Till Death Do Us Part: Episode 14

Ressell sits in the coach tapping his fingers against the window, waiting for this unknown woman to come out of the Sime Center so he can finally get home. He glances towards the front lawn, and sees no trace of anyone.

Ressell considers taking matters into his own hands. He certainly doesn't like sitting out here in the middle of the night with only the coachman for company.

Coachman is huddled on the roof of the coach, holding the reins ~~ nervously ~~ as he scans the bushes for attacking Simes. He doesn't quite dare just leave again, because of his passenger. He would really like to, however.

Ressell: See any trace of them? Or anything else, for that matter?

Coachman: No. Probably isn't anything left of them, after the Simes have had their way. I'll have to find another position.

Ressell: Don't worry about the snakes. I'm armed, if it comes to that...

Ressell touches the gun in his belt protectively.

Coachman: If you can see them in time to aim. Simes are fast. And it's dark out there.

Ressell: I offered to shoot the kid the Senator had with him, before it finished turning into one. Wonder if it's gotten him by now.

Ressell watches the empty lawn with more ~~ unease ~~ than he wants to admit to feeling.

Coachman: As long as it -- and the rest of them -- leave me alone. I'm no Sime-kisser like the Senator.

Ressell: Hey, would you mind helping me out of here? I could hunt around the building a little and see if I can find what they're up to. Maybe I can finish what I started, if I do find it. I'm a pretty quick shot...

Coachman weighs the pros and cons of being alone versus the chance of collecting his mistress and getting the hell out of there, and climbs down from the box.

Coachman: Here.

Coachman helps the injured Ressell out of the coach.

Coachman: Good luck, sir. And please, be careful. You can't trust a Snake farther than you can outrun it.

Ressell accepts his help, wincing but remaining stoic despite the ~~ pain ~~.

Ressell: I'm aware of that. Thank you very kindly. What's the name of your mistress, by the way?

Coachman: Bethida.

Ressell: She didn't go in there because she wanted to kiss Simes, I assume. ~~ bitter amusement ~~ What was she there for?

Coachman: She didn't explain herself to the likes of me, sir.

Ressell: All right. Keep a look out. I'll have a quick check around the grounds.

Coachman: Right, sir.

Coachman climbs up on the box, the better to see any approaching danger -- and start the horses.

Ressell heads off down the lawn. ~~ overconfidence and Gen-male machismo overlying the fear ~~

Kelbor speaks very little Genlan, despite being Gen himself, and wouldn't even be out-T if someone hadn't shenned up the assignments again. As a Third, though, he's learned to keep his mouth shut and go where he's sent. Right now, he's been sent to the auxiliary waiting room with a fresh plate of cookies.

Ressell keeps his gun at the ready.

Kelbor glances out the window and sees movement out on the lawn. Still carrying the cookies, he heads for a side exit and steps out into the darkness.

Kelbor: Allo? Allo? Be someone out there?

Kelbor peers around.

Ressell looks around wildly, suspicious at the foreign-sounding accent. He doesn't see anybody. He realizes that a Sime, however, wouldn't bother to ask if you were there: they would just sense you.

Kelbor: Allo? Be you changeover, be you homecome safe here.

Ressell lowers his gun slowly.

Ressell: Who are you? Have you seen a woman named Bethida?

Kelbor doesn't recognize the name.

Kelbor: Be no Bethida staffering here.

Kelbor was upstairs during all the earlier excitement and has no idea of what's been happening tonight.

Ressell: She's not a staff member, or I should certainly hope she isn't.

Kelbor: Be Bethida donor?

Ressell: Not voluntarily, if she was.

Ressell grimaces.

Ressell is trying to parse this strange person -- as his eyes adjust to the darkness, he notices that the man's holding a plate of cookies. He has absolutely no idea what to make of that.

Kelbor: Be you lost, come have cookie. We find Bethida, she if be here.

Ressell does not take a cookie, knowing they could be laced with all manner of things besides standard cookie ingredients.

Ressell: Let's just say that I'm a concerned neighbor of hers. Right now, her disappearance is pretty mysterious.

Kelbor: Come inside, we find. If miserious, we help.

Kelbor beckons with his free hand, exposing a bare, tentacle-free forearm.

Ressell: She has a number of people who are quite concerned about her. If she's not here, I'm afraid I'm going to have to report this disappearance to the police.

Ressell follows slowly.

Kelbor leads the way inside.

Ressell pauses at the doorstep.

Kelbor: Be Bethida here, we find.

Kelbor smiles encouragingly.

Ressell: Sir, with all due respects, I would rather stay out here. I'd just feel safer that way, you understand, and her coachman would too.

Kelbor frowns, ~~ puzzled ~~ .

Kelbor: Be you stay here? Here, where darkness enwrap?

Ressell decides that the direct approach is better than beating around the bush.

Ressell: I would rather not be inside the same building with Simes. All due respect, sir.

