2010-11-08: And Now For A Musical Interlude

Players: Connor/Renfield, David, Heather, and Mike

Connor_icon.jpg David_icon.jpg Heather_icon.jpg Mike_icon.jpg

Summary: Coming full circle, The Heroic Trio confronts the next of the changed students inside the Asylum Library. Music, pop culture, madness, and eventually… salvation.

Date: November 8, 2010

Log Title: And Now For A Musical Interlude…

Rating: PG

Tegu-Haaz - Xavier's Insane Asylum for Adolescents (Library)

There's an eerie silence that seems to dampen most noises in the library of the Institute. Thick carpet covers the floor with eight rows of bookshelves that seem to go on forever. At the end of each bookshelf is a plaque that reads what can be found in that row. At the end of each row a stained glass with a representation of eight angels that have been blinded and bound in barbwire. There are eight tables in the library just before the rows of books in front of an elegant fireplace. There are gas chandlers positioned around the library to give it sufficient light. All of the pages of the leather bound books are blank; there is not one book in the room that has text on its pages.

The normally dull library has sounds coming from it this evening. The voice is the familiar, but manically raspy tones of Connor, on his sixth round into singing 'Be Our Guest' from Beauty and The Beast as he continues to dust and clean, piling books into piles that make one think of Ghostbusters. Some of them are twelve feet high, standing close to tables or otherwise. It's an old place, and needs a lot of work, which seems to have occupied the young Renfield. Stepping out into the middle of the chamber he poses, two featherdusters in his hands, twirling them like batons as he marches past tables, and runs them along the top, "PLEASE BEEEEEE OOOOOOOOOYR GUEEEEEEEEEST!" And the proceeds to 'bum-bum' out the instrumentals.

Hello Kitty pyjamas and a bloody pickaxe seems to have become standard gear for Heather, though at the moment she is also wearing David's cybershades, having used them previously to keep from having debris strike her in the eyes. She walks into the library calmly, having been attracted by the feint colours that passed into the hall, even when it was below her conscious hearing. She furrows her brow when she sees Connor singing. "CanYouHelpMe?" she asks in her squeaky voice.

Mike has been a strange cross between hyper and subdued since he was returned from the muffled and gloomy world of the Clockwork Frankenstein. He's conserving fuel — definitely going to need an overhaul at the SHIELD motor pool when he gets back — but for now, the very fact of being able to speak in sentences and think at speed has him very happy. What doesn't have him happy, though, is that he remembers that singing and it doesn't sound any more _sane_ than it did when he was just a monster. He's come up to the Asylum with others, in search of Renfield.

Those magic words are spoken, and the featherdusters clatter to the floor as Renfield vanishes from view, and appears right at Heather's arm, standing prim and proper, chin up, chest forwards as he says in that politely effete british accent, "Yes Mistress Brown, of course I can assist. What is it you require?" The words have put some sanity back into those otherwise insanity pulsing blue-green eyes, the whorls and eddies within his powerbase having grown worse, fluctuation and never seeming to allow any even-ness anymore.

Heather doesn't even seem surprised when Connor appears next to her, and she looks up into his face, studying him for a short moment or two. "INeedTheAnswerToAQuestion." She gives a nod to Mike. She's always pleased to see him around, if only because she doesn't have to slow her speech to talk to him in this world. "HowCanITalkToConnorBlake? AndHowCanIGetHimBackWithUs?"

Arriving in the library in time to hear that question, Mike stops just inside, and waits for a response to the question. He notes the towers of books and the creepy sensation about the room that makes him wish for a proton-beam pack, but for now, he's interested to see whether this approach will work.

Connor turns his head slowly towards Heather, and then tilts his head, "Connor's here, but he's not… he's in the walls, in the ceiling… in the floor. Look at it. Clean. Orderly. Perfect. Everything in it's place. Everything settled and proper." Clapping his hands together and then looks up at the bookpiles, "But then comes the clutter. Ten thousand, four hundred, thirty seven completely blank books. All to sort by title, author, and topic." Stopping a moment, there seems to be a passing sense of confusion on the face of the young man, and then he shakes his head and replies, "What was I talking about? Sorry… books, and books, and books, and nothing to ready. All blank and no memories."

