NERV Hawaii: Episode Eight - Aquarium Trip

Oct 22nd, 2017
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  1. Darkling: Astrid sat at the dining room table as normal eating breakfast, only one leg swinging, the other still in a cast. "Today is exciting!"
  2. Stella Lacroix: "Is it? Is it a special day?" Stella asks, her eyes half shut. She pokes at her food, not seeming to have much enthusiasm for it.
  3. Kaimana: "Not more training I hope." Kai sucked down a smoothie PAM had made for her, still sweaty from an early morning run around the property.
  4. Darkling: "We're going on a field trip! How did you forget?"
  5. Darkling: If you think on it, you can't really recall being told this, but she seems adamant about it.
  6. Stella Lacroix: "I guess I was sleepy when we heard."
  7. Kaimana: "If you say so. Where we headin'?"
  8. Darkling: "To the marine wildlife sanctuary." A mouthful of sugary cereal disappears into her mouth as Elle walks in.
  9. Stella Lacroix: "Will we get to see Cthulhu?"
  10. Darkling: "What’s a Cthulhu?" Elle says confused.
  11. Kaimana: "Beats me."
  12. Stella Lacroix: "Mythical marine wildlife."
  13. Darkling: "I doubt we'll see anything too mythical today." She tuts a bit and taps at her phone. "You did invite friends from school like you were told you could, right?"
  14. Kaimana: Kai looks across the table at Stella.
  15. Stella Lacroix: "I think the whole thing slipped my mind."
  16. Darkling: "I don't think you told them." Astrid pipes up.
  17. Darkling: "Didn't I? I was sure I did. Well, who do you want to come? I'll make some calls and sort it out before we leave."
  18. Kaimana: Kai sat back, folding her arms over her chest. Who did she know that would appreciate this sort of opportunity?
  19. Adam Jenkins: Adam walked in, dripping wet from his morning swim. "Who are we bringing people to?"
  20. Stella Lacroix: "We're going to look at marine wildlife."
  21. Darkling: "I don't have any friends to bring." Astrid says oddly happily.
  22. Kaimana: "Of course not, we're all right here already." Astrid gets a pat on the head. "Who's that one...pigtails, tan. Runs track. Uhm..."
  23. Darkling: Elle taps a foot waiting for answers.
  24. Stella Lacroix: "Seo-Yun for me." Stella noms on an apple slice.
  25. Adam Jenkins: "Oh, uh. Okay. Well, I'm not sure if any of my old buddies could come..."
  26. Kaimana: "I don't think that was ever in doubt, Stella. I nominate Tilde and Kayla."
  27. Darkling: "You can only have people from your school come, unfortunately. Security reasons."
  28. Stella Lacroix: "Maybe we could invite someone from school you don't like and sacrifice them to the sea gods?"
  29. Kaimana: "Or wait...what about...Adam. Bring Ju along."
  30. Darkling: "No sacrificing."
  31. Darkling: "Aww."
  32. Darkling: "Sacrificing is a bad thing Astrid."
  33. Darkling: "Oh. Okay."
  34. Stella Lacroix: "Sorry, Astrid. We'll get to put on cultist robes another time."
  35. Adam Jenkins: Adam scratched his head. "Yeah, alright. Ju for me."
  36. Darkling: "Alright, sounds good. You got half an hour." Elle makes a phone call and heads off to another room.
  37. Kaimana: Kai yawns and stretches, "Guess I'd better get dressed." She was dressed...well...as per the usual. One t-shirt related to surfing life and her black, lacey boy shorts.
  38. Stella Lacroix: "So much to do in half an hour. I'll be back later." Stella shovels down a few quick bites and then goes off to prepare herself.
  39. Adam Jenkins: Adam went off to shower and change. He was back in a black tank top and cargo khakis before too long.
  40. Darkling: Astrid watches everyone leave and then continues to eat her cereal.
  41. Darkling: Once everyone is ready they load up into the limo and head off to the other houses to pick up their friends. First in Tilde and Kayla who chum up beside Kai, then Ju who looks a little out of place, and lastly Seo who flops into the limo in a grand display.
  42. Kaimana: Ju gets pulled over to sit with the other three girls, Kai giving a rather animated explanation of where they were going.
  43. Darkling: "Marine wildlife sanctuary? I heard the one here is huge!" Ju looks more excited than anyone else now.
  44. Kaimana: "It's Hawaii, of course it's going to be the best," she says with a grin. "Knew you'd enjoy it."
  45. Stella Lacroix: "Be careful. I read a story about a place like that. They'd kidnap girls, turn them into mermaids and put them on display."
  46. Darkling: "Mermaids?!" Now Astrid is excited.
  47. Darkling: "Mermaids aren't real." Ju says matter of factly.
  48. Kaimana: "Psh, after seeing that thing on the news I'm more likely to believe in weresharks."
  49. Stella Lacroix: "It only takes some sedatives, a sleeping bag, a generous amount of sequins, and some sewing skills to make a girl look like a mermaid."
  50. Kaimana: "Why sedatives?"
  51. Stella Lacroix: Stella opens her mouth, but thinks better of it. "I'll tell you when you're older."
  52. Darkling: "I already have a mermaid costume." Seo says.
  53. Kaimana: "But do you have the sedatives?"(edited)
  54. Darkling: As the limo drives through the city you see some of the protests are still going on. Masses of people are out with signs asking for the truth.
