2010-03-06: Compline


Mike_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg

Summary: In the aftermath of the revelation of Jono's enslavement to Sinister, Mike and Rashmi meet at the chapel

Date: March 6, 2010 12:15am

Log Title Compline

Rating: G (Advisory: Religious content)

Xavier Mansion - The Sanctuary

Across the threshold into the chapel is a small receiving foyer, the Narthex in ecclesiastical parlance. It has no furnishings, not even the usual table with a guest book and a bouquet. The walls are scrubbed and whitewash, and bare save one framed painting, the glass covering it dark with smoke almost to the point of making the art and inscription impossible to read. Upon closer inspection, it is a painting of two women in an embrace, one older, one younger, the inscription reading 'For whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Ruth 1:16'.
Through the large double doors lies the main sanctuary, called the Nave in the old English tradition. There are pews and altar set up for use. At some time in the past a fire damaged this building and smoke stained the walls and chairs and wood black, but they have been scrubbed, the walls whitewashed. Back and to the left a repaired section shows where there was a passage to the grounds, created by the fire. Behind the alter on the back wall, the wall has not been cleaned. It remains blackened with soot, only one place left unblackened, where in the past a large cross hung, and the shape is outlined on the wall.
Off to the right side of the sanctuary are a few doors leading to small and simple rooms, mostly empty: the sacristy where the priest's robes, the utensils, and the other equipment used to celebrate the usual services. Other rooms were once used to house the priest and other permanent staff of the small parish. The first of the trio still has a rosary hanging on a peg in the wall. Another has been refitted as a guest room. The last remains empty for now.

Note: This is a modified description for the sanctuary, which was repaired and renovated in game, but the player who did that was unable to finish changes to the room object before circumstances took them away from the game.

It's around midnight. Curfew or no curfew, Mike Drakos is not going to stay in that dorm room … he has work to do.
He's come out to the chapel. His inducer is turned off. He wears the same short-sleeved, button-down green shirt and black jeans-shorts he was wearing earlier this evening when he escorted Quinn to the Grind Stone. The shirt, un-induced, shows several long rips, and Mike's arms, legs, and hands have deep scratches in the paint, but otherwise no significant damage.
He has set up the altar, this time using a purple altar cloth.

Perhaps it would seem odd, for one of the few students in the Institute who actively tries to follow the rules at all times to be breaking curfew. But, ever since the little chapel was discovered, Rashmi's spent the odd sleepless night here, sweeping floors, straightening up, weeding outside if she has sufficient energy. So it's with rather mild surprise, that she finds a light burning on approach, and spares a moment to peek her head into the door rather than simply barging in. There's a solicitous clearing of the throat heard from the nave, and a quiet, curious "Mike? …Is that you?"

The mechanical boy looks up, eyes faintly lit, and after a second, says in a flat, very mechanical voice, "Yes, I'm here. I was preparing to perform compline service in intercession. Do you wish to join me?"

Rashmi's eyebrows draw together, the flatness of the boy's voice something heard very rarely, and never during anything good. "…Sure," she says after a moment, slipping inside and closing the door behind her. "…But before we do… Could you tell me what happened?"

"I expected James to have told you." That would indicate surprise if there was any emotional tenor to the voice.
Mike gestures to a pew, and after Rashmi is seated, he sits facing her.
"Robyn and James went to the Grind House today. I escorted Quinn, since she needed a buddy. While we were there, Jonothon Starsmore entered. He was wearing a red and blue skinsuit, he was not gaunt, he had a face. I could hear that he was breathing. He dropped a bank bag on the table by Robyn, requested that he watch it for him while he spoke to the baristas. At that point I triggered my communicator alarm. He was deliberately frightening the Baristas, and stole the coffee. When Robyn confronted him, he transformed the cup and contents into razor-daggers and threw them at Robyn, though clearly without intent to do real harm. James, Quinn, and I escaped as Julian arrived, and Robyn escaped shortly after. It took no more than five minutes for him to destroy the Grind Stone, though he did not harm anyone except for a gash on Robyn's arm."

Mike says that whole thing utterly deadpan, without affect of any kind. He continues.
"He confirmed that he had been with Sinister. He did not confirm anything else nor was there opportunity to question him. His mind has been twisted and enslaved. It is therefore necessary to pray intercession to liberate him."

