us in them all the t-time at home. I know they're f-frumpy, d-dowdy, a pain, and that they got me b-bullied more often than not b-because I was so c-conservative. But... t-there's still a lot of love in them."

She presses one finger against her nose lightly, "And now that l-love gets passed on. It's j-just for you. A-Another experience you can say belongs solely to S-Shida."

She drops the finger, and slowly stands back up. "As for the one that s-some of you love.. may those e-experiences remain.. yours, in the same way. M-Maybe.. if only certain n-nodes of the network love her, then those e-experiences should remain solely for those nodes. I i-imagine you can control what e-experiences you share. The r-rest of you can talk about it sure... but some things should r-remain between lovers, out of respect for that."
Emi Dennou Parental love...

...might as well be a unicorn to the Dennous, they're slightly less mythical. Shida was serious about holding onto these robes, but was she serious enough to literally take the last remembrance of someone's parents? No, she's ultimately kind and heartful.

"...You can have it back." Shida says after a moment's thought. "This one was not aware it belonged to your parents and apologizes profusely. This one is appreciative, but we cannot take this from you. This one will remember though, Shida of the Network promises."
Alma Hyral She tilts her head to the side, peering at her with a sad smile, "You don't have to Shida.. they're my gift to you. They didn't belong to my parents.. my parents gave them to me. And there's no need to apologize, you didn't know. Now you long as you keep that in mind, they can stay yours. I'm just a little sentimental sometimes, that's all...Maybe one day.. I can tell you more of our faith. Those robes were a mark of the faith which we belonged to....but since I'm the only one left..."

She'd look down at her feet, "Well... there's not as much point upholding traditions if I'm the only one left that remembers them, adheres to them..."
Emi Dennou "This one wouldn't say that. If you are the only one, then keeping the traditions alive may be all the more important. This one does not know them, but would be happy to listen." Shida smiles. "...Since you've given us something so precious. we will take good care of it and not trip over the robes again."

She probably won't defect or anything but she'd like to listen. Shida is a good listener. She loves life. "And this one will take good care of them, in case you need them back one day, and because you are an incredible friend, Alma. The Network would like to thank you for your earlier warning. Could this one have waffles?"
Alma Hyral "Thank you Shida.."

She'd look away at the incredible friend part. She knew she was holding her tongue for their sakes... but she always felt guilty that she had to, with the stakes so very high...

"Shida..I'll make you the best waffles you've ever had..well unless Max has made you some before, then they'll be the second best.."


There's a huge plate of waffles made from scratch, which are lightly batter fried, with cream cheese in the middle of every pair of them, as if they were sandwiches. Nestled around them are whole strawberries. All in front of Shida.
Emi Dennou The Network is aware that Alma is holding her tongue for some reason or another, that's why they said they wanted to thank her for that 'earlier warning', ie: the warning that was sent via email. But they leave it at that. Too much prying seems dangerous. Either to Alma or to themselves. So they aren't going to say any more.

"These look great, Alma!" Shida says, cheering up considerably.



This scene contained 20 poses. The players who were present were: Emi Dennou, Alma Hyral