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No title.
(2013-07-28 - 2013-08-05)
No description.
Alma Hyral It took her a few hours to extricate herself from an overly affectionate boy that decided to sleep in her bed.

Sanel had apparently never heard of personal space, but she'd been too tired to complain about it. Her past three days hadn't exactly been restful. So she just went with it, it was pretty innocent after all. After she got up, while leaving him still in bed, and got ready for the day, she finished putting the final touches on a pair of starlike charms that sat out on a table, crafted from obsidian and moonstone, before she moved over to the kitchen and started to bake.

She'd made herself a modest lunch on the stove of a grilled roastbeef and cheddar sandwich before the kitchen was entirely taken up by the task of cooking pies. A certain pie incident recently got her in the mood to start baking confectionary treats again. Right now she was dressed in a pretty modest yellow sundress, allowing her hair to flow freely, unbound behind her. While the pies cooked, she sat at a table at the kitchen counter, tapping keys idly on her laptop, while a sappy tune played on it from a low volume for ambient music.

BGM Change:

Outside the apartment door the two guards stationed there just looked at each other, and shook their heads. Oh well, at least one of the benefits to this job was the good food she tended to feed them. Each one was taking turns working at a grilled roastbeef and cheddar of their own.
Saitei Dennou "Say, those look nice," comments someone female from outside. Someone female has her hand on the door, apparently, before they manage to extract themselves from sandwiches and stop her. "What? It's open, isn't it? This one just wanted to talk to Alma, what's wrong w-- hey!"

They're professionals, who guard doors for Alma Hyral, and impede this intruder in a supremely polite manner; this intruder, for her part, does not pitch a fit. The lights flicker, and the network connection on Alma's laptop drops, just for a second, though. Strange.

"If she's in," it's hard to mistake the voice of Saitei Dennou now that she's pitching it for public consumption, "this one asks if you could see if she'll see a visitor? Please?" There. She's asked nicely, now, they have to let her in. It's the rules.
Alma Hyral They are professionals. Which means they actually almost, /almost/ drop their sandwiches to do their job.

But dangit all if those sandwiches were just as nice as they said.

One of them checked a PDA against the description of the 'assassin' that had actually made a previous attempt on Alma's life. It was a perfect match. This caused him to do a double take, and he might have even radio'ed it in, if the door hadn't opened about this moment.

To a smiling Alma Hyral. "Oh Saitei, good to see you again, would you like to come in?" One of the guards cleared his throat, which caused Alma to look between him, and back at Saitei before stating, "Oh. No, she's not /that/ individual. That was the Beetleborg. Two entirely different entities." The guard protested, "Ma'am, their description is a perfect match.."

Alma just smiled patiently, "Oh it's cool. This is just a popular hairstyle nowadays where she's from. Haven't you seen those younger girls around my apartment with the same style? But yeah, not the same person. No super powerful time magicking going on from her, else I'd already be dead, and you probably would be too."

The guard looks skeptical, "Well at least let one of us come in to watch over you.." Alma chuckles, and waves him off, "No, I'd prefer you not be intimidating my guests. But thank you for looking out for my welfare."

The guard looks between the two, before letting out a long-suffering sigh and waving Saitei in, glaring at her the whole time, before they shut the door behind her.

Once they were in the kitchen, she turned up the music slightly, "So that was pretty close, how are you doing, Saitei? What brings you to Archades?" She picks up a pieholder, and takes out one of the pies from the oven, leaving it near one of the vents set up to ventilate Kyra's experiments to cool.
Saitei Dennou Those are all true statements, you know. She is a totally different entity from the Beetle. Saite puts on her most innocent smile for the guards, until they give up and abandon Alma to her mercy. "Oh, just in the area, this one lies blatantly." That was probably a joke; Saitei is grinning, anyways. She seems a little more legible than her sisters in that regard. Seems.

"No, you were out the last" seven "time" s "but Dennou really wanted to talk to you, so she came back." /Really/ wanted to, do you know. Although now maybe the pie has her interest; while she devotes herself to a study of it, she continues, "This Dennou did leave, too, she emphasizes; they're even worse than Manhattan here." On vagrancy, one presumes.
Alma Hyral The smell of hot apple pie /may/ escape the ventilation just enough to waft over to Saitei's nostrils. Alma takes off the oven mitt and turns around to face her, her smile warm, "That was pretty blatant!" She states, cheerily.

"And yeah, just.. had some things that needed to be dealt with." For a moment her expression looks abstracted, before she shakes it off, smiling at her cheerfully once again. "...anyhow, sorry that I was out. What would you like to talk about?"