Rashmi's hands start to twist at the fabric of her skirt, as Mike begins his tale. Worry and terror vie for dominance in her expression, and by the end of it her eyes are rimmed with tears. "Oh, God," she whispers, shaking her head slowly as he looks down. "…Then I was right… Oh, Jono…" Falling silent, the redhead draws in a slow, shuddering breath, steeling herself to go on. "You're right, Mike… He needs to be in our prayers. But… I hope you don't mind… I think I should ask for intercession… for you."

Mike considers this for precisely 28.5 seconds. "I would appreciate that, thank you. My emotions are very unstable at the moment. Reattaching them to my volitional feedback might well result in dangerously irrational and potentially risky actions."
He blinks. "Do you also wish intercession on your behalf?"

Rashmi's frown deepens somewhat, a slow shake of her head immediately following the question. "No, Mike… Thank you… but no. I'm just…" Settling back on the pew, she sighs heavily, searching for the proper words to get her meaning across. "…Did you ever read Shakespeare, Mike? I've had to, of course, for English class, but…"

That causes a pause for long-term memory search. "I have read Hamlet, abridged version, as an adjunct to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. I read sections of The Tempest, and an extremely abridged Romeo and Juliet. Other than that, I have no memory of reading Shakespeare."
Mike turns his head so that his facing is eight degrees away from a direct eye-to-eye gaze.

Rashmi nods. "Then, you might know…" Closing her eyes, she dredges up the passage from her readings the year previous. "'And, for thou was't a spirit too delicate/ to act her earthly and abhorr'd commands/ Refusing her grand hests, she did confine thee/ By help of her more potent ministers/ And in her most unmitigable rage/ Into a cloven pine;/ within which rift/ Imprison'd thou didst painfully remain.' Prospero, to Ariel. D'you remember?"

That causes another search of memory. "I am not sure I understand the intention of this citation. I do not remember understanding the passage, but it was a component in what I did read. Ariel being the spirit-of-air bound to service by Prospero."

Rashmi nods slowly. "As was the hag's son, Caliban… But because Ariel's heart was too good to allow her to do what the hag demanded of her, Ariel was locked away. Whatever she *had* done in the hag's service, she had only ever been held accountable for one thing… Just… not being able to handle, what she had to live with, you know…? It's a terrible thing to feel, being locked away like that… Watching the world go on around you, but never really touching you. Never really making you part of it, and not having the courage to make it part of you…"

Caliban, Ariel, and some concept of metaphor wherein Mike is somehow the hag or the world, either or both, or rather, his emotions were. Is that the intention?
Mike says, without rancor or much else, "I'm not certain how this applies, Rashmi. My emotions are not imprisoned, simply disconnected. It was necessary to ensure survival. The issue is more that their intensity is currently more than I would be able to manage. I understand your concern, and agreed with you that intercession was necessary, but I do not understand what you are attempting to accomplish with this citation."
He waits for some clarification, curious what this was intended to provide.

Rashmi sighs. "…All right fine, it's late and I suck at mixing my metaphors without two weeks' warning. Just… it's not healthy. You *know* it isn't; if you saw any other kid your age talking like you are, acting like someone from one of those Trek Wars robots… you'd worry, too. I know it makes sense, in your mind… but if we were meant to live without feelings, why do we *have* them, you know?"

"That makes some degree of sense. You are correct that it would not be healthy for the long run, but I have observed precisely this reflex in othersz."
Mike determines that a gentle but firm hand touching the back of her hand, where she has twisted it into the knot of her skirt, would be the most effective communication of his understanding of the importance this holds, and he executes the maneuver.
"I appreciate your concern and if we do not manage, in this compline prayer, to create a safer emotional state for my re-integration, then I will speak to Addison or to Pryce. Is that a satisfactory reassurance?"

Rashmi's hand relaxes at the contact, but her expression is stubborn as she raises her head, eyes fixed upon the lamps that substitute for Mike's. "…Fine. Promise me one thing, and I'll let it be. Don't pray like this. Speak to Him with *whole* heart, or you may as well be asking for a hangover cure. I know you think you need this… but if you can't bare your soul to Him, now, when you need it most… when can you?"

Mike shakes his head. "The ecstatic confidence that frequently accompanies the wilfull act of faith is currently running in one-half of my emotional processor. The other half of that process space contains an emotion of righteous fury which I cannot allow access to my volitional matrix. All trial projections of that operation show it overwhelming my logic centers within minutes. As for prayer, you should know that God does not require us to be perfect in our prayer, only that we do our best. And I have not stopped praying since I saw Jon… he prefers Jon, did you know that? … since I saw him at the coffee bar. I sensed his energy, Rashmi. It was much greater than when we saw him last. It was the midday sun in summer, compared to the waning quarter moon."

