Darkling

NERV Hawaii: Episode Six - Celebration!

Oct 6th, 2017
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  1. Darkling: Surprisingly you did not have to attend school the day following the battle. In fact, most civilians were told to take the day off work if possible while repairs crews worked hard around the clock to repair what damage was done during the fight.
  2. Darkling: This of course left you all cooped up at home in the morning with the promise you'd be taken out for food later at a sort of lunch party in celebration. It was still mid-morning, a good two hours before you were to leave.
  3. Stella Lacroix: Stella has herself parked on a couch, humming a tune while she scribbles something in a notebook. Seems she's already dressed to go, too. "Sad that they'd mess with a day off by making us go out."
  4. Darkling: "I heard we get cake though." Astrid said sitting on the couch beside her and doodling with some markers.
  5. Stella Lacroix: "It's because light shined down from the heavens and a booming voice said 'Let them eat cake.'"
  6. Kaimana: Kaimana sits in the kitchen downing a smoothie. She was still feeling restless and irritated, too annoyed to even focus on meditation this morning.
  7. Darkling: "And also that most of the upper staff will be there too."
  8. Stella Lacroix: "That reeks of a party."
  9. Leon: "They just want to make us think they appreciate us as more than test subjects or weaponry." Leon says as he toys with an arrow while taking a seat down in a living room chair. Though for all that said, he also was dressed and ready to go.
  10. Stella Lacroix: "I can live with it. I still don't really have a problem with it. It's dangerous, but for now I'd rather it be me than some of our fellow students."
  11. Kaimana: Kai brought her glass into the living room as flopped down into a chair, gulping down the rest of her greed drink. "Hrff."
  12. Stella Lacroix: "We could probably talk to them about things that might make us more comfortable on the job. I'm alright considering a few things." She waves her notepad.
  13. Darkling: "Like what?" Astrid leans to sneak a look.
  14. Stella Lacroix: "A paint job."
  15. Darkling: "What colours did you get?"
  16. Stella Lacroix: "Mine is like a banana with turquoise." Stella says a bit flatly, eyes narrowing.
  17. Darkling: That at least elicits a giggle from the girl.
  18. Leon: "Hmm... Mine wasn't colored too badly, brown and silver."
  19. Kaimana: "Pretty sure the one I had was ugly."
  20. Darkling: "Well, colours aren't always everything."
  21. Darkling: With that comment Elle comes clomping into the room in her heels. "I hope you are all on your best behavior today. There will be a lot of important people at this luncheon."
  22. Kaimana: Kai groans and rolls her eyes, "Sounds like a real celebration of what we did."(edited)
  23. Stella Lacroix: "You won't get any trouble from me."
  24. Leon: "Yeah, yeah. I know how these things go."
  25. Darkling: Elle rolls her eyes right back at Kai. "You don't understand how corporations work and that's fine. We'll celebrate ourselves another day, if you'd like."
  26. Kaimana: "If this is so a bunch of people can pat each other on the back why even bother with us?"
  27. Darkling: "Would you rather sit here and brood on your own or enjoy a day at the beach?"
  28. Kaimana: "I have to attend this thing to get another day at the beach?"
  29. Darkling: Elle sighs. "I thought you would be happy to have a day at the beach. But apparently I'm wrong." She shakes her head and stomps out of the room muttering to herself about children.
  30. Kaimana: Kai throws her hands up in the air and hops up, gritting her teeth as she quietly fumes.
  31. Stella Lacroix: "Is it really that bad?"
  32. Kaimana: "I'm not into being paraded around. They can go jerk themselves off to how great NERV is without involving us."
  33. Stella Lacroix: "You're probably right, but I'm reserving my judgment until after it's over."
  34. Darkling: "I've been to a few of their events. A lot of people in suits and dresses with fancy music and stuff." Astrid pipes up. "I'm usually bored, but this time I have you guys."
  35. Stella Lacroix: Stella nods in agreement. "As a group we can at least keep each other company. Maybe enjoy the music if it's any good."
  36. Leon: "Sounds about right for this kind of thing. All they want is for us to be silent and nothing else really."
  37. Kaimana: "It’s like when the government would come to check out the orphanage. The sisters would tell us to be seen, not heard, like good little children."
  38. Darkling: "The food is usually quite good though."
  39. Leon: "Essentially, this is just a chance for them to show off their new /tools/ they've been developing."
  40. Kaimana: Kai spins on her heel and flops back down into her chair, seeming to deflate.
  41. Stella Lacroix: "It's important tech. Unfortunate in the way it works, but maybe they'll be able to improve it as long as there are successes to show off."
  42. Darkling: ~~~~~~
  43. Darkling: After another while of brooding everyone loaded into the limo and they drove off. After a half hour you approached your destination, the private beach that you spent a day at weeks ago.
  44. Kaimana: "...crap."
  45. Stella Lacroix: "...merde."
  46. Kaimana: "Geez, Elle, just tell me it's at the beach next time."
  47. Darkling: "I thought I made that clear when I said we were going to the beach." She glowers behind her phone.
  48. Darkling: The limo pulls into other very full parking lot and stops, then Filipe is opening the door to let everyone out.
  49. Stella Lacroix: Stella comes out of the limo, looking a bit like a deer in the headlights as she instantly regrets not seizing the opportunity to not brood at home alone.
  50. Kaimana: "I'm not even dressed for the beach now, damn."
  51. Kaimana: Kai got out of the limo and looked around.
  52. Leon: "Well, let's get this done with then." Leon says as he steps out of the limo.
  53. Darkling: A large portion of the beach has been covered by a makeshift patio that they likely had stored away for occasions just like this. There was at least a few dozen people in dressy clothes mingling with each other, drinking champagne and snacking on a huge spread of finger foods.(edited)
  54. Darkling: A few faces you can recognize are among them. Roberta, Dr. Smith, The Vice Commander Oscar, and a lot of unknowns.
