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No title.
(2013-03-29 - 2013-03-30)
No description.
Maira Maira trots on up to VALKYRI HQ riding her new chocobo, still un-named. She simply could not seem to think of a name that suited such a beautiful, majestic creature! She's ask Avira. Avira would know what to name the bird, she was sure of it.

Maira scurries inside, not remaining out too long. She's always on her guard since she'd met that Dark Knight. He'd said he'd be back. She lay awake at night sometimes, thinking he'd come.

Shivering at the thought, Maira enters and heads right for the basement to see if TRON were there yet, eventually taking a seat to wait.

She reaches into her pocket then, pulling out a small box, which she turns over in her hands while she waits, her lips pursed.
Avira Avira can be found inside. She sits at the main table, books and rocks sprawled out upon it. Mimir sits there as well, though he seems to be in sleep mode at the moment. Probably all the better for TRON, really. Also on the table is the short note that Vespa left behind, announcing her resignation.

She looks distant, deep in thought as she stares at one of the books, but stirs when Maira enters. She lifts from her seat and follows after her as they head for the basement.

"Hey." she greets, sounding subdued. "How was your trip?"
Maira Maira blinks, looking up. Had she seriously walked right by Avira!? Darn ninja-like woman! Maira stands, hiding the box behind her back, grinning brightly at the sight of her friend. "Avira! It was...well, the sun is real nice, isn't it? I wish we got sunshine here. It was fine though, some interesting things...but how are you? You look a lot better," she said, moving closer.
Avira To be fair, Avira had been very quiet! Very lost in thought. She, of course, was just this thing. Much to her dismay, while her little foray into adventuring had been fun and enlightening, she still returned to the problems plaguing their little group. Magnified now that Vespa had left.

"We need to get out of Traverse Town more often anyway." she mentions, looking up to her friend with a sad smile, "I didn't make that 'must enjoy travel' rule for nothing."

How was she? "I'm feeling a bit better." she notes, "I finally visited Manhattan. It was nice."
Maira Maira's smile grows, nodding. "I'm glad. I actually...visited Manhattan too, before I came back here. I got something," she says, beginning to look embarrassed. "I know that you are feeling down and I know things haven't been great and that you are worried about VALKYRI, but I hoped I could get you something to help you feel better," she says, then moves her hand out from behind her back and hands Avira the box.

"I hope you don't think its stupid...." Maira says, flushing.

Inside, Avira would find a necklace, one of those silver hearts broken in half that said "best" on one side and "friends" on the other. Avira has the "Best" side. No one really bothered to tell Maira that stopped being cool about the day one turned 12.
Avira Ah, so that's why Maira was standing so oddly. Avira can't help but chuckle a little as the younger girl brings out the box. "It's all true. I'm so worried." Also feeling down but she didn't feel like reiterating that point. It came with the territory of feeling like the group was slipping away from her.

She opens the box and sees that necklace in there, easily recognizing what it is. As a child, she had seen them on other kids and in movies. Never on herself though. "No, it's not stupid at all." she says, her eyes growing misty as she picks it out of the box with thin fingers. Her free hand reaches out to pull Maira close and hug her tight.

"Thank you, Maira."
Maira Maira sniffles, and wraps her arms around Avira and hugs her tightly. "You're welcome. I have the other half of course...heh," she says, pulling back but keeps her hands on Avira's shoulders.

"Listen Avira. We are going to find Vespa, figure out what's going on, bring her back, and everything is going to be --fine-- okay? Things maybe can't go back to being exactly as they were, but change is inevitable right? Sometimes, it is good, or you can at least...make it good, right? My world is gone, that's not good...but, if not for that I'd never have met you or anyone else so--Lets just...stick together and try to do our best, okay?"
Avira A faint sigh of relief escapes her as Maira hugs her. Avira lets her eyes close and with the squeezing, she tries to push her sorrow out of her. Things would look up. Eventually.

