2020-07-12: Escape From Sorrow


RobinF_icon.jpg MikeF_icon.jpg StarF_icon.jpg

Summary: Star needs time to herself amongst the sadness of the tunnel dwellers.

Date: July 12, 2020.

Log Title Escape From Sorrow

Rating: PG.

The Future - The Underground - Mutant Base

Hidden in the maze of tunnels is the open area that the mutants have turned into their have, their home. Not wanting to risk electricity being detected down here, there are battery powered and gas powered lights leaving the place dark and damp. At least three mutants are always on guard down here at the entrance to the mutant camp and secret passwords and codes are needed to get into this room. Theres a large door with a large piece of wood barricading it as those down here dont take any chances.

After all of that commotion the other night, Robin is glad to have the tunnels returned to relative order, even though there are less rebellion and redeemer members left in the cavern. In due time, they will be mourned, but being sad is for when the war is over. The puppetteer types away at her laptop from Theo, updating information, remembering all of the Hunters that she saw killed and were reported killed to her, as well as a few other key events. She is not scouting at the moment, though, her puppet standing guard next to her, ready with a simple looking knife in its hands just in case there are more attackers coming. It is late, but she can't possibly tell. Robin never seems to leave the tunnels, and so her concept of time is seriously off skew.

Hovering near Robin, a small frizbee-sized spy-bot with several probes extended from its side and top surfaces, scans the area around the puppet, while apparently carrying on a silent conversation in some sort of sign language. A hologram (conveniently sized like those from the Star Wars movies) flickers information to the puppet as text and shapes, while three of the six spider-like legs of the device dangle and kick in an utterly uncharacteristic way.

For once bereft of her daughter, Emory having been left in the relative safety of the deeper tunnels, Star is headed from the living area toward the surface with a battered backpack on her back. The empath has been emotionally battered ever since the attack, having to deal with both her own sense of sorrow and loss as well as that of everyone else. She's done her best to try to project calm, but even she can't summon up joy in the wake of the invasion of the base so very recently. With the separation from the majority of the population, she's allowing herself to actually wallow in her own feelings, her eyes showing small flickers of violet: The only outward sign of the fear the attack has instilled in the normally non-combatant woman. A cloud of sorrow, loss, and even a hint of anger trails after her as she stops trying so hard to hold everything in as those that can be affected by her pheromones grows thin.

Usually, Robin is well aware of the level of negativity that she's feeling at any given time. While the spy-bot's discussion with Blank doesn't catch Robin's attention (though she does update the information on her computer in response to the transmission, somehow remembering that is was told to her). She adjusts her glasses with her off-hand, since her dominant one was injured in the seige. No big loss, though, it will be good as new in no time. Looking around for a few moments before she spots Star, Robin says, "Should I tell you a joke? Unfortunately, all I can manage at the moment is very dark humour."

Five hunters, thirty humans, six enemy Sentinels (full-size) and Mike counted three Omega Sentinels among those he knows he saw destroyed, but that assault was an actual battalion — an army — more than three hundred individuals, probably closer to five hundred, and Mike did get command and coordination telemetry from the allegedly "secure" Sentinel interfaces (secure because you have to BE a Sentinel to comprehend them, a form of mischief he was peculiarly able to manage), so he has been dumping quite a bit of that information back to Blank and thereby to Robin. There were names attached to humans, Hounds, and Hunters, and to Omega Sentinels, although most of those names were in shorter form.
Sensors detect complex biochemical signalling molecules, but without the complete database Mike had archived (it went with his secondary "drone" self when it took some of the students from Barnes to Canada, over five years ago) Mike cannot interpret them with any degree of accuracy. He changes the hologram fro
He changes the hologram from the list of names, to a name-tag in the old "stick-on" style, "Hi! My Name Is _Mike_" … wondering if Star would get the joke. Certainly Robin will.