  55. Kaimana: "I'll say this once Elle." She cleared her throat. "I'm sorry I misunderstood what you were saying."
  56. Darkling: She seems taken aback and surprised. "Thank you."
  57. Kaimana: "I don't have my surfing stuff and we just got here, don't thank me yet."
  58. Darkling: As you approach the patio there is a sign laying out seating for guests. Looks like you're all at a table with a few people you haven't met before, at the back of the crowd away from the stage, but close to the food.
  59. Darkling: You can also hear the soft tones of music playing up on the stage as they have a live band performing for the event.
  60. Kaimana: "Shoulda worn my t-shirt that looks like a tuxedo."
  61. Stella Lacroix: Stella stares. She still doesn't seem to know what to make of it, but the music at least calms her a bit.
  62. Darkling: You're approached by Oscar as you reach the patio. He's dressed in a colourfully flamboyant Hawaiian shirt with a lei around his neck. "Welcome welcome!" He booms. "I'm glad you made it!" He helps Astrid up onto the patio. "Please enjoy the food and festivities, we'll have a big bonfire out on the beach when it starts to get darker tonight."
  63. Stella Lacroix: "Bonfire.” Stella repeats, looking troubled for a few moments. It passes in favor of a gloomy look soon after.
  64. Darkling: "In the meantime I unfortunately have a lot of people to talk to and greet." He gives Leon a pat on the shoulder as he passes by to say hello to the next people.
  65. Kaimana: "Really battin' a hundred on this beach trip," Kai says with a heavy sigh.
  66. Leon: "Right then... Now comes the waiting part." Leon says as he takes a seat.
  67. Darkling: "Come on. We're here for free food, drinks, dancing, and music. Try and enjoy something." Elle says before taking a glass of champagne off a tray.
  68. Kaimana: "C'mon Astrid, we'll get you some stuff with high calories. Gotta fill out that figure of yours."
  69. Darkling: "Okay." She follows beside Kaimana.
  70. Stella Lacroix: Stella goes off with them for some food. She keeps an eye on the champagne tray in the meantime, looking
  71. Darkling: There's assorted sweets and pastries, different kinds of sausages and meats, cheese and cracker platters, different pickles things, caviar, crusty looking breads...
  72. Kaimana: "Of course there's caviar. What, no little gold spoons to eat it with too?" She rolls her eyes, loading up two plates at once. Astrid gets anything high in carbs and fats. She was skinny enough currently that her body would need a jump-start in weight gain.(edited)
  73. Darkling: Astrid picks at food as Kai fills the plates, popping a grape in her mouth.
  74. Stella Lacroix: Stella eats sparingly, sampling a little bit of everything in tiny portions.
  75. Leon: Leon for his part just sat there at the table looking bored. Nothing to do really at these things but wait until they wanted to glower over their accomplishments or such at you. Maybe then he'd go ahead and get food as an excuse to leave for a bit.
  76. Kaimana: Astrid has quite the plate of sweets when Kai is done. "There we go. That should be a good start."
  77. Darkling: The music isn't half bad. You can see a group of five people up on the stage, a keyboardist, saxophone player, a cellist, drummer and a large slap bassist.
  78. Darkling: Astrid pops a cream filled pastry in her mouth, eyes wide in delight.
  79. Kaimana: Kai smiles, patting the girl on her head.
  80. Stella Lacroix: "It's decent music." Stella's attention is mostly fixed on the stage now.
  81. Darkling: Leon, sitting with you at the table are two younger women. One has raven black hair and glasses, the other is a red head with freckles. They seem to be having a decent time chatting with each other and drinking.
  82. Stella Lacroix: "How does the food tonight stack up to the usual?" Stella asks Astrid.
  83. Darkling: "It's sweeeeet." Another pastry disappears.
  84. Kaimana: "Glad you like 'em. Everything is fine in moderation." Kai takes one too, popping it into her mouth.
  85. Darkling: Oh look, Erika Jackson is approaching the lot of you.
  86. Kaimana: Oh crap, everyone stop having fun! ...Good job Leon!
  87. Stella Lacroix: Stella nods to Erika.
  88. Leon: Great, it's the Boss Lady. You'd think she hated these kind of things. Best not to make eye contact. Leon thus decides to turn his attention back to the table, looking over the two girls. Curious that they'd be here at this table.
  89. Kaimana: Another creampuff disappears just to make sure Kai is mentally ready to deal with Jackson.
  90. Adam Jenkins: The woman crossed her arms and scowled. Then she grinned. "You did good, kids. You saved a lot of people out there."
  91. Stella Lacroix: "I enjoyed it. It felt really interesting." Stella says, seeming to mean it.
  92. Darkling: Elle rejoins beside Jackson drink in hand. "Thank you General. They did perform admirably."
  93. Adam Jenkins: "This doesn't mean we can slow down training. We have to be ready if this ever happens again. But I want you to know that we appreciate the work you do for all of mankind."
  94. Kaimana: Kai manages not to rolls her eyes, instead stuffing her mouth to keep from saying anything sarcastic.
  95. Stella Lacroix: "It helps knowing the reason for the training. I want to do my best on the field."
  96. Darkling: Astrid follows Kai's lead and stuffs her face full of food.
  97. Leon: "Right, I suppose by the time the next one attacks in so many years we'll be more prepared, anyways."
  98. Darkling: "Of course we hope that isn't going to happen but we always have to plan for the worst."
  99. Adam Jenkins: "Exactly. So enjoy the festivities tonight. You earned it. Training starts again tomorrow. “She nodded to them before going to speak to some suit or another waving her over.