"I'd be okay with fine." she murmurs, putting the box to the necklace on the table. The rest of it she fumbles with until she gets the clasp off and the necklance around her neck. She smiles at her sadly. "We'll just take it one day at a time. But..for future note, should anything big happen like that, let me break the news to my friends that need to know, alright?"

It'd at least head off a future Angantyr incident. Maybe.
Maira Maira nods, looking down. "Of course...I'm sorry Avira," she says, hoping it is water under the bridge now. Even Angan knows he was a big jerk to her. He /would/ come around.

Maira pulls her half of the necklace out of her shirt, smiling lightly. "So...since TRON isn't here yet....want to meet my chocobo? I was hoping you'd help me name him. I can't think of a thing!"
Avira Avira slips the necklace under her shirt where, incidentally, her other necklace still is. It's that faintly glowing crystal-or it was a faintly glowing crystal. That crystal doesn't glow anymore, the light she had put in there gone from there as well. Mickey's little contribution also became a donation to Manhattan. He'd probably like that.

Honestly, Avira doesn't know what to think about Angantyr after that outburst. She certainly didn't want to talk to him for any reason besides business now.

"Sure." she says, wondering about TRON. Maybe he had a Program thing to do? Programs were mysterious.
Maira They sure were! Well, Maira would lead the way back upward and then outside, where she has left her chocobo just standing there. For a thing found in the wild not long ago, he was incredibly obedient. Probably because Maira spoiled him rotten.

She moves to him and reaches up to start lavishing her attention upon him, which he apparently appreciates. He's a bright red, the color of flame or fresh blood. "Isn't he beautiful?"
Avira When she sees Maira's chocobo, the first thing that really strikes Avira is the color. She'd been expecting yellow since that was the common color. "It's red." she exclaims with surprise.

Without missing a beat, she adds, "Name him Mao."
TRON TRON couldn't face either Maira nor Avira like /that/. Bad enough he scared them with his whining over the radio, but to show anything short of what they'd come to expect from him... No. It's better this way. It has to be.

He can't handle anything less.

The girls come and go, patching up their own friendship without really noticing the still black figure hiding in the deep shadows of the lab behind all the equiptment. He didn't make his presence known--and it's easy to do when you're not human and don't need to breathe or something like that--and remains still even after they depart. At least that has been fixed... that isn't going to fall apart...

The figure shakes his helmeted head firmly and finally emerges from his hiding spot amongst the electronics, slowly scaling the stairs to see what it is that's caught their attention while waiting on him. He leans against the doorjam, staring at the strangely large, very red bird in question, the image of which is reflected in his full-face opaque visor.

"<So...>" The two would probably recognize this specific scramble of vocal tones, even without circuitry lines. "<That is a... Chocobo...?>"
Maira Maira's chocobo leans down to nuzzle her affectionately, then moved over to give Avira a sniff.

"Mao huh? Does that mean something? I like it! Good and short. Do you like it? Mao?" she says, ruffling the chocobo happily.

"Yeah, he's red. They are very rare! Evja found him..." she begins, but before she can get into that weirdness, she sees TRON. "There you are!" she says, rushing on over to him and leaping up to wrap him in a hug. Hugs for all! Maira was worried!
Avira Avira grins a little, smiling at her own private joke. Maybe one day she'll describe why she choase that particular name, but she wouldn't ruin this moment with such talk. "I bet he likes it too." she says cheerfully.

Thanks to the Fruit Man incident, Avira has actually seen TRON in the 'offline mode' (as Avira privately calls it) before. Fortunately, this time there is no freaking out and chucking of hard objects. She is slightly startled at his appearance, though. As someone who had been trained in tracking prey and always being aware of her surroundings, she normally would have heard the approach of someone.

But not TRON. He didn't have many of the 'needs' as trackable people and could be perfectly silent. "TRON! There you are We were looking for you earlier." she starts to make motions to hurry back inside, figuring that TRON had wanted privacy for their talk.
TRON Maira's arms wrap around TRON's chest and upper arms, pinning the limbs to his sides and staggering the Program slightly from her momentum. It takes a moment for the initial shock to pass, then the black-clad Program carefully moves his arms to semi-hug Maira back. She might be able to pick up a faint tremble in TRON's form, like someone doing their damnest to be strong but not really succeeding.