  55. Darkling: You also pass by groups of people you can only assume are cultists, offering out pamphlets to people with signs telling about a congregation meeting to better inform the public.
  56. Stella Lacroix: "Think there's anything to those pamphlets?" Stella's gaze lingers on the presumed cultists.
  57. Darkling: "These people make me sick." Tilde answers. "Trying to prey on people's fears."
  58. Kaimana: "They probably want you to give them all of your worldly possessions so that you'll be pure and worthy when the next space god comes."
  59. Darkling: "And then they'll get you to recruit more people for you, or drink the Kool-Aid if you know what I mean."
  60. Stella Lacroix: "I'm curious about what they have to say."
  61. Darkling: "I'm sure it's a bunch of nonsense."
  62. Adam Jenkins: Adam watched the protesters and 'cultists' stoically, not bothering to comment.(edited)
  63. Darkling: While they're sitting at a red light the protesting crowd moves into the intersection surrounding the limo as well as other cars on the road. Suddenly bodies are pressed up against the windows and banging and yelling.
  64. Kaimana: "Oh geez."
  65. Adam Jenkins: Adam frowned, absentmindedly placing a hand just under his left armpit.
  66. Darkling: Skin and hair and other body parts squished against the windows and squeaked as other things thumped at them. You could hear the horn honking at them in vain.
  67. Stella Lacroix: Stella stares at the sight. "This is really bad..."
  68. Kaimana: "Are they just gonna harass everyone that stops for a red light?"
  69. Darkling: Suddenly a gunshot rings out and the crowd scatters. With room to move and what could be a threat the limo's tires screech as it lurches forward tossing everyone in the back around as it takes off at a high speed.
  70. Stella Lacroix: Stella looks a bit shocked after the gunshot and gets lower in her seat, tugging Seo down as well.
  71. Adam Jenkins: Adam moves to block the rear window with his body.
  72. Darkling: Kayla is laying across Kai's lap with her face buried in Tilde. Seo is on the floor and Ju has skidded across the seat into Astrid.
  73. Darkling: After a moment the limo slows back down and they clear the crowded streets.
  74. Darkling: The window separating the front and back rolls down and Elle peeks back. "Everyone alright?"
  75. Adam Jenkins: "All clear in here Ma'am. There appears to be no wounded. Status report?"
  76. Darkling: "Not sure who had the gun, but we'd guess those crazy cultists. Also could have just been a redneck, we're clear either way. About another ten minutes to the Sanctuary."
  77. Kaimana: "It’s uh...safe now." She looks down at her lap.
  78. Darkling: "It's also comfy." Kayla smiles up, but pulls herself off the other two and sits back up.
  79. Stella Lacroix: "Sorry, Seo." Stella says quietly whilst clinging.
  80. Darkling: "I'm not complaining. Sometimes the fox consort needs comforting too."(edited)
  81. Darkling: And soon enough the limo was slowing down again, and the door opening, Filipe ushering them out.
  82. Adam Jenkins: With things settled, Adam had lowered back down, though he still looked pretty tense. He was the first out of the limo, looking around intently.(edited)
  83. Stella Lacroix: "Here's hoping our trip through the marine kingdom isn't threatening."
  84. Kaimana: "Unless sharks are packing heat too now." Kai stretches once they're out. Her shirt didn't cover her abs anyhow.
  85. Darkling: Everyone else piles out. It doesn't look like there are many other people here, and you actually see signs about how it the premises is off limits to the public.
  86. Adam Jenkins: Adam didn't seem to be too relaxed by the lack of people any more than he would have by the presence of a large crowd.
  87. Darkling: "Now, some rules before we go inside." Elle speaks loudly to make sure they all hear. "Don't wander off. This is not the normal zoo people go to. This is a place dedicated to the survival of marine life in its original condition before the Second Impact."
  88. Darkling: She crosses her arms. "And don't touch anything unless you're told to. We'll have lunch ready for you later so we'll have a meeting spot you need to meet us back at by one."
  89. Stella Lacroix: Stella seems relieved by the relative lack of people and nods to Elle.
  90. Kaimana: Kai groans hearing there were rules but otherwise keeps quiet.
  91. Darkling: "If something says you can't enter, don't. There will be lots of things you can look at and interact with, so you don't need to sneak off. If you blow this, I doubt we'll let you have another outing anytime soon."
  92. Darkling: "Questions?"
  93. Kaimana: Kai stuffs her hands into her pockets, very keen on not fucking this up for the sake of beach trips.
  94. Stella Lacroix: "I'm good."
  95. Adam Jenkins: Adam nodded, paying attention to Elle speak the rules before redirecting his attention around them, constantly scanning the area.
  96. Darkling: "Alright, let's go then." And she heads towards the building.
  97. Darkling: As you head inside you are greeting by a few people in white lab coats who guide you into a guest area. "Hello kids, how are you today!" A woman says to you. "I am Dr. Ozan. I'll be guiding you through our decontamination process!"
  98. Stella Lacroix: Stella heads inside as well, looking bewildered. "Decontamination?"
  99. Darkling: "Yes. It is a pretty painless process, though probably a little discomforting if you aren't used to it. We'll split the girls and guys up to separate groups and have you strip down to your underwear. Then you'll go through three rooms that will blast you with disinfectants and dry you off, then you can change into our lab clothing we've provided."