  100. Darkling: The girls at the table are trying to get your attention Leon.
  101. Kaimana: "I'm going to need to exercise more than usual to work all this off," Kaimana laments as she helps Astrid work through her plate of sweets.
  102. Stella Lacroix: "Brooding seems to do it for me."
  103. Leon: Are they glancing back? Well, makes sense considering I suppose. "Right, hi there. I'm Leon."
  104. Darkling: "We know!" The red head half shouts at you. "I'm Natalie and this is Amanda." She leans over the table even more. "You're one of the pilots right?"
  105. Darkling: "My tummy kind of hurts." Astrid says looking up at Kai, whipped cream and chocolate smeared across her lips.
  106. Kaimana: "Let’s sit down and get you some water, that’s enough sweets for tonight." Kai takes the plate and sets it aside, helping Astrid to their table.
  107. Leon: "Yeah, that's right. I didn't realize we were famous... I thought that was supposed to be a secret or something? So what brings you two to this party?"
  108. Darkling: "Hi Astrid." Amanda says before turning her attention back to Leon.
  109. Darkling: "Well, we work in the bridge at Nerv." Natalie says. "We manage your connections and monitor your health while you're synched up in them."
  110. Kaimana: Astrid gets a cup of water before Kai plops down too, sitting so she can look out at the beach instead of the party though.
  111. Darkling: The music picks up into a little bit more jazzy style, the Saxophone player taking center stage. Elle sits down to join the others at the table.
  112. Stella Lacroix: Stella moves over to take a seat as well.
  113. Leon: "Huh, well I guess it makes sense that they'd be monitoring us while in those machines."
  114. Darkling: Astrid waves to Amanda and sips on her water.
  115. Leon: "But they can get detailed information on our physical health while in those things then?"
  116. Darkling: She nods. "We get a lot of information on you. Heart rate, blood pressure, brain activity, all the good stuff."
  117. Darkling: She downs her glass of champagne and grabs another as a waiter passes by with a platter.
  118. Leon: "Huh, so that means you got a pretty good view of us fighting that monster too, then?"
  119. Darkling: "Oh yeah. We have cameras everywhere. We got all the best views."
  120. Darkling: "Way to sound like a creep Nat."(edited)
  121. Kaimana: "Brainwaves and cameras everywhere. I'll have to remember that."
  122. Darkling: "It's not as bad as she makes it seem. Nerv does have a lot of security systems and records a lot. Even this party." Amanda points up to some drones circling around with cameras on them.
  123. Stella Lacroix: "It sounds interesting. Do any of us have noticeably better brainwaves than the others?"
  124. Darkling: "Well, we're not supposed to discuss those details. We just monitor."
  125. Darkling: "Oh don't be so stuck up Amanda."
  126. Stella Lacroix: "How about just the aesthetics? Do the patterns made by anyone's brainwaves seem especially nice looking?"
  127. Leon: "How would you catergorize better brainwaves, anyways? Like who remained the most calm, or who had the most adreniline?"
  128. Darkling: "I'll tell you who's good loo-uff." Natalie holds her side. and glares at Amanda.(edited)
  129. Darkling: The music seems to be getting louder and more dramatic.
  130. Darkling: "So, what was it like?" Natalie leans forward again. "In control of that great big war machine?"
  131. Stella Lacroix: Stella looks amused, content in believing that her brainwaves are the prettiest. She turns her attention to the performers.
  132. Leon: "Hmm... it wasn't actually that odd. Well, once you got past the being submerged in breathable liquid."
  133. Stella Lacroix: "I thought that part was neat."
  134. Kaimana: "I'll be fine if we never need to use them again."
  135. Darkling: "Well I'm sure being wet was the least of your worries."
  136. Darkling: The music appears to be getting closer.
  137. Leon: "Yeah, the monster was a bit higher priority."
  138. Stella Lacroix: "Ooooh..."
  139. Kaimana: "Don't mind him. I'm starting to think he's either dense or asexual." Kai has her chin in her hand now, eyes closed as she talks.
  140. Darkling: "Time to take a short walk." Amanda gets up and pulls Natalie with her.
  141. Darkling: As they leave the saxophone player makes his way up to your table, playing as he goes. At some point he appears to have removed his shirt.
  142. Kaimana: "This is getting weird. I'm gonna go play in the water."
  143. Stella Lacroix: Stella applauds the sax player!
  144. Kaimana: Kai hops up and makes for the water, leaving the party behind.
  145. Darkling: He gets right up to the table and even gets a leg up in front of Elle, as he starts gyrating her direction, knocking her phone out of her hands as she does so.
  146. Darkling: "Ah1 What the hell?!" She apparently didn't even notice him until that moment and is freaked out by the sudden appearance.
  147. Leon: And things got weird before Leon could respond or refute Kai's comment. Now was the time to excuse himself, and so he did, heading off to grab himself a drink.
  148. Stella Lacroix: Stella looks terribly amused at the gyration and Elle's reaction. Almost uncharacteristically so. Maybe she could get Seo to cosplay this guy sometime...
  149. Darkling: "Seriously?!" Elle shouts at the guy who hasn't seem to taken a hint. He just continues to play and grind in her view. She makes to shove at him and manages to catch his pants which tear away from him to reveal a shiny red man thong. Her eyes go wider as she tries to back away in her chair more.