"Then *Jono* needs all the help he can get," Rashmi replies, refusing to acknowledge by voice that the Brit has, or could favor, any other name than the one he gave to her. "…And if you're *that* worried of going out and doing something stupid, then I guess it's good for us both that I'm here already, isn't it?" There's a moment of silence, eyes searching for any flicker of… possibly anything, in the boy's inhuman eyes. Letting a breath out through her nose, she sags slightly, lowering her gaze and returning it to the altar. "…Nevermind… You're probably right. Sorry…"

Mike doesn't belabor the point about the name. That's something that rang true, at the time, and which perhaps will not end up contaminated by Sinister's tamperings when — not should but WHEN — the telekinetic is freed from Sinister's compulsion.
Mike says, "All things work out to the good for those who are in the Lord," a particularly frustrating and oft-misused bit of scripture, that one. He starts the service. As before, when he's praying his voice is not mechanical-sounding at all. He says the opening invocation, the confession, the short psalm (two lines) and the Gloria Patri. Then he departs from the form. "Father, we bring You our petitions that in Your wisdom, You may grant unto us peace in the confidence that You hear us and that You have mercy upon us."

His voice finally has a bit of mechanical-stress to it, here.
"Lord, I lift to you the students, teachers, and staff of this school, especially those who have fallen into the hands of one who would violate the sanctity of their minds and hearts and who has twisted body and memory. I lift to you Jonothon Starsmore."
He pauses, waiting for Rashmi.

"Lord," Rashmi begins, her voice first a tight whisper, gradually growing stronger as she speaks aloud, her wishes to her God, "I lift to you Jonothon Starsmore. I lift to you Jordan Ward. I lift to you, Skyler St. James. I lift to you, Brian Carrere. I lift to you, Daisuke Sakuragi. In this, the dark night of their hearts and souls, give to them Your light; show them the path that they may return to us, free of evil's grasp and light in heart and mind, under Your smile." She falls silent, and it seems as though her prayer has ended; however, "…And I lift unto you, Lord, he who calls himself Mr. Sinister. He has fallen from Your light, Lord, and walks in dark valleys, who molds body and mind to his own ends. If there may be salvation for him, Lord, let it be so. Let the scales fall from his eyes, that he may seek Your light once more."

Mike … doesn't say anything for a moment. And another moment. Finally, he says, voice once again without any trace of the mechanical tone, "You declared Your intention and Your will when You declared to us, 'Vengeance is mine alone, saith the Lord.' Help me to accept that truth without transgression."
He pauses so that Rashmi will have time to make any other prayer, before continuing.

"As Your only Son said to his apostles, Lord; 'Split a piece of wood; you will find me there. Lift the stone; there you will find me.' Help us all to find Your comfort and Your light, among those who would hold us in their hearts. We fear, Lord… but You are ever beside us." These last words, spoken with a sense of finality; there'll be no need to pause for more from her, in this moment.

Finally Mike continues. "Lord you are in the midst of us, and we are called by your Name: Do not forsake us, O Lord our God."
Compline alway seems to go on and on, but in this case Mike says only one benediction, "Be sober, be watchul. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith."
And then there's the commendation (the same words used at a funeral, but spoken on one's own behalf), then the Lord's Prayer, then the final collect blessing. "Be our light in the darkness…" And the antiphon "Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping…" And then the blessing in the name of the trinity, and the service is over, but Mike remains silent, eyes still dimly lit.

Rashmi's eyes slowly open, orienting on the candles of the altar. For a long while, she sits, motionless and silent. Finally, she reaches out, almost hesitant, to rest her hand on the treads of Mike's palm.

Mike looks up. His voice is still mechanical. "I am forced to remain patient and allow the Lord to work this out. My emotional processor is now 85 percent occupied by rage, but there is a seed of something else. Thank you for joining me."
He stands. "We might not receive detention. I did get permission to come here when necessary."

Rashmi's eyes follow the robotic youth as he stands. Whatever reaction may have been expected by such an admission, the look on her face is something akin to sadness, understanding. "Even if we do… I don't mind. I'm where I needed to be… and I've asked what I needed to ask. Thank you, for having me."

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