  100. Kaimana: "I don't like the sound of that," Kai mutters.
  101. Darkling: "What about my cast?" Astrid asks.
  102. Darkling: "Oh, well...” She mumbles to the man standing beside her and he mumbles back.
  103. Darkling: "We'll have to vacuum seal it."
  104. Darkling: She looks as confused as always but stays silent.
  105. Darkling: "Are we ready?"
  106. Stella Lacroix: "I'm ready." Stella's cheeks go a bit pink.
  107. Kaimana: "I guess?"
  108. Adam Jenkins: "Ready."
  109. Darkling: "Alright. Ladies please follow me." She heads to a door with a bathroom like sign on it signifying women.
  110. Darkling: "And sir." The man ushers Adam to another door.
  111. Darkling: Once inside your rooms the ushers leave you alone to strip down and place your belongings inside lockers and instruct you to head through to the next room when you are ready.
  112. Darkling: Kayla and Astrid both don't seem too shy and start stripping right away.
  113. Kaimana: At least she gets to show of the black lacey stuff she splurged for, even if she wasn't getting any action.
  114. Darkling: Ju seems quite shy, as does Seo oddly enough.
  115. Adam Jenkins: Adam undresses without ceremony and dumps his stuff in a locker. He heads off to be decontaminated.
  116. Stella Lacroix: Stella looks totally shifty about it and hesitant. She sighs and finds a spot to change, at which point it becomes apparent for those looking that she has something written on one of her legs.
  117. Darkling: Astrid is looking, but she isn't asking.
  118. Kaimana: Kai tiiilts her head to try and read it.
  119. Darkling: Seo manages to keep her fox attire on and hops into the next room covering herself up.
  120. Stella Lacroix: It's in French, unfortunately. Except for the "Seo Seo" part.
  121. Kaimana: Kai blinks and decides it may be best to ignore it, heading for the next room.
  122. Darkling: Once everyone makes it to the next room, they move through an airlock and into a room like a glass tunnel. They can see people on the other side of the glass at some computers monitoring them. Then a blast of air shoots at them from all angles blowing hair and everything else every which way it can.
  123. Stella Lacroix: Stella's stupidly long hair goes flying in every direction, prompting a distressed wail from the girl.
  124. Kaimana: Kai jumps in surprise as the blast of air causes her necklace to launch up and smack her in the face.
  125. Darkling: Squeals and squeaks escape the others in kind.
  126. Adam Jenkins: Adam looks to the squealing before immediately looking straight forward and blocking his peripheral vision with a hand.
  127. Darkling: Hurrying into the next room, you get blasted with a powdery substance, coating them with what looks like baby powder but smells like nothing at all.
  128. Darkling: The next room is another blast of hot air blowing all the white powder off, then you're into another locker room where your guides are waiting for you with simple white jumpsuits that match their lab coats.
  129. Darkling: Astrid gets pulled aside into another room and comes out a minute later with a plastic casing around her cast.
  130. Darkling: Then they're led into the next room which is wide open with picnic tables.
  131. Kaimana: Kai works on smoothing her hair back into place as they walk.
  132. Stella Lacroix: Stella does as well, trying to salvage her hair situation. After a while she just gives up and suits up.
  133. Darkling: "Welcome to the National Marine Life Sanctuary." Dr. Ozan announces. "What you see here is a continual effort by over one hundred doctors and scientists to bring back the original condition of the ocean to our planet. We labor night and day to reverse the effects of the Second Impact on our marine life." She motions far behind her and you can see a glass wall that looks like it might be an aquarium full of blue water.
  134. Darkling: "We hope you enjoy your stay today, and that you see and learn all about the beauty of our planet. If you have any questions please head back here and there will be someone available to help you."
  135. Kaimana: Kai's hand immediately shoots up.
  136. Darkling: "Yes?"
  137. Kaimana: "How long did it take to convert the water you have here? How do you plan to do that to the, well, vast oceans of the world? What is the big difference between the red water we see and the blue water here?"
  138. Darkling: "It took us nearly a decade to convert all the water we have in this facility." She motions again behind her. "As for the differences, from what we can tell is a microorganism in the water that changes the hue. What else it does isn't quite clear, but we do know the change in water changes the environment and ecosystem entirely, making it easier for some species and harder for some to survive."
  139. Stella Lacroix: "Does it seem to have much direct effect on humans?"
  140. Darkling: "On most of the general population, no. There are people who have reported rashes in the water that they did not receive before, but this is a sub minority of less than 0.1% of the population."
  141. Kaimana: "Just a rash? That’s it?"
  142. Darkling: "Yes." She nods.
  143. Darkling: "Any more questions?"
  144. Stella Lacroix: Stella shakes her head.
  145. Adam Jenkins: Adam watched them talk.
  146. Darkling: "Alright. Please enjoy the facility!" She and the other doctor head off.
  147. Kaimana: "Ten years though, just for what’s here? Looong way to go."
  148. Darkling: "But look at the water!" Ju goes running off ahead.
  149. Stella Lacroix: "I like it better red."
  150. Kaimana: With hands on her hips Kai follows after Ju, "Wait for the rest of us!"
  151. Darkling: Tilde and Kayla follow after Kai. Astrid stay back with Adam.
  152. Stella Lacroix: Stella goes on ahead as well, at a more leisurely pace. "We've infiltrated the marine kingdom. No sign of mermaids yet. Or Cthulhu."