Listening to Connor, Heather nods her head. Even though she's trying to pay attention, she drifts off into her head a little at so many words being said to her. She still hears, but also thinks of her next move. This is another game, and it has a solution. "AndWhatHappensIfTheOrderIsDisturbed?" asks Heather. "ThenWhereWillConnorGo?" She crosses her arms and looks up. After helping Robyn return to normal, she's decided to only engage in physical conflict if she has to. She knows how difficult it is for her to fight with Connor, and this shadow of a mind might present that same difficulty. She walks over to one of the shelves.

Mike steps forward at that, and approaches the Renfield. "I need help. I need someone to solve an equation. I got the wrong answer and I need help figuring out the right one." And he starts rattling off a really complicated piece of tensor mathematics that describes how singularities work — back home anyway. There's a deliberate mistake in the equation, but one that he's sure Connor could spot if he was there.

Connor politely says, "Excuse Me, Mistress Brown…" And he walks off behind a bookshelf and then pulls out a blackboard from nowhere… and there was NO blackboard there, you both passed by that location. Moving it next to Mike, he then says, "Excuse me a moment Master Drakos…" And then says to Heather, "Here… read this… it will explain." And he hands her a nameless, titleless book. Inside are no letter, no nothing. Crisp and clean and looking perfectly new and ready to write upon, "When you get to the end, you'll see my point, Mistress."

Returning to Mike, he begins to hum 'Joyful Joyful' and writes out the equation for Mike, showing off that he's still got his Beast-Inspire college level trig going, complete with the geometry as he graphs out the mistaken singularity chart forming.

Heather looks down at the book and then looks around slowly. This world's character seems associated with books somehow, so maybe this is important. She decides not to dismiss the offer of the book as mere madness, instead giving it the thorough look she gives to everything else. Each page is flipped through, examined, and then flipped to the next page. As she flips, she idly asks Connor, "WhatIsYourName?" Because of her speed, and the lack of material to read, she approaches the end of the book quickly.

The equation was the first of four that (in the Hawking-Richards collaborative treatise on transdimensional physics) lead to the multiple-universes question. Mike would be smiling with a sort of mischievous expression except that he can't do that here. But he CAN remember the treatise now, even if he doesn't completely understand all of it. Then again, four dimensions give him a bit of an advantage there. So he says, "OK, but the next part is this," and he rattles off the next equation, with a term transposed. With Heather prodding his identity, Mike is prodding at his knowledge. All entirely impromptu.

His attention is clear and focused, even when split, and to Heather, "I am Connor Renfield, Miss Brown, of course… thankfully being allowed by staff for a time to serve the Asylum in a more constructive fashion. You see… I'm not mad. I… well… not in the traditional sense. I'm TOO sane. I understand the reason of things. Especially that in order for this order to remain, and for us to be cured… Alaric Blackmoore has to die." Smiling and nodding to Heather as if that satisfies all his needs, he returns to Mike, and begins a scribbling war of math to make even some college professors get a nosebleed, his necessary understanding of math to do things like teleport cleanly giving him equal footing… but all his equations continue to discount chaos factors.

Heather arrives at the end of the book. Interesting. Her wheels start turning, and she looks towards Connor and asks, "MisterRenfieldIsThisYourAnswerToMyQuestionsAboutMisterBlake?" Just because she's asking questions, though, it doesn't mean that she already has a hypothesis to put into motion. She tucks the book under her arm and gestures to Mike, <Do you have a writing implement?>

It's the omission of the chaos factors, that almost escape's Mike's notice, but then as he takes a pencil from the small bag at his waist, he says at Heather-normal speed, "Wait. He's using a formulation that relies on constants that aren't constants. There's something here, I'll get it in a second."
The robotic teen nods, "Sanity is very clean and antiseptic, isn't it." He pulls up the next equation, the troublesome one, which deals with the boundary conditions of a singularity, and he states it in the form that Richards and Hawking originally called "the mad russian" — something Liebnitz had come up with, the formulation simply cannot be solved without leaving in a nagging undeterminable bit. And Mike is careful to define that variable using the symbol Chi, X, that is also the symbol for chaos.