Kelbor: Simes be here, be not hurting kind. Be safe and gentlenessing.

Ressell glances inside the open doorway, and doesn't see anybody.

Kelbor: Be welcome inside, in light.

Ressell remembers his promise to the coachman, and thinks that leaving him to sit in the dark alone out there isn't a very gentlemanly thing to do. On the other hand, if this Bethida is in danger...

Ressell follows Kelbor inside carefully, gun concealed under his jacket.

Kelbor leads the way to the small waiting room he'd been about to deliver the cookies to.

Kelbor: Be you wait here, have cookie. Be Bethida here, I find.

Kelbor thrusts the entire plate of cookies into Ressell's hands and hurries away.

Ressell staggers a bit, feeling the ~~ pain ~~ from his injuries flare again slightly. He stares mutely at the cookies, not sure what he's supposed to do with them.

Flobian skipped dinner, and his wife is sure to nag him if he skips another meal. He figures if he sneaks down and grabs one of the cookies that are put out for the donors, he can truthfully say that he ate when his wife asks him.

Ressell hears what sounds like footsteps in the hallway, and quickly moves one hand under his jacket, so he can grab his gun easily if needed.

Flobian hurries into the lounge and sees a Gen with a plate of cookies.

Flobian doesn't recognize him, but he's pretty new to New Washington and works mostly in supply, so that doesn't surprise him.

Flobian: [Simelan] I'll have one of those cookies, if you don't mind.

Flobian darts towards the man, reaching one hand out for a cookie.

Ressell becomes aware that something with tentacles is approaching him, far too quickly. ~~ panic ~~

Ressell vaguely registers that it just said something in its own language, but has no idea what it meant, and doesn't care. He drops the plate of cookies in shock and makes a run for it, gun in hand.

Flobian stops, ~~ confused ~~.

Flobian: I didn't want the whole plateful!

Ressell rounds a bend in a hallway. ~~ rising panic ~~ He can't remember now where the door that Kelbor brought him in through is.

Ressell backs into the hall, looking around him furiously, with his gun at the ready. He's not a cowardly man -- he saw it as a matter of doing a man's duty, when he offered to shoot the thing Pollovic had with him in the coach -- but any reasonable person, he's certain, would be ~~ afraid ~~ in the situation he's now in.

Crynwyr zlins the ~~ fear ~~ down the corridor, realizes that a non-donor is wandering loose in the Sime Center, and heads that way, assuming others will do the same. He's not sensitive enough to notice the gun unless he zlins specifically for it, which he doesn't.

Ressell is a little surprised that the snake didn't come after him, but he has another duty to do, anyway: he needs to find the woman who owns the coach outside. ~~ panic alternating with attempts at bravery ~~

Crynwyr wishes he had his Donor with him, but the Donor is still sound asleep in the collectorium. If Crynwyr wasn't who he is, he'd probably go back and wake him now.

Ressell tries to think, through the ~~ fear ~~, where this Bethida woman might be.

Crynwyr comes within earshot of the non-donor, whose fear he can easily manage, provided it doesn't change to panic.

Crynwyr: Greeting. May I do you a service, gentleman?

Ressell freezes, not seeing the source of the voice anywhere.

Crynwyr zlins that the Gen is hunting for something, and begins to wonder if he's grabbed a bigger Gen than he can kill.

Crynwyr walks slowly, very audibly, around the corner so he's in line-of-sight distance, trusting that nothing bad will happen to him.

Ressell raises his gun. ~~ extreme hostility ~~

Crynwyr: Please, sir. This is Sime Territory. If you fire that weapon, very bad things.

Crynwyr: [coaxingly] Nobody will hurt you here.

Ressell: I'm looking for a woman named Bethida. Do you know where she is?

Crynwyr: Yes, certain. But must insist you put out weapon before proceeding, also.

Ressell begins to lower the gun slowly, keeping an eye on him at all times.

Ressell: Her coachman is waiting for her outside. Don't misunderstand my intentions. I have no other business here.

Orfton runs around the corner, his security guard uniform flapping over his ample belly.

Orfton: [Simelan] Hajene! Be careful! There's a psychotic Wild Gen with a gun loose in the Sime Center!

Crynwyr decides to take the risk of looking away from Ressell, at least with his eyes.

Orfton is Gen and slightly nearsighted, so misses the gun in Ressell's hand.

Crynwyr continues to speak English so as not to appear to be passing secret messages.

Crynwyr: Armed, yes, but not psychotic, I think. He's right there, and he's lowering his gun now.

Orfton hurries up to the pair.

Orfton: Sir, it crime to bring gun here. Kindly to surrender my arrest.

Ressell freezes at the sight of the newcomer, his gun halfway lowered. The man in front of him now doesn't have tentacles, but he seems to be allied with the one who does, and -- did the snake just call him psychotic? ~~ offended ~~

Crynwyr: Please, sir, continue to lower weapon. Since no killer Simes this building, unnecessary, and you can turn over to Peacekeeper Orfton here, to be returned on departure, eh?