Star starts a little when she's spoken to and blinks a couple of times, the negative emotions growing dull again as she tries to put a cap on them until she's somewhere alone o be able to let them loose again. She just wants to find a quiet little corner in the rubble above to be able to sit and wallow freely for a little while. Even if it will put her in a vulnerable position to the Sentinels, at least it won't make everyone around her miserable. She smiles grimly and shakes her head at the offer of a joke, "No… Thanks anyway, Robin. I think I really just need to get away for about a half hour." She sighs and glances back the way she came, "Usually, it's not as bad as this, but so much has happened that I just need to get away for a little while." Beat, "It's so thick in there I can almost taste it." Not surprising, really.
The empath's attention is drawn to the new hologram of the name-tag and she offers a very tight little smile to the drone, not recognizing him as a former classmate, "Hello, Mike." She wasn't at Xavier's to know the joke, so it goes over her head unnoticed, "Nice to meet you."

Robin smiles slightly at Mike's introduction, still typing away at her computer as quickly as possible. There is a lot of information to relay, and her puppet is interpreting it faster than she can reinterpret it. "Well, Star, I know what you mean. I try to keep my emotions at bay, and I hope that they don't inconvenience you any, but I can almost feel the frustration and loss down here. But we won more than we lost. If we win this war properly… we may never have fought it and lost in the first place."

A voice comes out of the hovering robot: "Star, we were classmates. Your brother was in my squad, Excelsiors. I was the robot guy who would tease you and Jinx when you got into stink wars."
He reverts the name-label to the list of names of the fallen, allowing it to pause until Blank gestures to speed to the next page. He'd enter the info to her laptop directly but Robin has a rhythm going, and this way she does get to learn who each person really was, instead of just seeing a block of names appear from somewhere else. And he can say a prayer for the fallen on either side with each one, though that part isn't out loud.
The voice interrupts again, after showing the next page of names: "What do you mean, never have fought it, Robin? Is this related to the invitation to temporal fugue?"

"You aren't hard to be around, actually." Star shakes her head, "And normally I can just ignore it and sort of temper it with forcing happiness or peace, but…" She trails off and sighs, shaking her head again, "It's just a little too much right now." She pauses again and looks back toward where her daughter is, "Even Em is acting subdued…" And that's just not normal for the usually vivacious five year old girl. She blinks a couple of times in surprise and confusion at the idea of never having to fight this war at all if they win it right and she can feel a headache start to build at the confusion that implies, "Huh? What do you mean?"

The voice gets another little blink of surprise and she blushes faintly at the memory of the teasing and for having not recognized Mike as the same robot that was on her long gone brother's squad, "Oh. Sorry… I guess we've all changed a little…" Some more than others, though, obviously. She looks at the list of names curiously for a moment before she speaks again, "So what're you two doing?"

"Do you know who found us right here? I think it was Cam." Robin stops typing on the laptop, looking up at the two others, "He was taken from that moment in time as one of Ahab's time, but some people still remember both memories. All this time crap, it's always been a part of where we are today. If we can use it to make things better… why not? They used it to make things worse. People are dead…" There is a tinge of sadness, but it fades into Robin's stoicism pretty quickly. "And right now, I'm just filing away every Hunter and Hound who has died so that I can rewrite patrol routes."

"You're right, Star. We have changed," Mike says. You're a mother. I'm disembodied, in effect. Robin, I cannot say what my memories are. I clearly remember everything for a year up to the invasion, then I spent five years as wreckage in Hudson Canyon to the east of Long Island. My memory archives are physical things. Half of them went to Canada, the others are encrypted archives in crystalline patterns in my fourth direction, and I cannot read them until I create a new body to live in. Too many functions are broken. And at the moment I am praying for the fallen, and for the living, and Robin has been making records so we can remember what we can," says the bot.

The voice, by the way, sounds like a completely normal human voice, coming from the air. It's quiet, a male baritone, without the slightest trace of the electronic glitch or auto-tune overtone that was common when Mike got excited or distracted.

Star frowns slightly at the name and finally shakes her head, "I don't know anyone named Cam…" She grimaces at the mention of time being toyed with and shakes her head. She gives Robin a sympathetic look at the sorrow, though she doesn't comment on smelling emotion from the other, choosing to allow the other woman her private moment to grieve just like everyone needs right now. The sympathy fades into something akin to tense horror and preparation for the worst as she pales upon hearing what the other two former students of Xavier's are doing. The empath has to swallow before she can speak, a faint trembling hope in her voice; hope that a certain name isn't on the list of the dead, "Embry's name there?"