Staggering into the library, David dressed in tattered remnants of his Prodigy costume. He is holding his head and appears mentally drained and overwhelmed. He is almost pale and is sweating profusely. He utters an "Oh man….it's like a series of encyclopedias were rammed into my brain. Like I have a library in my head." He looks around and blinks as he tries to recognize all the people present. "God, I don't think I've encountered so much…." He pauses as he looks at the young students present and keeps blinking, "All these numbers, theories…my god…it's almost beautifully brilliant." He leans against a bookshelf and pants trying to get his breath. he puts his head down and then looking back at the group, his eyes appears strained as if he has gotten much sleep.

Throwing up his hands in frustration at Heather, he walks over, mustering all of his politeness that he can muster, and touches the book, "Why do you want to know about Mister Blake. You already know about Mister Blake, Miss Brown. After all… look at the book. It should be obvious. Mister Blake is Mister Blake, and until otherwise stated, will always Be Mister Blake." Patting the book as he walks back, and right up to Mike's equations…

…which he immediately crosses out, circles, and glares at Mike before flipping the board, and re-writing the entire thing using pre-cepts of new String Theory, but then begins singing almost obnoxiously loudly from Monty Python, "Immanuel Kant was a real pissant, Who was very rarely stable. Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar, Who could think you under the table. David Hume could out-consume, Wilhelm Freidrich Hegel, And Wittgenstein was a beery swine Who was just as schloshed as Schlegel!" Tapping the board with the theories of a Japanese mathematician who was recently published in 2009, attempting to redefine the concept of wormholes and spacetime with integrated principles that are both as wild as they are sound. he breaks the chalk on the board and yells out, "TAKE THAT, BENBRIDGE SCHOLARS!"

Heather dashes up to take the pencil from Mike's hand, before she pauses to stare at David and glance towards Connor again. It gets more and more interesting. She dashes backwards and presses lead to the page of the book. She's not quite certain what to write yet, but decides to write what comes naturally to her in this situation. And that is, naturally, a non-fiction narrative, written in her usual delightfully chaotic writing style (that Connor Blake, at least, is probably familiar with), about what is happening here, focusing on Connor Blake and her observations about him. When she arrives at the current moment, she glances up and taps her mouth with the end of the pencil. Now it's time to edit the world.

"Now we're getting somewhere," Mike says. "But this is Richards and Hawking, they discarded that branch of replacement string theory. We had that discussion, remember?" The robot boy starts writing the fourth equation, the one that broke his own comprehension when he read the paper that summer, and the one thing that he'd discussed with Connor when they finally did get communicating again. Though tweeter was a rotten platform for it, still you COULD do math in 140 characters. It isn't so much string theory that Richards and Hawking came up with, but one where micro-universal intersections as planar twists replace the strings. And that's just incredibly messy because while each is statistically conformant to a norm, the interface for each string can VARY based on the physics of the universe that comprises the strand… And he waits for the explosion.

David remains by the bookshelf, still recovering from the psychomimetic overload. He pauses a second and starts rattling off random numbers and theories to himself. They are barely audible. But slowly, gathering his composure, he stands upright and moves towards Heather and ponders what she is writing, but makes no move to interfere and simply remain an observer of what is happening.