  150. Darkling: And moments after that he's tackled to the ground and the music cuts short.
  151. Stella Lacroix: A dreamy look on Stella's face as she ponders the aforementioned cosplay, though it ends with the music. She jumps, which gets her chair to tip over. She tips over with it.
  152. Darkling: Elle falls over backwards as well. Security pulls the guy up to a bunch of whoops and hollers from the crowd and he is escorted from the patio.
  153. Kaimana: Kai watches from her spot on the beach, in the middle of digging for a crab she'd spotted.
  154. Darkling: There's some tapping on a microphone from the main stage as Oscar gets everyone's attention. "Well, that sure was an unexpected occurrence. Good thing here at Nerv we're pro's at handling situations like this!"
  155. Darkling: That gets a few too many forced laughs from the crowd.
  156. Leon: After procuring his drink Leon manages to see the guy get tackled and taken away... Yep, good decision. And now the main event is starting it seems like, which is likely to involve the pilots, so... time to wander aimlessly away from the stage.
  157. Kaimana: Kai wanders back to the table with a new companion, a little fiddler crab in her hand as she sits down. She crushed a grape to feed it. "So that was weird. That dude an ex or something?"
  158. Darkling: Elle manages to procure her phone from the floor and sits back down. "I have no idea." She starts trying to fix her hair. "Likely someone trying to embarrass me and get me fired." She huffs.
  159. Darkling: Leon, you feel and arm slip around your shoulder. "So, how come you're not with your friends?" It was Natalie.
  160. Stella Lacroix: Stella sits up as well. "I was thinking drugs were involved."
  161. Kaimana: "He was wearing a red thong. Weirdo either way."
  162. Stella Lacroix: "If Astrid or I wore a red thong would you say we were weird?"
  163. Darkling: "I don't have a red thong." Astrid protests.
  164. Darkling: "I doubt whatever the reason he won't be working on this island ever again after a stunt like that."
  165. Kaimana: "Considering it would be completely out of character for at least one of you? Yes, yes I would."
  166. Stella Lacroix: "Black or purple would be more my style."
  167. Leon: He almost jumped as Natalie unexcitingly surprised him, but he managed to restrain the impulse. Still needed to get used to it. Instead, he turned his head towards Natalie. "Ah, was not really interested in whatever show that guy was trying to give our table. Figured a walk would be better than that."
  168. Kaimana: "I once heard you only wear black if you're expecting someone to see them, so I always want to be ready. Isn't that right little Kraken?" She grinned down at the little crab, still picking at the grape.
  169. Darkling: Astrid is staring at the crab.(edited)
  170. Stella Lacroix: "I never really subscribed to that. I just like the color and it matches the rest of my clothes."
  171. Darkling: "Well, I think you can have much more fun away from the commotion than in the spotlight." Natalie says. "Want to see something cool?" She asks.
  172. Kaimana: "You have a lot of black in your wardrobe right?"
  173. Stella Lacroix: "Mhm. Different shades of it, some purple, a handful of other things."
  174. Leon: "Yeah, I agree. I'd rather not be around when they decide to parade the pilots around like trophies. And sure, sounds fun."
  175. Darkling: "Here, follow me." She takes Leon by the hand and leads him off the patio.
  176. Darkling: "I have lots of pink." Astrid says as she goes to poke the crab.
  177. Stella Lacroix: "It compliments you well."
  178. Kaimana: "Why not white? I mean I've seen some goth lolita girls with all white and it reflects the sunlight you hate so much."
  179. Kaimana: The crab waves its larger claw at being poked but does little else.
  180. Stella Lacroix: "I've seen some. It can be a cute style, but black is actually supposed to be more effective at handling body heat."
  181. Darkling: Astrid takes a little plastic sword from one of the snack foods and holds it so the crab can grab it.
  182. Leon: And so Leon allows himself to be led off by Natalie. Not like the alternative choices were really appealing.
  183. Kaimana: It takes some work but eventually the little crab's larger claw grabs onto the plastic cutlery. "Really? I mean I know black absorbs heat..."
  184. Stella Lacroix: "Yeah. Some tribe of desert dwellers wore black from head to toe and scientists eventually studied it. Black was actually more efficient at managing their heat level."
  185. Darkling: "Arrr!" Astrid says.
  186. Darkling: This elicits a head pat from Elle. "You stay adorable forever please."
  187. Kaimana: "More than white? Weird."
  188. Kaimana: The crab waves his new sword around.
  189. Stella Lacroix: "Anyway even if it wasn't efficient I'd still wear it. It's to my taste."(edited)
  190. Darkling: Oscar takes the stage again. "We're going to start serving dinner momentarily. So please make your way to your seats."(edited)
  191. Stella Lacroix: Stella is still in hers!
  192. Leon: Well, that was... unexpected. Can't say she wasn't accurate in her description, but... huh. Definitely mind distracting, and before he knew it she was gone too, leaving him alone in the dark away from the party... Well, not that he minded being away from the party really.
  193. Darkling: Soon enough, food starts coming around to the tables. Steak and lobster with salad on the side. They weren't sparing any expense it seemed.
  194. Stella Lacroix: "So much food..."
  195. Kaimana: "Who's paying for this? Surf and turf...plus the turf."
  196. Darkling: "Nerv is." Elle says as she digs in.
  197. Kaimana: "Well yeah, sure, but where do they get the money?"
  198. Darkling: "Look around you." She motions to all the other tables. "A lot of these people are investors. That's why you were to be on good behavior."
  199. Darkling: Natalie and Amanda make it back to the table and start eating.
  200. Kaimana: "Who convinced them NERV needed the money? Did they know about the giant monsters before they were on the television?"
