2010-08-05: What Makes You Tick


Jill_icon.jpg Kisha_icon.jpg

Summary: Roommates have differing opinions on what to do, and even who they are.

Date: August 5, 2010

Log Title: What Makes You Tick

Rating: G

Xavier Mansion - Jill and Kisha's Room

//The room's pale beige walls are broken by two closet doors and a large paned window on the far end. The beds are bunked; the top bed is clean and neatly made while the bottom is so covered in things that nobody could sleep on it. At the foot of the beds, facing the window, is a short chest of drawers with a broad glass fish tank on top, a small wooden step stool leading to it like a staircase.

Jill's desk is a typical walnut computer desk with stacked reference books, a lamp on a jointed arm, and a white netbook hooked to external speakers under four small art nouveau prints.

Kisha's desk is littered with disassembled machines and electronics, the wall above it peppered with pictures of famous inventors, physicists, and Iron Man. Her computer hums next to it, the size of a thickly built filing cabinet, and next to that is a bright red, clearly visible fire extinguisher.//

For twenty four hours now Kisha's bunk has been cut off from the rest of the room by a black curtain. No light and very little sound, save the occasional rustling of sheets and tapping of keys, have escaped. And if Kisha herself has left then it was probably at a time so late that no-one was likely to run into her. In the last ten minutes the sounds of life from inside have grown progressively louder, the tapping of keys more frenzied, and even a smattering of (quite obscene) Russian can be heard.

With her earphones in, Jill is at her computer and fiddling around on the web. She doesn't speak Russian, and truth be told she's already raised the volume on her music once to drown out what she thought was just a brief fit of temper. Now it's been going on and just getting worse. She turns in her seat to regard the curtained off lower bunk warily. "Is everything okay in there?" she ventures hesitantly.

Kisha lets out a long sigh. Then after a moment her head pokes out from the edge of the curtain. "I've been awake for thirty six hours straight trying to make this software work in a profitable /and/ ethical manner. I've come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as ethics when it comes to the stock market." She glances around the room with bleary eyes. "Any coffee? Or maybe some food?"

Rising from her desk chair and popping out her earphones, Jill pantomimes patting at her pockets, searching for something. "No coffee," she reports, but holds out a cellophane wrapped piece of candy. "Low blood sugar? I could go get you something if you want. … Which you probably do." Jill, it must be noted, hasn't eaten since yesterday but she never seems to eat much anyway.

"Candy? I guess that'll do," Kisha replies after a moments blinking. "I'll probably sleep and /then/ get a proper meal. No use eating anything now, I'd risk giving myself enough energy for a third or fourth wind to kick in and get me back to work." She yawns. "Anything interesting happen while I've been busy? And uhm sorry if I've kept you awake or anything."

Jill shrugs. "You haven't really missed anything. Except, like, all of yesterday." A short jerk pulls the earphones' cable from her computer and the speakers pick up immediately, a top 40 station kicking in with some forgettable pop hit or another. "You weren't bothering me, not really, but you're gonna kill yourself if you keep working like that. And why the stock market? You're the same age as me."

Kisha shrugs. "Because my allowance sucks and I can't see it getting any better once I finish high school," she explains sullenly, eyes fixed on the candy now that she's regained the ability to focus on objects at a distance. "As for killing myself bah! I'm tougher than I look. Besides I've got plenty of bottles of soda back here and some pretty sweet caffeine tablets."

Looking flustered, the blue girl raises a hand as if to object then lets it flap loosely down to her side. Several things perhaps worth being said, aren't. Finally, she says, "I don't have a problem with my allowance. It's even more than I got at home."

"The mint?" Kisha asks pleadingly. "And I never said your allowance wasn't very good. I said mine was. Besides haven't you ever wondered what you'll do once school is over? In the real world we'll have to make money and if I can get a head start it'll be one less thing to worry about later on."

Jill's hand closes around the mint and she flicks it with her thumb, sending it spinning through the air like a coin toss. "Yeah, I know, I don't have a lot of expenses like you do. And you sound like Nana," she grouses, folding her arms in that distinct teenager way to convey frustration and a bit of derision. "I didn't even know what I wanted to do *before* my life got all turned around. Law schools or whatever probably won't be really eager to have me."