Connor comes over with a pencil for a moment to correct Heather's grammatical placements and then comments, "Though really, with the disparate writing styles used to each character as you present their viewpont, you might find that instead using a single voice to maintain your overall coherency…" David getting switch-locked from math to literature, and then back again as he moves over and starts to stare at whats on the board. An eraser comes out of nowhere and he clears the board, doing a single small circle which he writes 'S&T', as he begins a complex representation. Long octopoidal arms, with then have small offshoots, then those offshoots get offshoots, and so on, into a fractal design that's as delerious as it almost is beautiful. But as he does this, he sings cartoon openers, Anime in bad japanese, and even starts reciting Star Wars from the opening line… the Radio Drama edition.

Connor is sweating now, panting, arms cramping from the strain as he uses chalk for the details a fine lead pencil or a brush would be required for…

"DoNotNeedToKeepOverallCoherency," mumbles Heather, not fond of the criticisms for her narrative, even from the seemingly omniscient mister Renfield and she looks onto the board. She can understand rules very well, whether rules of some abstract game, or the rules of mathematics and physics. This, however, presents rules that are beyond her understanding. So her focus returns to her book. New developments are written. And then, hesitantly, she decides to take a risk. She documents something that has not yet happened, moving towards a denoument of sorts, but now she makes a test move: 'Connor Renfield drops his chalk in his exhaustion, it breaks into three pieces on the floor with a soft but reverberating clack.' And, as a bonus, she diagrams the broken chalk. Afterwards, she looks up to see how this game is played.

Mike comments to Heather, <Keep it chaotic.> He starts quietly counter-singing "Birdhouse in your soul" to the tune of "I am the very model of a modern major general" while he makes a change in the terms on the equation Connor is trying to graph, because really, that's NOT a constant, there. Planc's constant, isn't. And in the middle of the matrix of values, he puts in a small note, "Why is it important that everything be orderly?"

The blazing train of thought slows to a crawl as the pure mathematical representation that Connor/Renfield was attempting demonstrate, and then just as it was written, the chalk falls to the floor, and shatters into two pieces, not three, but there is a small part that cracks off one side as it rolls, technically becoming the third for Heather's sake. Stopping and moving back, the songs cease, the pop culture vanishes… as Connor straightens his waistcoat, and then adjusts his hair… slowly grooming himself back into order, and taking a sip from a cup of tea that comes out of nowhere, "I believe Master Drakos… you are attempting to demonstrate chaos as a literal fact of order… but you forget that all orderly systems inevitably breakdown without maintenence. None of your equations account for constant vigilance." That proper British accent has returned with a vengeance.

The chalk is watched carefully, and as the third piece breaks away, Heather cross-examines with the diagram she made before deciding that her initial test gives her the results she needs, to give the final strokes to this masterpiece. Indeed, as Mike suggests, her writing style remains chaotic, jumping from character to character, and even moment to moment, seemlessly and understandably, yet certainly not in an orderly fashion. The story she writes, now, places all of the characters in their proper location, and indeed, anything new she writes for herself, she plays out, including walking towards the mathematics board, finishing the text on the last page, '… in order for him to become that constantly vigilant force, realizes Connor Renfield, he would have to return into the walls, the ground and the books, to be that protector of order. In that moment, only Connor Blake remains in his place.'

"And that's the rub," Mike says. "The observer principal. It's bad enough when there's one observer, but what happens when there's more than one?" He steps back from the board, not aware of what Heather has written … yet.

Having watched everything and gathered his composure, David remains silent and just watches everything that has happened. The students seem to have this under control. He ponders though what is actually happening so he turns to see what Heather has written.

And thus begins a slow clap… a rich chuckle bubbling up from the young man as Renfield turns his head to look at Heather, staring at her intently, "Bravo… Bravo, hear hear… a noble effort… but you forgot something… that's Connor Blake. And when dealing with Connor Blake one must always remember the elemental truth of him. Excuse me a moment… I'll fetch some tea." And walking off, the only seeming real response to Heather and Mike's efforts is that the young british man drops the accent as he begins to sing 'Swing on a Star' with the bad Brooklyn accent of one Bruce Willis. ala Hudson Hawk.