There's a short pause, as she considers that, "Well you may want to stop in on Shida and Cronus while you're here. If Cronus doesn't mind that is. They've been hanging around Archades lately. Just be careful if you do. He is pretty grumpy and irritable sometimes."
Saitei Dennou That causes a slight derailment; "/Cronus?/ No, I" a pause of several beats while the track is cleared. "This one has no questions for Cronus. Just for you." She had, at any rate. She'll have to find them again, now. She sets her purse down carefully next to a chair, where it jingles a bit.

" can... probably understand how confusing you are, if you think about it. This one believes you could, anyways." Saitei steps not quite into arm's reach of Alma; that warm, buzzing feeling of a high static field has been filling the room since she walked in, but it seems to tone /down/ now, strangely. Perhaps it's just equalized.
Alma Hyral Noting the reaction in regards to Cronus, her expression falls slightly and she decides not to bring it up again. "I umm. I understand." And then on an almost lame attempt to change the subject, "Nice purse, very stylish by the way... I've um, never had one of my own."

And then Saitei steps within arm's length of her. And it's almost an uncomfortable invasion of her personal space, as the low static buzz in the room raises a few hairs on the back of her neck to stand on end, but Alma's smile doesn't waver as the electrical field ebbs and flows, "I.. well, confusing is probably a very diplomatic way to put it.." She chuckles, "...eccentric is another one. I use that one often myself. But, what exactly are you confused upon? Is there something I can clarify for you?"
Saitei Dennou That, too, is confusing, Alma's stoic lack of reaction, but it helps to cement in Saitei's mind that there must be something special about the girl. Something. "Have you had a feeling, ever, with nothing attached to it? Something you knew, but you never learned?" She shouldn't stand there looming if she wants answers, should she?

She pulls up the same chair she's set her bag next to, and takes a seat. Now she isn't buzzing around the place, she looks exhausted; maybe she always does, though. Would Alma remember? "This one remembers meeting you. Remembers being sent to meet you. Remembers what she said to you." She looks up to Alma, without expression. "Why, do you suppose?"
Alma Hyral That question gives the girl considerable pause, and for a while she stands there, her expression abstracted, "Like it came from a fading dream? Sometimes.. I get that feeling. Glimpses of knowledge that I never cared to know, but they are fragments, piecemeal at best.. and then gone. Like I never knew it in the first place." She hesitates, but eventually sits down at one of the stools around the counter. With an odd sort of tenuousness, she changes the tracks on the computer so that two are playing at the same time. Strangely, while one is light-hearted music, the other is like ambient noise from a distant rainfall, the occasional sound of thunder as well, a strange contrast:

BGM change:

The girl folds her arms on the table, for a moment, before one hand strays up to her temples. She seems infinitely exhausted as well. "And do you remember trying to kill me as well? And my friends while within her lair.." There is a measured pause, "I don't know. Maybe Doctor Abramson never thought you'd be free. Never thought you'd seperate yourself from the taint of.. the blot. People that arrogant often can't fathom matters not working out exactly as they planned. Or maybe she could, and was so sick and twisted that she wanted you to live with that..."

Her other hand strays out, finding it's way into Saitei's. Her hand seems very small and delicate, almost frail. But she squeezes Saitei's nevertheless, "...either way, it wasn't you, then. And I don't hold it against you."
Saitei Dennou You shouldn't ought to mention the Doctor to Saitei; she doesn't like thinking about her. She has /feelings/ about Feige Abramson. Feelings that are /hers/. She doesn't like them much, but they're almost all she's got.

She's become used to the struggle, in these last few months. "You wouldn't forget that sort of thing, would you? This one doesn't think she could. Should." Saitei shakes her head, but her tone remains flat. Disinterested. Disenchanted. She watches Alma play with MogTube Doubler, quietly, and listens as her victim lays out her case.

No, she has feelings about Feige, and even if they aren't very nice, she doesn't entirely like listening to the rest of the world object to her. Her bony hand is tense when Alma takes it, and the distant thunder seems to draw closer.

(BGM Addition: )

"You say that it wasn't m... you tell this one that she isn't the one who did all of that, but it's not true, you know." She turns her free hand over a few times, inspecting it as if it might turn against her. "When you fought the Beetle, you fought Saitei Dennou. If you're speaking to Saitei Dennou, you're speaking to the Blot. Aren't you?"
Alma Hyral She hasn't quite gotten the hang of it. It was rather hard for her to divorce Saitei from thoughts of Doctor Abramson. After all Abramson did to her... did to Saitei. But she does seem to understand that those memories have sharp edges. After all.. her own did.