Kisha scrambles out of her bed and lunges for the mint. "Thanks. But I'm sure her motivation is far better than mine," she offers, sprawling on the floor. "I just want to have money flow in while I do my projects. As for law schools you could always apply anyway and sue them if they refuse you on grounds of your DNA. Providing they even find out about it, because I'm fairly sure this place has enough influence they could get you in on the strength of your grades. No awkward questions asked." By the looks of it the teenage techno-addict is wearing the same pants & t-shirt combo from a few days ago, although thankfully it hasn't been used for any engineering work.

"I don't *really* want to go to law school. At least I don't think so. It's the principle of the thing." Jill keeps her arms folded and leans back with her butt on the edge of her desk, shaking her head like an unspoken, dismissive "Whatever". "Fine. But if the FBI shows up asking about you and securities trading, I don't know you." She raises her hands, lacing her fingers innocently and even batting her eyelashes. "She seemed so nice, inspector. Very quiet, the kind you'd never suspect," she explains to a theoretical FBI agent.

Kisha smiles. "You'd commit perjury for me?" she asks, popping the candy into her mouth. "That's the nicest thing anyone’s has ever offered to do for me! Nothing I'm planning is illegal anyway. I've checked very carefully to make sure I don't break the law, because if I do I get expelled and then who pays for my electricity bill?" She waves her hand in a vague motion. "So if you don't want to study law what /might/ you want to do? There are plenty of ways to avoid anyone finding out you're… odd. Especially if you keep one of the schools holographic gadgets."

Jill's left hand drifts reflexively toward one of the drawers in her desk. "I don't know if they'd let me keep it or not." Exhaling, a tired-sounding breath, she goes on, "I don't know. I'm not one of those people who just knows what they want to do with the rest of their life. I'm still figuring it out. I mean, you… you it's pretty much a no brainer, unless you find out you really like animals or something."

"I'm quite fond of steak if that counts?" Kisha wonders lazily, rolling onto her side. "By the time we've both graduated I'm sure I'll be able to replicate whatever that thing is… And if I can't then just ask the school nicely for one of your own. I doubt they would say no, after all the whole point of this place is to help us fit into normal society. What kind of hypocrites would they be if they knowingly sent you into harms way?"

"Well that's a long way off." Another short, slightly exasperated exhale of breath later, Jill turns down the volume on her speakers to just barely audible. She looks momentarily conflicted, but just comes out with it. "Why don't you clean off your bed so you can sleep? And, like… do something other than work. It's still summer and classes haven't started yet. You should be doing something fun, at least."

Kisha almost swallows the candy with shock. "But this /is/ fun! It's like a huge puzzle game and when I solve it I'm one step closer to finishing," she exclaims. "And my bed is perfectly comfortable. There's only a few things on there and I don't move around in my sleep so it's all fine."

Jill raises her hands in surrender, like she's done trying to offer lifestyle advice. "I don't get it, but if it works for you. I put together a bookshelf once and fixed a CD player with duct tape, that's about as mechanically inclined as I get." Her interest is piqued, though. "What *do* you do for fun, besides-" She gestures at Kisha's desk, the floor around her bed, and pretty much the room in total. "This?"

"I quite like driving. Although I don't have a license and uhm… this doesn't go beyond us but my Dad used to let me drink," Kisha offers, dropping her voice low in a near conspiratorial whisper. "I also play games, write games and that's about it really. Everything else I used to enjoy just stopped being fun after I became like this." She blinks a few times, then adds "How about you?"

This visibly troubles the blue girl and she says, in all seriousness, "That sounds awful. Just… not enjoying stuff anymore." It takes a further moment of palpable pity before she continues. "I like to do all kinds of stuff. Movies, TV, video games, all the stuff that's designed to entertain you. I like playing music and I like teaching myself stuff. Usually not very important stuff, but you know, it's fun if there's no pressure and you aren't gonna be tested on it." She thinks, trying to sum up her habits. "I just like doing stuff. It almost doesn't matter what if there's other people there, 'cause it just feels easier to have fun with a group of your friends."