Heather hisses softly at that, her efforts thwarted. She rubs her forehead lightly with the palm of her hand and looks down at the pages, as if searching for something. Only David and Mike are here, so she sits down with the book on her lap. She missed something. Connor. The elemental truth. She has little space left to write. <The elemental truth of him. What elemental truth? Connor is more complex than Renfield.> She's thinking out loud, or at least, silently in her gesture language.

Mike looks over to David. "OK, that was entertaining but not a triumph. He's very good at misleading, but it isn't Connor Blake's weakness we need. It's HIS. And this one's real weakness isn't his compulsive orderliness, is it."

Mike has that movie in his memory now. He knows the ending, and only hopes David is able to recognize it from his awareness. Renfield was destroyed by Dracula, for speaking out about him. Therefore, if Connor Renfield explains who "his master" is, then as the Renfield? What happens to him? And it can't be Mike asking, because Renfield will most likely just escape.

Noting a change in the skill set, "Well, if I ever need to make the perfect cup of tea. It's amazing. His skill set is so nuanced between the math and the tea making. It's utterly intriguing." He shakes his head and spots Heather on the ground and looks back at Mike. He then gestures what Mike just said for Heather to see it. David ponders a moment though he would love some tea at the moment. "Excuse me, sir. May I have some tea? As well."

Connor nods immediately to David, and approaches, pouring the tea. Earl Grey. Hot. But then he holds out a single cube of sugar with tongs, his pinky perked out slightly, "Sugar or lumps, Sir?" Smiling and completely focused on the former student now, almost to the complete perceptive exclusion of the others. While he waits, he also comments, "If I might say Sir, you are looking rather dapper today. A definite good impression upon the people around you as a whole. Shining example of those who would join the Academy, yes?"

Heather stares towards Connor some more, looking down at the book and then back up to Renfield, spinning her pencil between her fingers quickly. She moves her fingers through her hair, trying to detangle it further as she thinks and observes. She closes the book and opens it back up a few times with a frown.
Smarmy git this one. Mike ahems. "Ahem. I'm afraid tea won't work for me. Not equipped to appreciate it. Could you possibly fetch some everclear when you get a moment?"

He gestures to Heather, <No good working on book of our connor. That not him.> Affecting interest, he glances through the books, scanning for names. Since they're sorted. There was the biography of Connor Blake, which Heather has. Is there a biography of Connor Renfield?

"Sugar, please." David smiles as he blows on the hot cup of tea. "Ah, I love tea at this time. And thank you, young lad." He nods his head accepting the compliment, "I was pondering if it is at all possible, would I be able to meet or speak with the master here? Could you please fetch him or give me some information as to how I may contact the good man?" David bows as if getting into some sort of character.
On the question being asked of Renfield, he actually vanishes and reappears by Mike's side, to which he fishes into his pockets and begins to drag out a small vial of clear grain alcohol, and pours it into a teacup, and offers the same as he did to David, "Sugar, Master Drakos?"

Connor then turns his head to look at David, and begins to chuckle, "I'm sorry Master Alleyne… but anything in regards to myself will be in the patient records area… which I am unfortunately not allowed access to. I -AM- still a patient of this facility after all." But he still nods his head as if conceding something and his face becomes somber, "And I apologize I cannot assist. I dearly wish I could, but without rules, all becomes disorder."

Heather stands with the book, pacing now as she considers. Given that she's trying to destroy him, she's not really particularly hurt that Renfield isn't taking care of whatever tea desires she might have. Really, it's perfectly reasonable. Still, she decides to once again ask for Renfield's assistance to get rid of him: "DoYouHaveAnythingThatCanErase. ThingsIHaveWrittenWithoutDamagingPages?" She has made an error, a miscalculation.

Mike raises one eyebrow; there's a micro-motor connection for that purpose.