There's a short pause as she considers her words, "...not if I had the option. But the human mind doesn't always, work like I want it too. Sometimes things fall through it like water through a sieve... there was a day not long ago that I felt like I could use a firearm like some expert marksman when I saw one in the marketplace. I could tell myself everything about it. And /knew/ that if I had lifted it, then I'd have been able to handle it with ease. Then only a few days was like I hadn't held one in my entire life. As I haven't. I'm not sure what happened. It was like... something out of a dream."

And then she looks up to regard her with a sort of quiet intensity, her opposite hand pushing up her glasses, ".....if it isn't true, then it isn't true. And if I'm speaking to the Beetle, and the Blot. Then I'm speaking to the Beetle, and the Blot, and Saitei Dennou. And it makes no difference to me."
Saitei Dennou "You make less sense than my sisters do," Saitei renders a scathing denouncement. But she smiles, a little. "And if you say that, it's good, it's wonderful, you know?" Without apparent emotion. Exhausted. "But what should this one /do/? Besides upset your guards and frighten your sister. Because, sh... because someth..."

Saitei makes a supreme effort. "Because /I/ need to know." She shouldn't be able to say that, she doesn't think, but why let that stop her? Her grip on Alma's hand tightens. "You should be killed, because mother thought so. She didn't say why. It was never important. Perhaps just to hurt your friends, wouldn't that be awful? To be struck down just as a means to an end? Not for your own value? Wouldn't it?"
Alma Hyral She almost could have winced when she said that, and for a moment her face twitches, but then it smoothes out and she chuckles, "Well. I guess sometimes that is the case. Your sisters often make sense to me, so maybe that makes me even more of an oddball?"

But then Saitei becomes a little more intense, and squeezes her hand in a very uncomfortable manner, but she doesn't withdraw her hand, despite the increase in pressure. "...because I was no longer convenient as a social science experiment. She was manipulating me all along to have time to create, and test you. Lying to me, that if I didn't cooperate with her then she'd kill a Legion node in her laboratory. That Legion node was long dead, but I didn't know that. So I kept silent. And then once she felt that it was time, she tried to kill me." She shrugs her shoulders, "Maybe she thought because of the nature of my faith, that I'd be uniquely opposed to her plans for the Blot as well. I, don't, know."

There's a long pause, with her eyes closed tightly, where she seems to be trying to compose herself and her thoughts. "...I'd have thought it awful for her to have succeeded, sure. But in the end, her reason doesn't matter to me. All I cared about was preserving a life. Legion-Omega's originally, until I found out she was long dead. And then yours, once I learned what you were."
Saitei Dennou "Hah!" There's no mirth in that laugh. "...hah." Or that. "That... is no worse than this one had feared, really." Noticing at last that she's crushing the poor girl's fingers, Saitei releases Alma, and, white-knuckled, folds her hands in her lap. "She must have respected you a lot." Feared. Respected. What's the difference? "That will just be one more mystery, probably."

There's no comfort for Saitei to offer here, though Alma looks like she needs it desperately. It'll be all she can do to avoid piling anything else on. "...maybe it'd be best if you did forget about all of that, Saitei supposes." She moves, just fractionally, as if to stand, to leave. "No sense in tearing two people up with it."
Alma Hyral Alma makes no move to rub her fingers, despite the fact that they're screaming in pain. Instead she just moves them out of sight, the soft white glow of a regeneration spell tingling within them to ease the pain, if Saitei is able to sense that. There is a hint of mirth in her tone at first, but then it becomes flat over time, "Respected me? At first maybe, she showed a distinct interest in my work. But then once she knew about my.. morals? Then she considered me wasted potential. There was a time when it felt like she was testing me, trying to see if she could cause me to stray from my course but... she stopped trying after my resignation. She asked me if I'd be willing to do things for her, like bring her world shards, else she'd kill my sister. Or whether I'd be willing to stab Emi through the heart, to save my sister's life. Sick and twisted little moral quandarys like that..."

Once her hand stops throbbing, the glow fades, and she puts her elbows back up on the counter, hands folded, "...I'm not sure if I can forget it, but the past is the past. And I'm more than ready to move on.." She tilts her head just slightly as she notes her getting up to leave, "There's no need for you to go yet, stay.. if you'd like.. maybe we can talk on happier subjects."

She motions to the pie under the ventilation duct they'd set up for some of Kyra's experiments. "...the pie has almost cooled if you'd like some."
Saitei Dennou Pie! Yes. Happier subjects. Like pie. "Sick and twisted little moral quandries, like whether someone would like some of your pie, this one isn't sure why you'd even ask." That draws a smile out of Saitei, at least.