Yeah, something is definitely wrong.

"<My... apologiez, Avira.>" He easily lifts Maira off her feet without breaking her hug and steps back into the VALKYRI HQ, clearing the doorway to let Avira follow. "<I had to... collect myzelf.>"
Maira Maira is certainly aware that something is wrong. She may not be particular bright in many things, but when it came to reading people and emotions, she was pretty darn observant. She remembers how quick and strong TRON generally is, how steady. Something is off.

Maira blinks as she is picked up and bodily carried inside, but gives a small shrug and keeps her arms where they are. Sure! Carry her! Why not! Weee!

Really though. "'re not alright, are you. What's happened?"
Avira Avira doesn't say anything else until they are all back inside and the door has closed behind them. Leaning over, she locks it as well so random people don't drop by on them in mid-conversation. It has happened before, after all.

"Yes." she finally says, walking over so she can stand/lean against the central table in the hall. "You said it yourself earlier." The worry is plain upon her scarred face, "You believe yourself to be getting...weaker?"
TRON TRON sets Maira down once they get closer to the table and pretty much... just stands there for a moment. Unmoving. It's a little eerie. Then, the helm fragments and folds upon itself to disappear into the black body-suit at his neck, finally revealing his face and head in its entirety. His expression is too-perfectly neutral, but his eyes...

Well, he doesn't meet either of their gazes, but the emotion is all-too-expressive all the same. Pain, yes... but mostly... fear?

"I have no other way to quantify it." His voice sounds slightly flat, but uneven. Uncertain. Rather child-like, actually. "When Manhattan was restored... I was very happy." His gaze shifts over at Avira, not quite meeting her eyes but acknowledging her. "Manhattan is where all of us Programs first entered Userspace. Some of us consider it a second home, after the Grid. But I..." He rubs at his forehead with black-gloved fingers. "...I looked too far ahead. I began to look towards my homeworld, began to hope..."

He turns away, pacing alongside the table, arms folded behind his back at parade-rest. "I can't afford to hope. Hope is sitting in that cell, waiting for a User who has abandoned you. Hope is leading a rally, only for something to crush it. Hope is thinking you just might have found something you'd lost, only to have it torn out of your grasp."

He pauses, his back facing Avira and Maira. "I can't afford to hope. I have no home to return to, I have lost anyone I have gotten close to up to this point, and the radio the other day while you both were in Flurogis..." His shoulders noticeably tense. "It felt like it was happening again. And I couldn't stop it /again/."
Maira Maira sits, watching and listening intently as TRON speaks, her expressive face not able to hide any of the feelings that rush through her. Oh...she understands, she does, at least in part. Her world was gone too. "Oh, TRON..." she says, reaching out to try to take his hand. "I know....I...when I heard a world could be restored I thought...maybe mine...but that hope feels like such a dangerous thing, doesn't it? My world has been gone for...a year or more. I don't know if I can even bring myself to hope," she replies.

"But this is our home now, and...sometimes things happen, but its going to take a lot more than what has happened to drive us all apart! I intend to stick to you all like glue!" she says, giving him and Avira her best stubborn look.

It's mostly just adorable.
Avira No expressive body language there for one. She watches with worry, spotting those eyes, thanking Faram there was still some clue as to what turmoil TRON was currently enduring. Though he looks elsewhere, Avira is looking at him, ready to meet his eyes when he's ready. She'll hold his gaze with each word of his when he's ready.

She will wait too. Fear was something Avira knew quite well lately. "So in a way, Manhattan was a part of your home, but not the home." she points out, frowning as he doesn't quite meet her eyes. He continues. "But the Grid is your true home."

When he moves, Avira follows like the observers in an tennis match. He continues and her heart aches and, at last, she looks away, eyes dropping to the floor.

"TRON.." she says quietly, "We have no intention of abandoning you or VALKYRI." Her voice is firm as she looks back up at him. It makes a strange contrast to the bubbliness of Maira. "Your home..."