  153. Darkling: "But lots of delectable fish!" Seo prances along beside her.
  154. Darkling: "What do you want to look at?" Astrid asks Adam.
  155. Stella Lacroix: "It will make a worthy addition to our holdings once conquered."
  156. Darkling: As you catch up to Ju you see she is staring at an aquarium that would easily be larger than a sports stadium holding millions of gallons of water with an entire coral reef built inside it. Thousands of fish swim about that you can see in an assortment of colours, darting this way and that.
  157. Kaimana: "Wow. They've got some beautiful colors when the water is clear. I won't be able to look at the ocean the same way again."
  158. Darkling: "You can see through it. Amazing."
  159. Darkling: Kayla leans over Kai to look. "I wonder if we could swim in it."
  160. Kaimana: "That sounds way too much like fun, I doubt it."
  161. Adam Jenkins: Adam thought for a moment. "I don't know. All this seems...unreal, I guess. What about you? Do you have anything you wanna see?"
  162. Darkling: "I wanna see the mermaids!"
  163. Darkling: "Probably." Kayla frowns. "Even decontaminated." A large silvery fish with yellow stripes scoots past them and Ju lets out a cooing noise.
  164. Kaimana: Kai looks around to see how Tilde's doing.
  165. Stella Lacroix: "I wonder if there's such a thing as a fox fish..."
  166. Adam Jenkins: He laughed. "Me too. But I don't think they have any. They might have the next best thing though." He looked around, maybe they'd have manatees here.
  167. Darkling: Tilde was kind of hanging back, but staring out at the aquarium.
  168. Darkling: There was an interactive console nearby that had a map and guide system. A minute on it and you could find the location of anything you wanted to.(edited)
  169. Darkling: Ju hurried along ahead of everyone else to see what she could find.
  170. Kaimana: Kai kept her little group following after Ju, hands on her hips usually.
  171. Darkling: Kayla looped back and scooped up Tilde's elbow and dragged her along at pace with Kai, leaving Seo, Stella, Adam and Astrid behind.
  173. Darkling: Circling around the large aquarium with Kayla and Tilde, you notice you've lost sight of the others Kai. Seems you are on your own with these two girls.
  174. Darkling: Up ahead you see a few signs pointing to different exhibits in the sanctuary. One leads to a dark tunnel, another to an above ground viewing deck and a third through more large aquariums.
  175. Kaimana: "Well...should we vote on which way to go?" She looks at the signs with her hands on her hips.
  176. Darkling: "Well, why not all of them?" Kayla says.
  177. Kaimana: "Which one first then?"
  178. Darkling: "Upstairs?" Tilde suggests.
  179. Kaimana: "Upstairs!" Kai points and then leads the way.
  180. Darkling: Up they go. You can see a path that winds its way through several swimming pool sized pools that lead off into the distance.
  181. Kaimana: "Geez, what are they keeping up here," she asks as she peers into the first pool.
  182. Darkling: Starfish!
  183. Darkling: And dozens of them too, all shapes, sizes and colours.
  184. Darkling: "Aww, they're so cute." Kayla gets her face right up to the water to see them.
  185. Kaimana: Kai gets down on the knees and reaches a hand in to poke at the nearest starfish, "Check em all out."
  186. Darkling: It doesn't react at all to the poke.
  187. Darkling: Kayla reaches in to poke it. "Are we allowed to do this?"
  188. Darkling: "We were decontaminated, right?" Tilde says getting in close too.
  189. Kaimana: "I don't see any signs saying we can't anyway."
  190. Darkling: "This water is amazing." Kayla runs her hand back and forth like a fish, watching it move through the crystal clear water.
  191. Kaimana: "I like it a lot more than the stuff we're stuck with. It’s so clear!" She cups her hand to lift some out and pours it back into the pool.
  192. Kaimana: "This is so great."
  193. Darkling: Tilde gets up and heads towards the next pool.
  194. Kaimana: Kai shakes her hand dry and follows.
  195. Darkling: Kayla ups and follows. You hear Tilde squeal in delight. "They have sting rays!"
  196. Kaimana: Kai jogs the rest of the way just so she can get a look, "Ah! They're so cute! Like...sea pancakes."
  197. Darkling: What could be near a hundred of stings rays swim about in circles around the pool.
  198. Kaimana: "Think they just do that all day?" Her hand's in the water again already, trying to touch the back of a ray.
  199. Darkling: They glide over and under Kai's hand giving her the feeling of wet leather.
  200. Darkling: "Well, they don't have anywhere else to go I guess." Kayla shrugs.
  201. Kaimana: "Poor little guys, they should put you in a bigger tank right?" She grins, petting a few more before standing up.
  202. Darkling: "Want to feed them? A man's voice chirps up suddenly from behind them startling Tilde enough that she splashes herself with water.
  203. Kaimana: "Hell yeah!"
  204. Darkling: He plops down a bucket full of halved fish. "Now, grab a fish and hold it like this." He holds it like an ice cream cone with most of the fish sticking up. "And just place your hand in the water deep enough for them to swim over it. You'll feel them pull on the fish, and you just let go!"