She didn't arrive on Alma's convenience, gracious host though she is, and probably didn't mean to leave upon it, either, but the invitation is nice, certainly. "Don't you have a sister, too? Is she here?" She'd have seen her if she was, or at least the hoods would've been occupied with something other than delicious pie, she suspects.
Alma Hyral Pie makes everything better. She knows this from experience.

Though she was having increasingly weird dreams as of late about a man in a labcoat throwing pies at her. They were quite delicious. She removes the pie from beneath the source of ventilation, having used it because well? Opening a window in Archades tended to make for one uncomfortably hot apartment. And then she retrieves a knife, and starts to cut it into slices. "Believe it or not, people have refused my freshly baked pie before." She then puts the pie on a small ceramic plate, and takes out a fork.

Then she removes a tub of icecream from the icebox, and puts a scoop of vanilla icecream on it, then slides a plate in front of Saitei. A moment later she shrugs her shoulders, "Kyra.. comes and goes as she pleases. If she wants to tell me what she's doing then she will, if not then she won't. It's something I've learned not to question. We do have a houseguest right now but he's asleep."

She then repeats the same action for herself, and soon, she's digging into pie. Eventually she turns off the music, just leaving the ambient sounds of rain and thunder playing throughout the apartment. It was quite comforting to her.
Saitei Dennou Saitei lacks the required background knowledge to make any Hyral-related cooking jokes; in any case, there's nothing funny about this pie. She applies herself to it with suitable enthusiasm. You always find yourself wondering if the girl remembers to eat, looking at her, and her assault on dessert doesn't help the impression.

"This one had just wondered, was all," she acknowledges, some many moments later. She needn't trouble herself over any other guests, although it does suggest that she ought to leave when she leaves, as it were. "Is that... what is that, in the filling? The spicing is different." It was clarified as apple, I'm not losing my mind, good. She's going to restrain herself to pie-related questions until she figures out what she's actually going to ask. "This one asks as though she knows anything about cooking."
Alma Hyral She smiles a little as she looks up from the pie with the fork still in her mouth, she extracts it, and chews for a while, swallowing before she answers. "It's apple in the filling. There's something to how it's spiced that makes it especially good. It takes the right combination.. Yeah. Then the crust is homemade, not storebought.. the rest? It's just paying pretty meticulous attention to what you're doing. Good ingredients, good training, some creativity..and ability to experiment. That's all it takes to cook."

There's a short pause as she considers something. Maybe some anecdote about cooking from her childhood but she decides not to. The Dennous didn't respond well to stories about parents. Saitei probably even less so. "...Well, Kyra doesn't either, but she's pretty self-aware. Turns every single pie she makes into a science experiment, or a biological weapon instead. So fair warning. Don't touch anything at the back of the fridge marked with a biohazard sign."
Saitei Dennou The fume hood and solvent still were actually sort of homey, as her home was a biochem research complex, but this domestic talk is so very wonderfully distant from the concerns that dragged Saitei here that she's desperate to continue it. "The Network is good at following recipes, at least." Or someone around the Agency is, anyways, because food keeps happening in the kitchen. Saitei is strictly a consumer.

"Shouldn't you have a separate one for samples? All the lab fridges had 'NOT FOR FOOD' engraved on them, this one recalls." They did, but that didn't stop Feige or anyone else from sticking their lunch in them. Or warming their tea on the stir plates.
Alma Hyral "Oh, can the Network cook? I always thought it was Max doing the cooking. They're very close." Close enough that she doubted that Max would put them through DEATH COOKING training courses to teach them. To Alma it wasn't exactly /homey/ necessarily, but it was comfortable. The small talk is also quite comfortable as Alma continues it purely to take Saitei's thoughts away from grim subjects for a while.

She considers that for a time, tapping a fork against her plate idly, causing the tinging and scraping sound of tapping cutlery, "...probably, but we don't have much space right now. We're kind of making do with what we have."

Another short pause, "So. What sort of hobbies do you have? Do you like any kind of movies? What about music?" She tilts her head a little at her, regarding her with interest...
Saitei Dennou Saitei may have lost that warm fuzzy feeling at some point in the questioning; she matches Alma's interest with apprehension. "Will showed, uh, showed us a bunch of films, this one remembers. And the guards used to watch all kinds of stuff. Didn't like most of it." All action movies and college humor, the sort of thing you'd expect a bunch of dumb security types to watch. And their music was all loud and teenaged, too.