  201. Darkling: "They're more interested in making money. We make a lot of money." She shrugs and eats a piece of steak.
  202. Leon: Well, after a while and coming to no real answers Leon decides he might as well return to the table and eat something before they get sent back to the house and sets off back towards their table.
  203. Kaimana: "How?"
  204. Darkling: "Technology, medicine, you name it. We research it and make it happen."
  205. Kaimana: "Geez." With her curiosity seemingly sated for now Kaimana starts to eat. "Leon, where've you been?"
  206. Leon: "Hmm? Ah... went for a walk right after that odd guy decided to visit our table. Not really something I wanted to see." Leon says as he takes his seat, glancing around the table, with a slightly longer pause on Natalie, before glancing down to see what exactly NERV had decided upon for Leon to eat.
  207. Kaimana: "Riiight."
  208. Darkling: "This place has the best views this side of the island, right Leon?" Natalie says.
  209. Stella Lacroix: "I guess that's fair, but it was pretty funny."
  210. Leon: "Yeah... There are definitely nice sights around on the island."
  211. Kaimana: Kai squints at Leon.
  212. Stella Lacroix: Stella noms on steak.
  213. Darkling: During dinner a slideshow appears on a screen showing slides of their battle with a commentary on how Nerv made everything like this possible and strives to continue to do more for the world and uphold peace.
  214. Darkling: At no time during the slideshow is there a mention of the pilots or what they did. Everything just boasts about their breakthroughs in science, medical and technology.
  215. Leon: "... Huh, I guess the robots are the highlight then, not us."
  216. Stella Lacroix: Stella just smiles at the lack of pilot recognition. In a way it made her feel like a secret weapon. With robot magic.
  217. Kaimana: "Of course, they didn't spend nearly as much money on us."
  218. Darkling: "Don't be surprised. They won't likely ever mention you." Elle says. "It's more for your protection than anything. You don't want all the crazy people that would come after you if they knew."
  219. Stella Lacroix: "I like it better that way. I'm good with it."
  220. Kaimana: "Betcha the number of cults worshipping the monsters goes up."
  221. Darkling: "That's bound to happen too. People don't understand that they're bent on destroying us all."
  222. Leon: "That's good to hear. I'd prefer to remain unknown."
  223. Kaimana: "Not a big deal I guess. Right Kraken?" She offered little hunks of lobster to the small crab, occasionally waving his plastic sword at Kai's hand before picking at the boiled flesh.
  224. Darkling: "I didn't picture any of you wanting to live in the spotlight either." Elle shrugs.
  225. Darkling: "But we all know what you did, and it was amazing and we're all really really grateful." Natalie says with a wink at Leon.
  226. Stella Lacroix: "I feel good about it. That's enough for me."
  227. Kaimana: Kai squints again, this time at Natalie.
  228. Darkling: "Oh, I'm grateful to all of you equally." She leans across the table a bit, almost into her food and winks at Kaimana as well.
  229. Darkling: "Oookay. Slow down girl." Amanda pulls her back up. "Water for the rest of the night."
  230. Stella Lacroix: Stella slowly backs away as much as she can while remaining in her chair.
  231. Darkling: The slideshow ends, and eventually dinner ends. Waiters come to take the mess away as a big bonfire is lit out in the beach, flames reaching up at least fifteen feet.
  232. Kaimana: "If only I had my guitar," Kai sighs, patting Kraken with a finger.
  233. Stella Lacroix: "Air guitar and hum?"
  234. Darkling: "I bet the band has one." Elle points out.
  235. Kaimana: "Watch our boy," Kai says, leaving Kraken with Astrid before getting up to go check with the band.
  236. Darkling: Astrid is delighted to the ends of the earth.
  237. Kaimana: "Hey hey! I need an acoustic guitar, got one you can loan me?"
  238. Darkling: The drummer grabs one from behind him and hands it over to her.
  239. Kaimana: "Suh-weet." Shaka for the drummer and she's heading for the fire. If she squinted she could imagine her surfing friends sitting around having fun. She sat down in the sand and tested the guitar's tuning out of habit.
  240. Darkling: There was a sparse gathering of people around the fire. Most were staying up on the patio. Astrid plops down beside Kai though with the help of Elle.
  241. Darkling: "I have sand in my cast." She said looking up at Kai.
  242. Kaimana: "We'll try to clean it out when we get home, okay?"
  243. Stella Lacroix: "There could be worse places for sand to be."
  244. Kaimana: "Let’s see..." Kai clears her throat and starts playing and eventually singing.
  245. Darkling: A few more people gather around to listen.
  246. Kaimana: Kai moves a bit with the music, mostly some rocking back and forth or side to side, doing her best to sing without being too moved by the lyrics.
  247. Leon: Well, perhaps this party wasn't quite as bad as initially expected, and a welcome change from schoolwork. Still didn't change the fact that they were essentially child soldiers held against their will, or at least that was true for Leon anyways. Plus, there was a huge gap in between monster appearances, so it would likely be years at the earliest before they had to pilot the robots again. "To pointless child soldiers I suppose..." He mutters to himself before drinking his champagne.
  248. Darkling: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  249. Darkling: You were sitting at home again, a little after lunchtime. School hadn't resumed yet but it was expected to the following day. Right now Elle had the tv on a news broadcast showing the current events on the island. People were out in droves protesting about the recent events and calling for a response from the government. They wanted to know what was going on. Were they safe? What was that alien being? What were the giant robots that fought it?
  250. Darkling: Of course, there was also simultaneous coverage of other groups involved. People rioting and trying to loot in the confusion were few and far between, but they were certainly there.