  205. Darkling: "I'll pass." Tilde says, leaning forward against the pool to watch. Kayla isn't afraid and grabs a fish in each hand and shoves them into the water.
  206. Kaimana: Kai grabs a fish too, laying down to get her hand in nice and deep.
  207. Darkling: Quickly enough a sting ray swims over and you can feel its suction like mouth sucking away until it pulls the fish out of your hand.
  208. Kaimana: "Ha!" She kicks her legs and laughs, "Awesome!"
  209. Darkling: "There's a few fish, just leave the bucket when you're done." The man heads off with a clipboard checking out the other pools.
  210. Kaimana: "This place is pretty cool so far," says the girl with a fish in each hand now.
  211. Darkling: Fish in her hands? Not if the hungry sting rays can help it.
  212. Kaimana: Kai is thrilled by the whole thing and one empty bucket later she's still smiling. "Let’s see what else is up here."
  213. Darkling: "Alright." Kayla is up and hopping off to the next closest pool.
  214. Darkling: "I think I'll sit here a bit." Tilde says and just stays watching the sting rays.
  215. Kaimana: "We'll come back for you."
  216. Darkling: "Okay." She says a bit meekly.
  217. Darkling: The next pool doesn't seem too exiting, at least compared to sting rays. It is full of urchins and sea cucumbers.
  218. Kaimana: "Weird. Must suck to step on one of those," she says pointing to an urchin.
  219. Darkling: "Or one of these." Kayla pulls a blobby looking thing out of the water. "It's a sea hare!"
  220. Kaimana: "It's like a...weird kind of slug."
  221. Darkling: "Oh... ew." She puts it back in the water and shows her gooey purplish hands. "It gooed me." The hands come towards Kai.
  222. Kaimana: "Like one of those Chinese cartoons, gross~" She laughs as she grabs Kayla's wrists, steering her hands away from her.
  223. Darkling: "I'll get you too!" She leans in and struggles against Kai's grip.(edited)
  224. Kaimana: "Just wipe your hands off on the jumpsuit already, geez~"
  225. Darkling: "Okay okay." She gives up and cleans her hands off. "What else do you think they've got here?
  226. Kaimana: "Uh...dunno. Let’s check out one more and then head back?"
  227. Darkling: There's still at least a dozen pools to pick from. The next closes appears to have a mock tide pool in it. You can see all sorts of little fish diving in and out of cover.
  228. Kaimana: "So I guess all these species are having a hard time out in the ocean now?"
  229. Darkling: "Must be. I'm sure if the air was suddenly all cloudy we'd be pretty screwed too."
  230. Darkling: A small octopus scoots from under one rock to another.
  231. Kaimana: "Check out this little guy." She squats down and points.
  232. Darkling: You can see its tentacles pulling under the rock as tight as it can to hide from you.
  233. Kaimana: She reaches in to move the rock.
  234. Darkling: As soon as the rock budges it’s moving away to find another hiding place out of reach.
  235. Kaimana: "Aw, he's shy."
  236. Kaimana: She sighs and drops the rock back into the water, "Too quick for me mister octopus."
  237. Darkling: "Should we go back and check on Tilde?"
  238. Kaimana: "Yeah, let’s grab her and check out another exhibit."
  239. Darkling: Kayla's up and heading back in Tilde's direction.
  240. Kaimana: Kai follows, "Didn't know she was so into sting rays."
  241. Darkling: She's still sitting there, and when she sees the two girls coming her way she hugs herself and leans back against the rocks.
  242. Kaimana: "C'mon, we're gonna see what else is around here."
  243. Darkling: "I'm... I okay...” She shrugs non-chalantly.
  244. Kaimana: Kai stops, hands on her hips again. "What’s up with you? Not feeling good or something?"
  245. Darkling: She turns around holding her arms across her chest. You can see where she splashed herself quite vividly through the white shirt they gave her to wear as she averts her eyes to the ground. "I'm, a little... um...”
  246. Kaimana: "Exposed, yeah."
  247. Darkling: She at least still has her underwear on underneath, but it doesn't look to be drying quickly.
  248. Kaimana: "Y'know they look pretty big like that. Right?" She looks back at Kayla.
  249. Darkling: Kayla is leaning halfway down into the sting ray pool as you look to her. She comes back up just as see through.
  250. Kaimana: Kai blinks. "Uh..."
  251. Darkling: "Now you're not the only one exposed."
  252. Kaimana: "Great idea!" Kai snaps her fingers and runs over to the pool, doing the exact same thing to herself. Of course her bra is all too easy to see now being black.
  253. Darkling: "You didn't have to do that you know." Tilde says, looking a little less embarrassed at least.
  254. Kaimana: "Psh, don't worry about it." She gets between Tilde and Kay, arms around shoulders. "Now let’s go see what else this place has. There was a dark tunnel if you're still worried about being seen."
  255. Darkling: "Sounds good to me!" Kayla smiles, head on Kai's shoulder.
  256. Darkling: "Alright...” Tilde agrees.
  258. Darkling: You had been walking around the dark tunnels of deep sea creatures for the better part of an hour now, finding all sorts of jellyfish, shrimp and crabs, anglerfish, and other weird looking translucent creatures.