"No sugar, thank you very much." He accepts the teacup, and (with the help of a small built-in straw) appears to sip from the cup normally. He continues scanning the spinse of the books in case something pops out but he's not spotted anything at all about Renfield yet. And that's nagging at him. The man's objections about the math were completely irrelevant and not at all what Mike was communicating, but stepping back, the message was clear: Something took over. A will which is not Connor's own has command of him, and is interfering with him. (Automatically, he begins to run the prayers for protection, grace, and deliverance that were part of the rosary he was performing even when Franklin had him overwritten.)

David hmmmmns, "Well then, at the very least, young man, tell me who your doctor is. You are allowed to give me the name of the head of this facility and who your doctor is." He sips the tea and smiles actually enjoying it, "Also, I would like to see your file…where is the patien records area…so I may see your file."

Connor was about to answer Heather, but then the questions are asked, and the chin begins to tremble, and his eyes unfocus as Renfield whispers out, "We do not remember the faces or the names… they are there, but they are not… things we know that are not, but are… fact becomes fictions, becomes faction, becomes friction, becomes… becomes… becomes…" And it snaps free as the young woman is replied to with that same polite tone, but there is a strained edge as he says, "Why would you erase a friend? Does he mean so little Miss Brown? For shame…" Tutting.

"ThatIsNotWhatIMean," says Heather, defensively, "HeMeansVeryMuchToMe. YouAreAPoorSubstitute. IJustThinkIHaveMadeAMistake." She decides not to pursue this idea, though, wary of what Renfield says. Her eyes flick down to the pages again, and she picks up the pencil. The writing is still significant, it's something that she needs to do. She writes this last paragraph, purposefully describing the moment where she wanted Connor to be back, and doing it in a very orderly fashion, almost to the point of obsession. Each sentence presented in alphabetical order, each letter lined up and positioned carefully. She describes the traits she associates with her friend and glances up darkly at Renfield, more upset that he's not Connor than that he's Renfield.

Mike finishes the teacup full of fuel, and replaces the cup on the tea tray. He reaches into the pouch and pulls out his home-forged rosary and begins running through it. (There's no intention to evoke the reaction that something similar got from a movie Renfield; Mike's simply doing what he does when he's trying to think about a really nasty problem.) He is still not sure that the Connor biography can affect the imposed Renfield. But, if he was able to hold onto his core truth and write it into Franklin, then what is Connor's core truth, and has he managed to keep hold of it?

Shocked by the reaction he got from Connor, "The tea is good though. " David paces back and forth trying to remember characters from Dracula, "Is Dr. Seward here?" He looks to Mike and Heather as each mutant tries a different tactic on Connor. He shrugs and ponders if he could actually find any record of Connor in this crazy asylum.

There's a bit of a laugh from the Renfield as he replies to David, "Of course not! He's a character in a book… Bram Stoker. Repeatedly ad nauseum in cinema… arguably an important character, but constantly overshadowed within the main plot of Mina Harker and Lord Dracula." The name said with a forlorn sigh, "If only there was such a great man as him here." The more Heather writes, the young man returns to cleaning, but this time he is humming a familiar tune.. 'Creep'. The more details she puts into that description the clearer the song becomes… until she has framed her view of Connor on an entire page, and for some reason Renfield is shedding tears as he organizes books…

~I'm a Creep… I'm a Weirdo… What the hell am I doin here… I don't belong here…~
~I Don't Care if it Hurts. I wanna Have Control. I want a perfect Body. I want a Perfect Soul.~
~I want you to Notice. When I'm not Around. You're so fuckin Special. I WISH I WAS SPECIAL~

Mike looks up at that. He waits for Heather to finish with what she's writing, then says <I want to try something. May I?> at fast-world speed, holding a hand out for the book. When he gets it, he flips to a blank page earlier, and writes at printer speeds and precision, everything he knows from his time as a teammate of Connor Blake, including information about his family. It probably seems a long time to Heather, but it's actually about as fast as an ink-jet printer really. He then hands it back to her. It has only facts that he knows and his personal impressions of the young man.