  251. Darkling: There was also the presence of cultists that worshipped the alien being and were taking the opportunity to try and assert themselves and how they were right all along.
  252. Darkling: Also noted was the visit from a US Senator to the island. He was meeting with local officials and companies on business and had been stuck in traffic by the protestors.
  253. Darkling: "This is all bullshit." Elle said grumpily. "They're handling this all wrong, just like they did with you kids. Cover-ups and lies. People can't handle the truth sure, but they know when they are being lied to."
  254. Stella Lacroix: Stella reclines on a couch, hogging it all to herself as she stares languidly at nothing in particular. Did she even notice what Elle said? Doesn't look like it.
  255. Kaimana: "Not like the truth would stop the cults or looters. Any excuse to steal or act crazy, I guess." Kai is on the other couch, neatly tucked onto one cushion despite her size.
  256. Leon: "Well, that's just how they operate, isn't it?" Leon said as he watched.
  257. Darkling: "Doesn't make it right. I hated having to lie to you three constantly." She mutes the tv as it focuses on a cultist talking about how the aliens were here as their salvation and they would bring peace and unity to the world if we would only let them.
  258. Darkling: "Speaking of not lying, we're getting another house guest for the permanent foreseeable future."
  259. Stella Lacroix: "Will they be in the loop about this stuff? Is it safe to talk about what we do with them?"
  260. Kaimana: "Oh good, they can take my spot on the active duty roster."
  261. Darkling: "They will have been informed." She doesn't seem happy about it. "And no one is losing their spot Kaimana. They'll be working with you."
  262. Leon: "Huh, so why do they get to know about it beforehand? Is it because of the recent coverage?"
  263. Darkling: "It's because they're a spoiled little brat." She huffs.
  264. Darkling: "That senator, that's their father." She points to the tv which has gone back to highlighting the senator's visit.
  265. Darkling: Astrid speaks up. "Why does that make him a brat?"
  266. Darkling: "Rich politicians get what they want."
  267. Leon: "Greeeaaattt...."
  268. Kaimana: "Nothing like us poor souls."
  269. Darkling: "Didn't even matter when I told them the houses didn't have enough bedrooms. They said to 'make all appropriate accommodations to make him comfortable.'" She spoke it in a mocking tone.
  270. Kaimana: "So they're gonna spoil him too? Great. I guess we just because second class pilots."
  271. Darkling: "I expect his father to request all sorts of special privileges for him. Either way, you're not considered second class. You're our top picks."
  272. Stella Lacroix: "I'm not worried about him."
  273. Darkling: "Good. He'll be here in under an hour."
  274. Darkling: "I'll finish cleaning your stuff in your room Astrid. You guys occupy yourselves." With that she heads upstairs, half stomping.
  275. Darkling: Astrid picked the remote up and unmuted the tv. "-imagine the possibilities!" the person being interviewed was saying. "If our government would step up and talk to these beings instead of fighting them. We could just save the world. We would all join together in unity and harmony."
  276. Darkling: "And how do you know this?" The reporter asked.
  277. Stella Lacroix: Stella's attention goes to the television.
  278. Darkling: "It is all in the Night Sky's teachings. These beings are here to bring us to the next evolutionary stage of life, beyond what we know exists in our current realm and dimension. The government doesn't want this, as they will lose control of the populous and thus all their power. They are hindering our evolution."(edited)
  279. Stella Lacroix: And then all of a sudden her eyes go as big as dinner plates and she's a shade or two more pale than usual.
  280. Kaimana: "Oh man, this guy listened to too many conspiracy blogs."
  281. Kaimana: "I bet he bought all the pills and water filters too."
  282. Darkling: "We believe there are special people out there, children right now, who will make a difference in this world if given the proper guidance. They will be the ones to lead humanity to the path of salvation, or astray to damnation."
  283. Darkling: "Alright, thank you for that." The reporter says to cut him off but he grabs the microphone and starts fighting with her to speak.
  284. Darkling: "We aren't crazy! We- hrn- know the government is looking for these children already! They'll do -hrn- whatever -hrk- it takes!"
  285. Leon: "Well, that sounds like they might be talking about us."
  286. Darkling: A news crew security team intervenes and drags him off camera. "And that's the situation down here, back to you Jasmine."
  287. Stella Lacroix: Stella is shaking pretty hard now, looking oblivious to all but the television. A few moments after the crazy us hauled off she makes a mad dash for the bathroom. It may well be the most enthusiasm and energy she's displayed for anything outside of Seo.
  288. Kaimana: Kai watches her go, commenting once she hits the bathroom, "Weird."
  289. Darkling: "She looked scared." Astrid says.
  290. Leon: "Weird sums it up well I think."
  291. Kaimana: Kai got up from the couch and stretched before heading for the bathroom door. She patted Astrid's head as she passed and was soon leaning against the door frame. "You all good in there Stella?"
  292. Stella Lacroix: A long and hearty "blaaaaaaargh" is the only answer.
  293. Kaimana: Kai blinks, looking back at the others. "Uh...morning sickness maybe?"
  294. Darkling: "Did Seo get her pregnant?" Astrid asks from the floor.(edited)
  295. Leon: "I'm fairly certain that's impossible."(edited)
  296. Stella Lacroix: A while later and Stella comes out, blissfully unaware that she was suspected of morning sickness.
  297. Darkling: "But they did heavy petting." She looks confused.
  298. Kaimana: "What’s up Stella? Coming down with something?"
  299. Stella Lacroix: She sits back on the couch and closes her eyes. "Just came over me all of a sudden. I think it's better."