She frowns, confused, "It wasn't restored with Manhattan?"
TRON TRON shakes his head and turns back to Avira and Maira. Maira's attempt to take his hand makes contact, closing around his palm for a moment, but the Program doesn't reciprocate. He doesn't trust his own strength in his currently-unstable frame of mind. "I am not explaining this correctly, so bear with me. The best I understand it, there was... an access point in Manhattan. Flynn's Arcade. It had equiptment in the basement that transferred our data into Userspace, giving us the forms you attribute to my kind."

He indicates his appearance, which ripples and changes to his white suit with the lines and everything. The glowing circuitry lines, though, look dimmer than usual, more akin to slate-gray than the usual bluish-white. "However, the equiptment was stolen and nobody could get back before Manhattan fell. LEXUS stole it originally, then it fell into ShinRa's hands. Deelel has maintained access via ShinRa's permission, and the last I heard, The Grid is still online."

He bows his head. "But it doesn't matter. Even if it is still there, somehow, I have nowhere to go. I am a fugitive, enemy number one." His hands tighten, his expression darkens as memories unbidden play across his vision. "Yori, RAM, CROM--everyone I cared about are most logically derezzed or consumed by Darkness. There's nothing left there for me but memories and regrets. Reminders."

He finally lifts his gaze to meet both of theirs. "But I have other Programs who are looking to me for leadership. I can't deny them a chance to return home simply because I..." He emits a long unnessisary sigh, "...because I'm scared. I don't know what to do. I'm just a Security Program, nothing more."
Maira Maira frowns deeply now. When TRON mentions ShinRa, her eyes fill with her numerous misgivings. "ShinRa...they're from my world you know. I..." Maira sighs. "Just let me know what I can do to help you. The other Programs want to try to get their world back? They want you to lead them?"
Avira When TRON asks them both to bear with him, Avira falls silent and remaining so until the Program has fully explained the situation. It is then, as he talks, that Avira realizes just how little she knew of TRON's home as seen from the perspective of a Program. Gradually, she leans in towards him as he explains.

An access point. Of course. That neatly answers why she hadn't seen Programs running around before in meatspace. Despite being a native of that world, Flynn's arcade doesn't ring a bell-but there was something about the name Flynn that seemed familiar. An old news item about a programmer alleging that his work was stolen?

At the mention of ShinRa, Avira has to mentally restrain herself from jumping forth to make plans against it. A brief glance is turned towards Maira, whom she knows is very familiar with the corporation and maintains that it's quite depraved. She can see it in the young mage's eyes right away.

"Are you sure?" Avira says after a long stretch of silence. "We have observed the MCP, who drove you out and labeled you a criminal to begin with, busy here in Traverse Town. Too busy here..."

She smiles at him. "It sounds like the other Programs want you to be a revolutionary and it isn't a position you choose but had it thrust upon you. With that, it comes with expectation and pressure, doesn't it? It's alright to be scared and cautious, not only for yourself, but for all the Programs you now see are depending upon you."

She walks over to him and takes his other hand, squeezing it. "If it helps, TRON, know we're both behind you, ready to support you as you've been supporting us."
TRON TRON's gaze switches between the two as they speak in turn, his eyes softening from seething pain and anger to a gaze more akin to a lost puppy. He feels about as pathetic and vunerable as he undoubtedly looks, but right now he doesn't /care/.

He slowly sinks into a chair, his hands tightening incrementally around theirs but barely holding on as it is. He's really holding back his strength, perhaps way too much so, but he's never felt this way before. Never /let/ himself feel this way. So he doesn't want to hurt them by accident when they're trying to help him.

"When I led the break-out of Conscripts from the Games, my name became a symbol of resistance. I only knew RAM and CROM personally at the time, and I was entirely focused on my function. It wasn't until I came out here, met other Programs, met all of you, that I realized the full weight of the responsibility I had unknowingly taken." He bows his head, his shoulders slumping. "There is... so much to do... and I have no idea how to do any of it. Perhaps the only reason why I have not looped myself into cascading failure is /because/ of VALKYRI's support--all of you."