"No, if Embry's name were on my list, you would know it moments after my left index finger hit the y key… I promise you that. And Cam is a tracker. He is able to find people. Honestly, I didn't know him well, but he attended Xavier's at the same time as me. He was kidnapped a little more than ten years ago," says Robin, adjusting her glasses again. "Same as your brother, except your brother was returned… Ahab took Cam, though. Using Heather."

"One moment, let me check my lists."
Mike runs through the telemetry from the night before, all of it spun out in a fine stream of data woven into a ribbon kept at right angles to the regular world. Seconds tick by, one, five, ten, an agonizing thirty seconds. Finally Mike speaks.
"I do not find an Embry in the order of battle which was synched to the Sentinels. There were four updates during the fifteen minutes of our fight, and a total of 423 individual identifiers, none of which encodes that name in any substring. There is good reason to believe him to still be safe."
Mike looks over at Robin. "I have a vague impression that there should be something in my memory. I will ask when I perform my evening meditations. If there is something that I can know of it, I will be told."
And when Mike looks at Robin, it's obvious: the eye-stalks on the hovering disk extend, swivel in her direction, and three LEDs light up in a triangle centered on the lens of each eye-stalk.

Relief floods through Star at this little bit of good news, though it's muted by the knowledge that so many others weren't so fortunate, "Thanks, Robin." She frowns at the bad news that this Cam is someone that has the ability to find them and nods, her expression turning hard for a moment, "I'm just glad the same thing didn't happen to Cloud." A very faint shudder runs through her, "I don't think I could handle having both my husband and Cloud under Ahab's control." Not that having lost them both around the same time was the most pleasant experience in the world. She turns her smile on Mike at his reassurance and nods, "Thank you." She looks off in the direction she'd been heading when she was stopped and sighs, "I'm going to go get some fresh air…" Or fresher air?
She looks back over at Robin, "Do me a favor and look in on Emory for me?" Beat, "And… If I don't come back, could you take care of her for me?" Her heart breaks a little when she asks this favor of the puppeteer, but she has to know that her daughter if the worst should happen and she doesn't return, "I just really need to get away for a little while. I shouldn't be more than an hour total!" There and back. Just a nice long walk is all she wants. But things don't always go as planned.
Especially for those unfortunate enough to be born 'different'.

"Do you want Blank to accompany you, just in case?" says Robin, nodding her head slowly at Star's request. "I'll check on Emory, though, and she will be taken care of no matter what." She frowns for a moment at the thought but nods again, "I saw some interesting things during that whole scuffle though. Things that give me a bit of hope." She sighs deeply, her teeth catching her bottom lip between them as she does so. "Enjoy the fresh air, but be back quickly and safely.'

Mike's eyestalks turn to follow Star. "It's better that I precede you through the tunnels. I can remain out of sight, for your comfort, and this unit I'm riding should be patrolling the outside part of the tunnels anyway."

He waves with two of the spider-legs, one to Robin and one to Blink, and sets out ahead of the woman. He'll stay at the bare edge of perception, and with Mike's tricks allowing him to (almost) hide the drone from Magneto, he's confident he won't be spotted by anything less sensitive.

Star shakes her head, "No… Thanks anyway, though. I just need some time alone." She smiles a little weakly, "There and back with a couple of minutes to just marinade in my own emotional stink." She choice is taken away from her, though, when Mike heads out ahead of her and she sighs, but doesn't argue the point. It's not like she'd likely catch anything from him and he probably wouldn't be affected by her little moment of wallowing, so what's really the harm? "Yeah, thanks, Mike." At least there's less of a chance that something will happen and she won't be able to return to her daughter since she has a guardian. No matter how unwanted he may be.
She gives Robin a little smile and nods, "Thanks. I'll owe you." Just knowing that her daughter will be looked after in case something happens to her is enough to make her feel more at ease and does her almost as much good as finally letting out everything that she's been keeping bottled up for so long will. Without another word, she turns and follows the drone down the tunnel to eventually find the world above and a little hole to crawl into for a while; a small wave tossed back over her shoulder as she departs.

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