  259. Darkling: The whole time of course Seo was clinging to Stella and creeped out by almost every new thing you found.
  260. Stella Lacroix: "Wow. What do you think is up with that little thing? It looks like a floating alien head from another dimension..." Stella points out to a peculiar little transparent creature.
  261. Darkling: Seo bends down to read the sign. "Pacific Viperfish Babies."
  262. Darkling: She looks up at the floaty thing. "Maybe it's in the wrong tank?"
  263. Stella Lacroix: "That's what they want us to believe." Stella lowers her voice, giving the area a suspicious look. She goes on in a quiet voice, doing her best to sound ominous. "These things could be government experiments. Or creatures mutated by the red sea, brought in for study..."
  264. Darkling: Her eye go wide in the darkness as she pulls away from the tank. "That sounds evil. Is this place the lair of a supervillain?"
  265. Stella Lacroix: "It must be. Doesn't that totally look like a supervillain's mutant pet? Or maybe a superhero who failed and paid the ultimate price? Can you feel its sorrow?" Stella points out a sad, blubbery looking thing in a tank.
  266. Darkling: "I feel like it wants to absorb my brain matter."(edited)
  267. Stella Lacroix: "Don't even think about it, punk." Stella says in the direction of the tank.
  268. Darkling: In response the creature flutters in the water and moves away from the glass.
  269. Darkling: "My hero!" Seo throws her arms around Stella.
  270. Stella Lacroix: Stella returns the gesture, briefly wondering if she's developing mind powers. She smiles at the thought.
  271. Darkling: After a moment Seo skips off ahead seemingly have gotten over her fears of the creatures.
  272. Stella Lacroix: Stella walks ahead at a brisk pace to keep up, occasionally looking at whatever catches her attention. "We will proceed deeper into the lair."
  273. Darkling: You find Seo looking at a larger tank than you've seen before full of moray eels.(edited)
  274. Stella Lacroix: Stella goes up to the tank, tilting her head back. "I wish I had one this size." Then after a pause. "A tank, I mean."
  275. Darkling: "You have that giant one with the snake in it." Her face follows one of the eels as it sways back and forth.
  276. Stella Lacroix: "I know. But a personal tank full of water would be so nice." Stella watches the eel. "Like a giant tub."
  277. Darkling: Behind you, you hear a WHAP.
  278. Stella Lacroix: Stella jumps and whirls around.
  279. Darkling: There's a squid pressed up again the glass of a tank, tentacles splayed out and beak mouth biting at nothing.
  280. Stella Lacroix: "Another brain eater. Beware." She whispers to Seo.
  281. Darkling: Seo turns around and her face squished up. "Eww."
  282. Darkling: The squid pulls away from the glass and hovers there, seemingly watching the girls.(edited)
  283. Stella Lacroix: "Bonjour, squid." Stella waves to it and then says something in French. Whatever it is, it sounds nice.
  284. Darkling: It whaps against the glass again in response and bites fruitlessly before backing off again and floating away from the glass.
  285. Darkling: "These things are weird. I think that one doesn't like being here."
  286. Stella Lacroix: "I guess it spoke French." Stella says, cracking a smile.
  287. Stella Lacroix: "I guess I can relate, though. This must be a very different place from its native environment."
  288. Darkling: Ahead you can see tiny little jellyfish blobbing around in a cylindrical tank.
  289. Stella Lacroix: "You know what's weird about jellyfish?" She goes up to the tank, watching the jellies.
  290. Darkling: "They don't taste like jello?" She follows.
  291. Stella Lacroix: "Or jelly. But supposedly some jellyfish species are considered biologically immortal. In theory we might have jellyfish floating in the sea that have been around for hundreds of years. Or even longer."
  292. Darkling: "Creepy. I wonder how old these are." She taps at the tank.
  293. Stella Lacroix: "We may never know. Good manners dictate that we can't ask the ladies their age, but I don't know how to tell the ladies from the gents."
  294. Darkling: She smushed her face into the glass." I can't tell if they have the right parts to be ladies or gents."
  295. Stella Lacroix: Stella gets on the other side of the glass, opposite from Seo, and face smushes as well. "Neither can I. It's a mystery."
  296. Darkling: She shushes her face downwards giving herself a pig like appearance. "The evil boarmen are coming! Look out jellies!"
  297. Stella Lacroix: Stella takes a step backwards and gasps in feigned horror, then falls to the ground dramatically.
  298. Darkling: Seo gasps as well and runs around the tank, 'accidentally' tripping and falling on top of Stella. "I'll save you!"
  299. Stella Lacroix: "Captured." Stella hugs Seo not long after the 'accident'. "And now I must confess... I'm the supervillain."
  300. Darkling: Another gasp. "You dastardly villain! Whatever will you do to me!?"
  301. Stella Lacroix: "I'll give you tea and crumpets like some deviant English person."
  302. Darkling: "Not crumpets! Noo!" She wiggles and struggles.
  303. Stella Lacroix: "Yes! Yes! I'll give you crumpets and you'll like it!" Stella tightens her grip and has a giggle fit.
  304. Darkling: Seo also giggles.
  305. Darkling: Ju also giggles.
  306. Stella Lacroix: It takes her a few moments to notice the other giggle. She looks from left to right, spotting Ju and waving. "Good afternoon."