  300. Darkling: Astrid gets up and hobbles over to the couch and plops down giving Stella a hug and getting a faceful of chest. "Feef beffer," she says into Stella.
  301. Stella Lacroix: She returns the hug, a bit weakly. "Thanks, Astrid."
  302. Darkling: She pries herself off the girl and lays back on the couch.
  303. Kaimana: Kai flops back down in her spot, legs crossed at the knees.
  304. Kaimana: "Why would they bring in someone else now?"
  305. Leon: "I'd hope it's because the more able pilots means the better defense... but likely it's because he saw us on tv and wants his own robot too."
  306. Darkling: The doorbell rings.(edited)
  307. Stella Lacroix: "It reduces the odds of any single one of us getting attacked."
  308. Leon: "Yeah, regardless of why, another pilot /probably/ can't hurt."
  309. Stella Lacroix: "I'll say hello." Stella says as she heads off to the door... and then just lurks.
  310. Darkling: Astrid looks from the couch but doesn't move.
  311. Kaimana: "Uh..."
  312. Darkling: You can hear Elle heading to the stairs and PAM floats towards the door.
  313. Leon: Leon just pretends the doorbell never rung and continues watching the tv.
  314. Kaimana: "Can you see out the window? Is it a cute girl?"
  315. Leon: "I'd wager it's more likely to be our new housemate."
  316. Darkling: The doorbell rings again as Elle starts down the stairs.
  317. Darkling: PAM gets to the door first and opens it. "Greetings houseguest." The floating bot said to the person standing there.
  318. Adam Jenkins: The person in question was a rather tall and muscular sixteen year old. He had dark skin and piercing eyes but he smiled when he saw the robot answer the door. "Well greetings to you too robot." He looked around though, not entering. He seemed to be waiting for something.
  319. Stella Lacroix: "Greetings houseguest." Stella repeats.
  320. Darkling: PAM floats away from the door as Elle reaches them. "Oh, the uh, Senator isn't with you? Good good. You must be Adam."
  321. Kaimana: "Adam? Ah crap, that doesn't sound like a cute girl's name."
  322. Leon: "She said it was a guy from the onset, though."
  323. Adam Jenkins: He nodded to Stella. "And to you too." He looked relieved when Elle came around. "No Ma'am. Pilot Adam Jenkins, as requested." He dropped a huge duffel and held out a hand to shake.
  324. Kaimana: "Yeah, yeah." She huffs.
  325. Darkling: She took his hand, looking a bit startled. "Well, come on in. This is your home too for the time being. PAM, take his bag to his room please."
  326. Darkling: "Yes Madame."
  327. Adam Jenkins: "PAM huh?" He said, hefting his bag back up and over his shoulder. "What's that stand for?"
  328. Stella Lacroix: "It's an odd existence we lead here."
  329. Darkling: "Personal Automated Maid." Elle answers. "She takes care of the cleaning and cooking."
  330. Darkling: "Hello!" You hear a shout from inside the house.
  331. Adam Jenkins: "Oh that makes-" He looked around, hearing the call. "Hello!" He called back. He grinned. "This place sure is nicer than the old one."
  332. Stella Lacroix: Stella follows along and gives Adam a curious look at that.
  333. Darkling: PAM floats around everyone and extends and arm down to pick up Adam's belongings, veers around everyone once more and up the stairs.
  334. Adam Jenkins: Adam looks over at Stella. "Hey, uh. Didn't catch your name."
  335. Stella Lacroix: "Stella Lacroix. A pleasure to meet you."
  336. Darkling: "Well, I have a few more business things to take care, so I'll let you guys all get acquainted."(edited)
  337. Darkling: With that Elle heads back upstairs.
  338. Kaimana: Another huff and Kai hangs off the back of the couch. "Hello new houseguest. I'm Kaimana, just call me Kai."
  339. Adam Jenkins: "Stella and Kai." Nice to meet you both too. He seemed to be constantly scanning the room as he passed through. "How many people we got living here?"(edited)
  340. Stella Lacroix: "There's the two of us, Astrid, Leon, Elle, and PAM."
  341. Darkling: "I'm Astrid!" The shout from inside comes at you again.
  342. Kaimana: "That's Astrid."
  343. Adam Jenkins: "So, seven all told then, if we count me. I hope the house is big enough. Am I bunking with someone? Leon, I guess?"
  344. Darkling: "You get my room. I get the floor!" Astrid says again. I you've moved to the living room you can see her peering over the arm of the chair, hair and skin as pale as snow, eyes a pinkish red.
  345. Kaimana: "You can always sleep in my bed Astrid."
  346. Adam Jenkins: He frowned. "Aw I ain't about to kick someone out of their room. I can take a couch or something."
  347. Darkling: "I have Kai's bed now."
  348. Darkling: "And Elle already moved all my stuff."
  349. Stella Lacroix: "I hope you enjoy your new arrangement, Astrid."
  350. Adam Jenkins: He rubbed the back of his head. "Well, alright I guess. Sorry bout that Astrid."
  351. Darkling: "It's okay. I like sleepovers!"
  352. Darkling: The tv is still playing, muted again, but has the Senator on it talking to people.
  353. Kaimana: "So that’s your old man huh?"
  354. Adam Jenkins: He looked over at the tv. "Yeah. That's him. Haven't seen him in a while. I wonder if he'll be coming for a visit." He said it without inflection. Maybe he didn't care one way or another?