"This one prefers... quiet music. Like, you know. You played some earlier, it was nice." This one doesn't seem to prefer music at all, honestly. "It's... look." Maybe this wasn't as harmless a line as we thought. "Just not doing anything is actually nice, do you know. Because nobody is making m, m, me."
Alma Hyral "Well ever watch a romance film? Or something along the lines of science fiction? Or maybe fantasy is more your..." Ah, she starts to clue in when she mentions that the guards used to watch all sorts of stuff.

When she mentions quiet music. Alma reaches over to the laptop and turns on a very different song instead:

BGM Change:

"Like this one?" And then there's a short pause, before she puts a warm smile on her face. "Well you don't have to do anything you don't want to. There's no pressure here. Just.. if there's something you want to do, and like doing.. or something you want to learn to do. Let me know. Maybe I can help you with it. Or if you just want to keep doing nothing at all. Talking about nothing at all. We can do that too."
Saitei Dennou The whole problem with music for Saitei Dennou is that she has to listen to it. The whole problem with everything for Saitei Dennou is that she has to listen to it. She was built from the ground up as a receiver, you know. If Alma really did put that on repeat, she might be here a while.

No, though, the piece does luckily have a nicely-defined coda, enough for the Network repeater to haul herself out of it after only two passes. She gives Alma a look as though that should explain everything about her and music. "'s pretty," she allows, and seems saddened that she's going to be forcing herself to ignore it now. "It's pretty, but it's too much." A hum, just maddeningly detuned from G#, washes over the speakers briefly; Saitei looks briefly panicked and guilty, and it vanishes with almost a tangible snap, leaving just a music-box melody and a tense atmosphere.

"It would be so wonderful if, if, if, /I/ could just think about nothing." Saitei adds, muttered, "so /hard/ to say it"
Alma Hyral Alma watches her for a while, her expression full of intensity as she gauges her reaction, when she says it's pretty Alma smiles, "I'm glad you lik.." And then she says it's too much, and Alma immediately starts to reach to turn it off. The hum washes over the speakers, and she wincees visibly, right before she touches the button to turn it off.

"...then let's just sit in silence. And think about nothing. But that's always hard. Just.. try to relax, clear your head. Do some breathing exercises. Focus on nothing but the breathing.. then nothing at all." Saitei would get the strange impression that Alma literally just did flip.. a light switch in her head. After a moment, there's nothing but the sound of her breathing to even indicate she's present at all. Her eyes were completely unfocused.
Saitei Dennou Teach fish to swim. Saitei owes Alma enough politeness not to yank her out of a trance, though, despite the urge to do a thing to her while she's out.

I said that, at the beginning, but meditation isn't really something this Dennou is skilled with; she practices a more selective filtering of her various inputs, instead. She must do, or she wouldn't be able to function, with her gain cranked the way it is. Distance makes it easier to deal with crosstalk from the Network, but Alma did say that Shida is in town somewhere, and we all know how noisy Shida is.

"...but, who would switch m, me back on, if I switched off that way?"
Alma Hyral Luckily Alma actually snaps back rather quickly.

There's a very good reason for that, one which she won't go into here. But after a moment she... just seems to comprehend everything again. For a while her eyes still seem unfocused.

There's a short time where she just stares at Saitei in this manner. Seeing her but not seeing her, looking past her, through her, before she eventually responds in a very muted voice, "I learned to turn myself back on. It took three days the first time." A very short pause, "I think I was very close to not coming back...."
Saitei Dennou It's just not for her, though. "That's terrifying, you know." Maybe that's where Alma was last time Saitei came to visit? "That's worse than the noise. You can have that." She pushes, incidentally, her empty plate aside a bit; probably just fidgeting.

"...You could...turn the music on again, yes. That would be nice." She manages a faint smile. "This one will find somewhere out of the way to sit."
Alma Hyral Alma sits back and pushes back her glasses, "It is.. terrifying. And believe it or not.. It's not silence."

"'s actually a very lovely song. Just not one I can share easily. So I guess you're right." Alma presses a button on her computer, and the music box like tune comes back on. She takes another idle bite of her pie, her expression abstracted, "You can stay in Kyra's room tonight, she's not here.. if you want to lay down. She has none of her things in there."
Saitei Dennou That's not really all that strange, even if it might strike someone that way; certainly, Saitei is used to her own sisters being in and out of the place whenever for whatever reasons. She nods, however. "Just for the evening. You don't need this one cluttering you up."

She doesn't seem to have brought anything but herself and a purse full of scrap metal, but maybe that's how she always travels. Who knows? For now, just as she said, she'll sit and enjoy the music.

This scene contained 30 poses. The players who were present were: Alma Hyral, Saitei Dennou