  307. Darkling: "Eep!" She moves behind the jellyfish tank to hide, but now she just looks distorted.
  308. Stella Lacroix: "Enjoying the scenery?" Stella asks, a bit pink in her cheeks.
  309. Darkling: "I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to spy."
  310. Stella Lacroix: Stella moves to stand, tugging Seo up along with her. "That's exactly what a government spy would say."
  311. Darkling: "Government spy?" Ju looks confused.
  312. Darkling: "Is she from the republic of boars?" Seo asks, fixing her skirt.
  313. Stella Lacroix: Stella ponders explaining it, but decides to leave the poor girl to her confusion. "Maybe. She doesn't look like it, and I don't see any scars from surgical alterations. If she's from the republic of boars they've gotten a lot better at hiding the evidence."
  314. Darkling: "I'm so confused." Ju takes off her glasses to clean them.
  315. Stella Lacroix: "Do you like bacon?"
  316. Darkling: "Well, only sometimes."
  317. Stella Lacroix: "Good enough for me." Stella stage whispers to Seo. "I don't think she's a boar. They go into a rage if anyone mentions bacon."
  318. Darkling: "Good deducing." She nods. "What are you doing down here?"
  319. Darkling: "I thought this would be the only place people wouldn't come."
  320. Stella Lacroix: "I was thinking that, too." Stella lets out a wistful sigh. "Did you want to be alone?"
  321. Darkling: "No...” She looks sheepish. "I just don't think I fit in with your friends."
  322. Stella Lacroix: "I don't have much in common with them either. But I still think they're decent people."
  323. Darkling: "I didn't say that...” She frowns. "I like them! They're good people!"
  324. Stella Lacroix: "Maybe you just need something to break the ice with?"
  325. Darkling: "I don't know what that means."
  326. Darkling: She has slowly moved closer to both you and Seo, making her way around the tank.
  327. Stella Lacroix: "Something to get a conversation going and bond over. Like..." Stella stops herself and ponders.
  328. Darkling: "What is your favourite animal?" Seo asks.
  329. Darkling: "Jellyfish!" Ju does a :3 face.
  330. Stella Lacroix: "Have a favorite jellyfish?"
  331. Darkling: "The Flower Hat Jellyfish!" She looks happy just thinking about it.(edited)
  332. Darkling: "They're so small and delicate, but so beautiful!"
  333. Stella Lacroix: "Don't think I've heard of that one before. Think you could tell us how to tell the males and females apart?" Stella eyes the jellyfish tank.
  334. Darkling: "Not without dissecting them."
  335. Stella Lacroix: "That's really tricky. How can they tell which is which during mating season?"
  336. Darkling: "I think you can tell by watching them do it. I've never really had the chance to study them before."
  337. Stella Lacroix: "Maybe there are videos of them doing it on the internet." Stella says, trying to keep a straight face and sound serious.
  338. Darkling: "Oh I should look that up later!" She seems excited.
  339. Darkling: Seo wrinkles her nose to keep from laughing. "But see, now you are talking, and you are talking and happy, instead of being shy! All you need to do is ask about what they like and most people won't shut up."
  340. Stella Lacroix: "The ice has been broken. And as you can see, Seo is very wise."
  341. Darkling: Seo nods.
  342. Darkling: "Oooh." Ju takes a moment to think. "So I should just ask what they like, and fake being into it."
  343. Stella Lacroix: "It helps if you have a genuine interest of your own. Try to find out different things they like and then pick out the one that works best for you."
  344. Darkling: She smiles. "Thank you!"
  345. Stella Lacroix: Stella gives Ju a thumbs up.
  346. Darkling: Ju then wanders off ahead of them disappearing into the dark.
  347. Stella Lacroix: "Hey, Seo... do you think jellyfish pair off for life?"
  348. Darkling: "I don't think so." She plops her face onto Stella's shoulder. "I think they don't care about that kind of stuff. Too busy floating and being squishy."
  350. Darkling: ~~~~~
  351. Darkling: Everyone else had wandered off into the sanctuary to look at exhibits leaving you alone Adam. Wait. No, not alone. Astrid was beside you looking up. "Guess you're stuck with me." She said.
  352. Adam Jenkins: " I wouldn't call it stuck." He said with a smile. " Privileged would be a better word."
  353. Darkling: She smiled back, blinking her pinkish eyes. "What do you want to look at?"
  354. Adam Jenkins: "I don't know. This place is a lot bigger than I could have imagined. Didn't you say you wanted to see a mermaid?"
  355. Darkling: "A mermaid would be cool!"
  356. Adam Jenkins: " I know something people used to say looks like a mermaid. I've never seen one in person though."
  357. Darkling: "Will you show me?"
  358. Adam Jenkins: He nodded and let her off, looking for the manatee.
  359. Darkling: She follows along skipping and humming a tune that had absolutely no rhythm to it.
  360. Darkling: There was an interactive map kiosk that showed you the way to the manatees. It was through a few other areas off to the left, past the dolphin exhibit.
  361. Adam Jenkins: He would lead her to the Dolphins first and then to the manatee. As she skipped he looked at her. "So tell me about yourself. I really haven't gotten much of a chance to get to know any of you guys."