  355. Kaimana: "Guess that means you weren't eating caviar with a gold spoon."
  356. Adam Jenkins: He laughed. "Naw, most nights I cook my own meals. Gotta keep a tight leash on my intake."
  357. Darkling: "PAM cooks for us. I like her cooking."
  358. Adam Jenkins: "What does she usually make?"
  359. Stella Lacroix: "Everything."
  360. Stella Lacroix: "Once she made me this smoothie..."
  361. Darkling: Of course PAM happens to be floating past. "Oh, would the miss like another smoothie?"
  362. Stella Lacroix: "No, Pam. I'm good now." Stella forces a smile.
  363. Darkling: "Very well." She floats away.
  364. Adam Jenkins: He watched the interchange. "Was it that bad?"
  365. Kaimana: "Wait, PAM!" Kai is up and moving, following after the bot, "I'll take some Vietnamese shrimp summer rolls!"
  366. Darkling: PAM floats back around and heads to the kitchen. "Of course miss. Coming up."
  367. Kaimana: "Awesome."
  368. Darkling: Astrid looks between them all, then goes back to watching tv and flipping between channels.
  369. Adam Jenkins: An alarm went off on Adam's watch. He looked at it. "Is there a weight room?"
  370. Kaimana: "Uh...no. There isn't."
  371. Darkling: "We have a pool, and pool table."
  372. Darkling: Astrid settles on a show about puppies.
  373. Adam Jenkins: He sighed. "That'll work for now.”
  374. Stella Lacroix: "We go through some intense training anyway."
  375. Kaimana: Kai shrugs and sinks down, content to veg out with Astrid.
  376. Darkling: PAM floats back into the room with a tray she delivers to Kai. "Your food miss."
  377. Kaimana: "Sweet, thanks PAM."
  378. Adam Jenkins: "I have a pretty strict schedule I have to keep to. Training is only part of that."
  379. Kaimana: "Oh geez."
  380. Adam Jenkins: "It's not all bad. Helps keep me focused."
  381. Kaimana: "Focused on what? We killed the monster, saved the day."
  382. Adam Jenkins: "They told me that was you guys. They seemed really impressed."
  383. Kaimana: "Astrid took it solo, then we just hit it til it died."
  384. Kaimana: "Blew up, really."
  385. Stella Lacroix: "The robots are really interesting."
  386. Darkling: "I didn't do that much. I just broke my leg."
  387. Darkling: She tries to lift the cast up and fails, flopping onto Kai.
  388. Kaimana: "She's modest."
  389. Adam Jenkins: "I guess so." He crossed his arms. "It's something else, isn't it?"
  390. Darkling: Kai, you see Astrid's face on your head sneaking towards one of the shrimp rolls.
  391. Stella Lacroix: "Maybe yours will be able to use magic." Stella says to Adam.
  392. Kaimana: Kai raises an eyebrow but doesn't stop the albino girl. Were they just used to Astrid's quirks now?
  393. Adam Jenkins: "Maybe." He nodded. "I'm more of a big shield kind of guy, myself."
  394. Darkling: The roll slowly disappears into her mouth.
  395. Stella Lacroix: Stella seems to smile a bit at that.
  396. Kaimana: "Wait just a minute." Kai sits up, letting Astrid have the rolls. "Have you already done that dumb VR stuff?"
  397. Adam Jenkins: "Well. Yeah. Among other things."
  398. Darkling: "You already have a robot? I didn't know more existed."
  399. Adam Jenkins: "Yeah. Real big guy, huge shoulders. Bronze and light blue. Like my hoodie." He gestured.(edited)
  400. Kaimana: "Of course. He already has one and it has a better paint job."
  401. Stella Lacroix: "It's good that you like the color scheme. The rest of us weren't so fortunate.
  402. Adam Jenkins: "I mean. Either way it's still pretty cool to pilot a giant robot."
  403. Stella Lacroix: "You know that if it gets hurt so do you, right?"
  404. Adam Jenkins: He shrugged. "If it means saving lives then that's a price I'm willing to pay."
  405. Kaimana: "I'm tellin' you it’s weird you feel pain when a robot without nerves gets hurt. It just doesn't sound right."
  406. Stella Lacroix: "I like your attitude, Adam. I prefer being in there over not."
  407. Darkling: Another roll disappears. Astrid appears quite happy in Kai's lap.
  408. Kaimana: Kai stuffs one into her mouth, intent on having more before Astrid can get any more.
  409. Adam Jenkins: "He grinned, That's what it's all about Stella. Saving people. You guys are heroes. Super heroes even."
  410. Darkling: "We don't have capes though."
  411. Stella Lacroix: "Bed sheets, maybe..."
  412. Adam Jenkins: "No capes!" He said, quoting the Incredibles.
  413. Darkling: "Aww." Astrid pouts.
  414. Darkling: She looks astoundingly saddened by this.(edited)
  415. Kaimana: Kai pats the girl on the head, "You can wear one for Halloween."
  416. Darkling: "Yay" That gets her smiling again.
  417. Stella Lacroix: "Hm... Halloween. Not nearly close enough."
  418. Darkling: "Elle always lets me dress up even though no one else at Nerv does."
  419. Adam Jenkins: "I was just quoting a movie anyways. Personally,” He lowered his voice conspiratorially, "I think capes are pretty cool."
  420. Darkling: You can't tell if Astrid fully grasps what you mean or not as she just stares blankly.
  421. Adam Jenkins: He looked a little lost.
  422. Stella Lacroix: "Depends on the type, I guess."
  423. Kaimana: "Great, he broke Astrid."
  424. Darkling: She doesn't even blink, just stares.
  425. Adam Jenkins: "Uh." He scratches the back of his head. "I watch a lot of movies in my off time." He shrugs, just trying to fill the awkward silence.
  426. Darkling: ============END===========
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