Heather looks down at the book when it's returned to her, and she continues to write her narrative for a bit, now more orderly than before. She gets up, and walks towards Connor, writing what's happening in these moments, including her thoughts towards him. As she speaks, she writes down, "ConnorYouCanBreakHimOutOfYourMind. ICanSeeYouAreInThere. AndTheBestWayYouCanHelpUsNowConnorBlake. IsToHelpYourself." She waits for the next lines this time, only having a little space to work with, reaching her hand to place it on his shoulder.

David shakes his head being frustrated by what is happening, but sensing that Heather and Mike seem tohave worked out a plan. He stands around and trusts the students. He is still slightly phased from the chaotic nature of skills he had sensed earlier.

Renfield approaches, and then staggers, and grips at his head before collapsing to his knees, "It's… not me… It's not me…" Looking up at the two, "It's just the me you want me to be…" Stuttering out such simplistic words, and he stares not at either of them, but at the book. Taking it from their hands, Connor holds it up, and looks at the pages… and rips out the first page that Heather wrote. As it drop, drool begins to come off one side of his mouth, and his eyes turn more manic, and once more a song comes up… a radio pop number, "I am unwritten, Can't read my mind… I'm undefined… I'm just beginning. The Pen's in my Hand, ending Unplanned…"

Connor continues the song by Natasha Bedingfeld, but sings it slowly, slightly broken, almost like it was a lament as he leans tiredly on a table, and the book falls from his hands.

Heather furrows her brow at this, frowning, and reaches to pick up the book. "IAmSorryConnorIDoNotMeanToPushThoughtAndTraitOntoYouThatYouDoNotHave." She watches his motions, unsure what to do. She does not want to kill her friend, but she decides, "WeCannotTellYouWhoYouAre." She looks over the book, tearing out the other pages that she's written on and offering the pencil to him. "ButIHopeYouCanComeBack."

The robot watches the struggle and shows no pity, because he cannot.

"It's what I remembered of who you were," Mike says. "It had to be there as a basis because you were erased by this world, and made into a character from a story. Who do you think you are, Connor? Write your own real self into the book."

He steps back, because he remembers the issue Connor has with being overwhelmed by other people and trying to please too much. And when across the room, he starts quietly playing a song from his own playlist. He has his sound system back, after all. Someone finds salvation in everyone, And another only fame. Someone tries to hide themself, Down inside their selfish brain. Someone swears his true love Untill the end of time. Another runs away. Divided or united? Or is everyone insane? To be yourself is all that you can do. To be yourself is all that you can do. To be yourself is all that you can do. To be yourself is all that you can do.

While seemingly doing nothing, David' s mind races with the various almost morphing set of skills presented to him from Connor. Moving from fact almost to fiction. The skills themselves feel false and untrue. As if the person he is seeing is not truly real. It's as if a veil of lies. The skills are not genuine, but more a forgery of something else. David voices this as the others continue to remove the thrall that has taken their friend, "It's as if what we see is a copy of something else. A borrowed version. Like a book from a library. The real Connor is there somewhere. He just needs to come forth." David states that last part directly to Connor.

Connor begins backing away from the books slowly, the pencil dropping from his hand in a cold shiver, foam flecking his lips as he mumbles out, "Sanguine temperament, great physical strength, morbidly excitable, periods of gloom, ending in some fixed idea which I cannot make out. I presume that the sanguine temperament itself and the disturbing influence end in a mentally-accomplished finish, a possibly dangerous man, probably dangerous if unselfish. In selfish men, caution is as secure an armour for their foes as for themselves. What I think of on this point is, when self is the fixed point the centripetal force is balanced with the centrifugal. When duty, a cause, etc., is the fixed point, the latter force is paramount, and only accident or a series of accidents can balance it…" Then he pauses and asks in a small, trembling voice, looking around desperately, "Please… can I help you..? Can I… Help… You?"

Heather only watches as Connor asks the question, shaking her head at the question and trying to keep relatively close to him, just in case he falls. She knows nothing of what's happening, but she hopes this is not quite as terrible as it looks.