  362. Darkling: "I'm Astrid!" She said energetically as if that answered everything about her.
  363. Adam Jenkins: He laughed. "I'm Adam. But I meant more like, what's your favorite color?"
  364. Darkling: "I like pink!" She was wearing pink and had pink dyed into her white hair. "And I like green, but I like pink more."
  365. Darkling: "What colours do you like?"
  366. Adam Jenkins: " I have to say my favorite color is probably blue. But I'm pretty fond of bronze too."
  367. Darkling: "Isn't bronze a metal and not a colour?"
  368. Adam Jenkins: He shrugged. " I say if they have a crayon for it, then it counts."
  369. Darkling: "I guess that makes sense."
  370. Darkling: You're passing by the dolphin exhibit right now. There's some massive pools built with both underwater and above ground viewing.
  371. Darkling: A few dolphins chase each other past the viewing area you're currently at before circling around to stare at you.
  372. Adam Jenkins: He stopped. "These aren't the ones I was talking about. But I think I read somewhere that they are super smart and they're like really good friends to people."
  373. Darkling: Astrid walks up to the window and the three dolphins all congregate down to look at her, making noises.
  374. Adam Jenkins: He watched with a small smile on his face. " I think they like you."
  375. Darkling: She raised her hands and they all did spins and came back to stare at her again making her giggle.
  376. Adam Jenkins: " I wonder if these guys have been trained." He said only slightly to himself.
  377. Darkling: Astrid started running off ahead and the dolphins took off after her.
  378. Adam Jenkins: Adam's eyes went wide and he ran off after her.
  379. Darkling: For a tiny girl she was pretty quick, but that didn't stop someone your size from catching up to her.
  380. Darkling: She's leaning against a wall and the dolphins are still watching her.
  381. Darkling: As you approach the dolphins all scatter again, leaving just you and Astrid alone.
  382. Adam Jenkins: "Wow. They really like you." He breathed. "You must be really good with animals"
  383. Darkling: "I like animals, so I think they like me back." She shrugs. "I like you too. You're like a big brother."
  384. Adam Jenkins: He grinned. "Thanks Astrid. Never had any siblings before. Well. I had my brothers at the base. But no little sisters."
  385. Darkling: "I'm a little sister?!" Her eyes go big and shiny.
  386. Adam Jenkins: "Well if I'm a big brother then that makes you a sister." He laughed. "But...wait how old are you anyways?"
  387. Darkling: "Fifteen."
  388. Adam Jenkins: "Then yeah, you're my little sister."
  389. Darkling: "Okay!" She takes your hand and leads you up a set of stairs to the upper deck around the dolphins.
  390. Darkling: The upper deck isn't overly interesting, just a long platform that follows the pool the dolphins are in. You can see them occasionally swim by, jump out of the water, and splash around as they play with each other.
  391. Adam Jenkins: "I kinda wish life was that easy." He said watching them.
  392. Darkling: "It usually is. Unless the monsters show up."
  393. Darkling: She skips along holding you hand as you continue ahead to the manatee exhibit.
  394. Adam Jenkins: "You don't worry about the next attack?"
  395. Darkling: "Not really." Skip skip. "Until they repair my robot I can't do anything anyway. And five years is a long time away."
  396. Adam Jenkins: "I dunno. I'm not sure I agree that monsters follow schedules."
  397. Darkling: "I suppose that makes sense." You finally pass by the dolphins and head through a tunnel downwards towards the manatees.
  398. Adam Jenkins: "How long have you lived at Nerv?"
  399. Darkling: "All my life. As far as I know. My parents died when I was born and they took care of me."
  400. Adam Jenkins: "Oh. Yeah. I been with them most of my life too."
  401. Darkling: "Really? I thought I was the only one."
  402. Darkling: You emerge from the other end of the tunnel and find yourself face to face with a floating sea cow. Of course it's behind glass though.
  403. Adam Jenkins: He gestured. "Behold. The graceful manatee. The first mermaid."
  404. Darkling: Astrid presses her face on the glass. "It's so chubby!"
  405. Adam Jenkins: He grinned. "Sailors used to love these guys."
  406. Darkling: "Really? Why?" Her face glides across the glass squeaking as it does so. The manatee follows suit, face bumping into the glass.
  407. Adam Jenkins: "All that time at sea, I guess they get really lonely."
  408. Darkling: "They would make a cuddly friend." Squeeeeeeeak. "Like a living bean bag chair."
  409. Adam Jenkins: He laughed. "Exactly.”
  410. Darkling: Another manatee slowly floats over, bumping into the first to follow Astrid as she smears her face across the glass leaving streaks everywhere.
  411. Adam Jenkins: Adam grins and shakes his head. It was weird how the animals all liked her. But he couldn't deny the appeal.
  412. Darkling: "They don't look like normal mermaids though." She pulls her face from the glass to look back at Adam.
  413. Adam Jenkins: He shrugged. "Real life doesn't always reflect stories."
  414. Darkling: "Aww."
  415. Adam Jenkins: "But they're still pretty cute."
  416. Darkling: "Yeah, they are."
  417. Darkling: She heads back over beside Adam and takes his hand again. "Thanks!"
  418. Adam Jenkins: "No problem." He grinned.
  419. Darkling: ============END===========
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