"So really what you like isn't much different from what I like," Kisha points out cheerfully, stretching her scarred arms out. "I'm teaching myself things which people won't test me on. I /do/ like music but I keep playing it on my headphones because I like the volume up way higher than most people find comfortable. Helps get over the background noise."

Jill should have known that the interests of other kids wouldn't vary too wildly, but she's still obviously baffled by Kisha and what to do with her. "Well…" she begins slowly. "What kind of music?" She's really trying. "Who's your favorite band, for instance?"

Kisha hmmmmmms. "Well. Now that's a tricky question! I quite like the War of the Worlds musical thing they released a while back," she says after a lengthy pause. "The digitally remastered one. It's kind of electronic-y and varies nicely in the range of vocal styles so I don't get bored."

"Huh." The blue kid wasn't expecting that for an answer. "I don't think I've ever heard that one, but it sounds neat." She levers her weight to rise from sitting on the edge of her desk and lazily climbs the bunk bed to sit on the top, her legs dangling down where Kisha can see them. "I get off easy 'cause I can say I like the Beatles. But that's mostly due to Nana, who says she's owned every album they ever made. On vinyl, on cassette, then on CD. So she plays them all the time. Mostly I don't care much and I'll listen to just about anything on the radio. It's free that way, too."

"I quite like things which have interesting electronic sounds. So my mp3 collection includes a ton of old synth pop stuff," Kisha admits, blushing slightly. "Along with some more recent electro-rock and bits of techno, industrial. Plus some good ole drum and bass for variety. Is your radio a digital one?"

"I like that early stuff too, when they were first figuring out you could use electronic instruments to make music, so it sounds all unpolished and like Flash Gordon or something." Her dangling feet kick, rubbing one sock against the other. Jill pauses and crosses her legs at the ankle. "No, just a little battery powered FM radio. But I have internet radio on the computer if I want to listen to stations back home and an mp3 player. It's not an iPod, but it works pretty good most of the time."

Kisha slowly clambers back onto her bed, pushing the curtain to one side. "Most of the time? I could take a look if something keeps breaking," she offers. "It's probably something I can't fix without the right parts, but it never hurts to check."

"Not break. Not really. It's just… bitchy sometimes." Jill draws her legs up to lay fully on her bunk, stretching out with her arms underneath her pillow. "It won't turn on, or it won't play the songs in the right order, or it won't turn off. It was cheap, real cheap, and I don't know if you can fix cheap." She waves a hand flippantly, not that Kisha can see it. "If you want, go ahead. I was gonna save up for a new one eventually."

"I could always /make/ one?" Kisha offers with a sleepy yawn. "Cheaper than buying a new one, plus you won't have to worry about taking it back to the store if it breaks. Because I'll fix it if anything goes wrong. It'll give me some much needed relaxation and you get a cheap music player out of it. What d'yah say?"

Jill's immediate answer is a fringed decorative pillow dropping, gently thrown but still thrown, down into Kisha's bunk. "I say go to sleep and worry about it later," her voices filters down from above. "If that's what you do to *relax*, I'm glad that curtain's there. I'd hate to see you when you were *busy*."

Kisha laughs. "I've /been/ relaxing. If I was busy something would probably have been smashed by a hammer by now," she retorts. "Or set on fire. That's always a sign that busyness is involved. Anyway I probably should get that nap about now… If it sounds like I've resumed working when I finally wake and it doesn't look like I've grabbed food could you poke something from the kitchens through the curtain for me?"

A heavy breath like a sigh from the upper bunk. "Sure," Jill agrees, deadpan, making the bed frame creak gently as she shifts around to lay on her side. "You a vegetarian or anything? Or should I just grab whatever looks good?" She stares over at her desk, just catching the netbook's screen as it flashes to the screensaver. "I'm gonna try taking a nap too. If, uh…" Jill swallows, trying to find delicate words. "If I mess up and drip on you, it's nothing personal, okay?"

"Don't worry about that. I've taken precautions against such problems," Kisha assures, pulling her curtain closed. "Grab anything so long as it's easy to eat by hand. Especially if it tastes good cold…" Her precautions in this case consist of a layer of plastic sheeting, followed by a second layer of fire resistant fabric attached discreetly to the underside of Jill’s bunk. Providing mutually required protection for all.

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