He looks up from under his eyebrows, meeting their eyes without lifting his head. "Which is why I don't want to lose something that's become very important to me. Not again. Not if I can still fight for it."
Maira Maira gives TRON's hand a squeeze, smiling up at him. "Well you can stop worrying about that part, okay TRON? We're here, and we're not going anywhere! We're behind you and we'll help however we can," she says, glancing to Avira and giving her a warm smile as well. Really! Everything was going to be alright! She's sure of it!

"As for the rest...we'll figure it out together. I can understand that must put a lot of pressure on you....heh, its hard sometimes, having people who count on you..."
Avira If Avira happens to be judging TRON on his anger or vulnerability, she shows absolutely no signs of it at all. She merely keeps her gaze upon him, the sign of worry upon her face. Some of the worry goes away when she feels him squeezing back on her hand ever so slightly. Strength or no, the sign that he was at least responding to their comforting contact was reassuring.

"Are you sure?" she urges again, "You might not know how to do it, but you know what you must do and why you want to. I think if you look at it one step at a time, you'll find the way." The last thing Avira wanted to do was give him the answers. Though she had ideas, she was a User, and still did not understand the full magnitude of his situation.

"Maira's right." Avira smiles, "We're not going anywhere and we're behind you every step of the way. We might be parted at times, sure, but..." there's that fierce look on her face. That fierce tone in her voice. Maira heard it on the radio not too long ago. "I know I'll do anything in my power to make sure that's not for long. Anything a few Users like us can do to help-" she winks, "-just tell us."
TRON TRON still looks uncertain as his gaze shifts between Maira and Avira. He isn't sure what he's expecting, but perhaps he hadn't realized the impression he has left on them--and they on him, to be frank.

A rueful smile lingers at the corner of his mouth as he murmurs under his breath, "You're in good hands with your friends, but remember to not lose your way. Sometimes the light is hard to find when you're carrying too much..."

Maira and Avira would recognize that statement. It's what Mama Odie told Alan back in the New Orleans Bayou a few weeks ago when they were searching for the Spirit Shard of Manhattan.

Slowly, the Security Program's circuitry lines brighten back to a sky blueish color as he cycles in a deep, calming inhale. He gives their hands a gentle squeeze before releasing their hands entirely, a gesture indicating he's feeling better, and his eyes sharpen and focus into the look they're far more familiar with.

"The actions of Master Control and DPS have not endangered Traverse Town or those in it. Until such a time, all we can do is continue to wait and watch." Ahhh, there's the TRON everyone's familiar with. His face relaxes into a tenuous but warm smile, somewhat chagrined but honest. "I believe first course of action is to find Vespa and... what is the proper term?" He tilts his head to the side. "'Drag her back kicking and screaming if nessisary'?"
Maira Maira laughs brightly, nodding. "Yes! That is what we will do! Though hopefully that will not be necessary!" she answers, glad to see that TRON is at least starting to feel better.

Maira then grabs Avira with one hand, TRON with the other, and pulls them into a group hug. Gosh darn it.
Avira Though there was quite a lot said by the mysterious, narcoleptic old woman, Avira did remember the words shared with her friends. Though she hadn't quite realized that it was directed at TRON in those moments (hey you can't see Mama Odie's eyes through those glasses! She's blind anyway, she can't tell what she's looking at), to find him repeating them suddenly strikes her with understanding of that moment.

TRON's light brightens and Avira grins. There's the TRON she knew.

"Have you been back to the Grid anytime recently? It might be worth it taking a trip there. But first things first...Vespa."

Before she can say much more on the subject of retrieving Vespa, Maira pulls them both into a hug. Awww.
TRON TRON chuckles softly. "No, not yet. But perhaps... eventually."

Then Maira pulls them all into a big ol' group hug. The Program actually rolls with it this time instead of freezing up as he usually would, hugging them both in return. "Thank you."

This scene contained 31 poses. The players who were present were: Avira, Maira, TRON