"Help yourself," Mike retorts. "Who are you? For that matter, what do you want? Why are you alive?"

It would be too corny to play the Who, so he plays it internally.

Continuing to watch what happens, David remains still and just monitoring the skill set that he gets from Connor. He will know once the real Connor is present. He silently prays this will happen soon. And will remain behind the others watching and sensing.

He vanishes from his spot and Heather feels a tug as the pickaxe is taken from her, and while the threat of immiment violence is in the air, it's not to either of them. It's to the book. The form of Connor and Renfield attempt to swing down at the book, but at the last moment miss, hitting the floor next to it and causing a spark. At the same time, they slip and land on the backend of the pickaxe… and you both hear the sickening sound of flesh being penetrated. There's a groan and he rolls to the side, clutching at a wound in his stomach and leaving that pick-axe behind. Reaching out for the pair, in a faint voice, "Let me… Help… You…" Bubbling laughter before he curls in pain, and whimpers out, "Master… it hurts… it hurts so much… you promised me… you promised…"

Heather approaches Connor after Renfield takes the blow, and she is naturally concerned for her friend. Her eyes are wide as she looks at him. She just squeaks something incomprehensibly, which Mike will hear as, "Connor? Connor?!" but it's kind of useless given the one it's directed at can't even properly hear it.

At that horrible SQUNCH sound, the robot is in motion. Mike grabs all the napkins from the tea service, and moves next to the fallen Connor with uncanny speed. He presses napkins to the wound. "Connor, let us help YOU. We're your friends and we love you. Please?"

Mike's fear isn't that Connor will die, it's that he will die without returning to himself as a result.

Renfield takes a rasping breath, and as some blood touches his lips he whispers out, "I'm just a character… in a book… and even there, he didn't want me. No one wants poor Renfield… no one… I can't fight the Master, not anymore. It's the book… I gave it to you… I tried to tell you… but you wouldn't listen…" Then he slumps his head as a whimper of pain travels through him, "Don't let Master… Troy… hurt Alaric. It hates Alaric… his death… seals your fates. Hurry if you value your friend." And his eyes begin to take that deathly pale, now pure, ocean blue.

Heather steps away from Connor and picks up her pickaxe now, furrowing her brows. It's just a construct, a representation in this world, there's nothing in it that will hurt Connor, but maybe it's too late. Still, she swings her pickaxe through the book, using her momentum to cut into it. Connor is Connor, not some book.

Mike watches the book be super-speed pickaxe-hacked, and considers setting fire to the thing as well, but the place would probably go up like it were made of kindling. "Stay with us, Connor Blake."

Sorry, Renfield, but you're a memory like Franklin. You wouldn't like it back home anyway. Maybe there's a better place.

The man in Mike's hands suddenly goes stiff… and then cracks begin to form along the body, like broken glass… soon the cracks spider down along his body, further and further until finally the struction collapses… or rather breaks like a shell. Connor is there, and intact, back in his normal clothes. Connor's first response is to grab his neck where the scratch-marks once were as he sits up looks around for a long moment, back and forth between the two before rasping out, "Thanks…" Panting a bit as he touches his unwounded gut, "God, I feel like my head was in a blender…"

The book at the end of Heather's pickaxe looses a manic laughter-induced scream, gibbering as the pages begin to turn to ash, and then blow away, with a stench of dirty hair, fetid breath, and moldy clothes…

"Thank God," Mike says, and it comes out like a prayer instead of invective. He sits back and lets the man find his sense of self without questions or demands.

Heather straps her bloodstained pickaxe back to herself and looks towards Connor, approaching him. She doesn't really do hugs, but she attempts to give Connor one of the weird and awkward half-hugs that she so seldom doles out. "IAmGladYouAreOkay. AreYouOkay? IAmLateInMyWakeCycle. CanWeLeaveAndCampNearby?" She doesn't really want to sleep in the asylum, if only because it doesn't seem a particularly safe place to do so.

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