Ressell: [to Orfton] I'm not quite sure I heard you rightly. Did you say you were going to arrest me?

Orfton: Yes. Gun a crime here. Might make someone die.

Crynwyr: He means, gun forbidden. Not a crime to carry it if properly surrendered, eh? Like, how you call, peace bond.

Ressell: I know how to be careful with a gun... sir.

Ressell adds the last word in a perfunctory way, almost as an afterthought. He finishes lowering it, but keeps it at his side.

Orfton: So do I. Keep it somewhere else.

Ressell: ~~ grudging ~~ If I give you the gun, you'll show me where Bethida is?

Crynwyr: I shall do.

Orfton: Who Bethida?

Crynwyr: Gentleman here's friend. He concerned her health.

Orfton: She's a patient here?

Crynwyr: Just so. Came in as part of mess over Senator, it seems.

Ressell: I'd be surprised if she were. All I know is that her coachman is waiting outside for her, and none too comfortable about it.

Orfton is ~~ confused ~~.

Crynwyr: Well, perhaps visitor rather than patient. In that case, may be more difficultly to locator, given existent confusion.

Crynwyr explains:

Crynwyr: He also confused [pointing to Orfton].

Ressell: So you're not sure where she is, then.

Crynwyr: Not sure now, no. But can find out, certain.

Orfton: There is another, possibly also armed, Gen wandering the halls tonight?

Orfton doesn't require this on his usually peaceful nighttime shift.

Crynwyr: Is so? I have heard nothing of that. Do you know -- by the way, what is your name, gentleman?

Ressell: Jarun Ressell.

Ressell figures he has nothing to hide, as far as that's concerned.

Orfton: How many in group you come with?

Orfton is wondering if he should call in reinforcements.

Ressell: I came in alone. ~~ touch of masculine pride ~~ As I said, the coachman is still waiting outside; he didn't want to come in with me, not as I blame him.

Crynwyr: So, Mr Russell, you hand gun to Peacekeeper Orfton, and he goes to determine the location of this Bethida, while you and I proceed quietly and calmly to waiting room for notification, eh?

Ressell is not at all sure how he feels about the idea of being alone in a room with this snake, even a large room.

Crynwyr: I sense you concerned, but actually not worrisome, I have spent much time taking donations from Gens in small rooms. Sitting in large waiting room much easier on nerves, yes?

Ressell thinks it would be much easier on his nerves if he still had recourse to his gun. He grudgingly hands it to Orfton.

Orfton takes it awkwardly, not being used to handling firearms. He manages to bump the wrong bit, and it goes off, very loudly, sending a bullet ricocheting into the ceiling.

Ressell: ~~ sudden fear and startlement ~~

Crynwyr slaps his forehead and goes into augmentation, taking the gun away from Orfton and fleeing with it in the hopes that he can find someone (a) friendly and (b) competent with firearms.

Ressell recovers himself quickly, and realizes that the fool just set off his gun.

Ressell: I thought you said you knew how to handle a gun safely, sir. ~~ annoyance and contempt mixed with fading panic ~~

Orfton: Safest when far away. Leaving now, you see.

Gerrhonot is going for some trin and cookies for his channel, who has had a trying day and now a trying evening shift when he hears a gun go off. ~~ surprise followed by horror, quickly suppressed ~~

Gerrhonot dithers, not knowing whether to go toward the sound in hope of helping or return to his channel and protect him.

Orfton is struck by a sudden thought.

Orfton: How many with Bethida?

Ressell: None that I know.

Orfton: Why she here?

Crynwyr is moving Sime-swiftly but cradling the gun like a baby mouse.

Ressell: If I knew, sir, I might have a clue about where to look for her.

Crynwyr comes into zlinshot and then eyeshot of the First Order Donor.

Crynwyr: [Simelan] Ah, Sosu Gerrhonot. Do you know anyone who can deal with this?

Crynwyr slows down enough to give Gerrhonot a chance to see what he has.

Gerrhonot: Um. Do what with it?

Crynwyr: Make it safe. One of the peacekeepers hit the wrong thing or something and it went off.

Gerrhonot: Oh. So nobody got hurt? Good.

Crynwyr grins.

Crynwyr: Only the wall.

Gerrhonot looks closer.

Gerrhonot: You should put the safety on.

Crynwyr: Okay, that sounds good. Do you know what it is?

Gerrhonot: Here, I'll do it.

Crynwyr relinquishes the gun to the apparently-more-competent-than-he-seems Donor.

Gerrhonot learned how to handle firearms growing up on sheep ranches. He takes the handgun from the channel, puts the safety on and removes the ammunition.

Gerrhonot: Here. It's okay now -- no bullets.

Gerrhonot offers the gun back.

Crynwyr takes the gun and puts it into a pocket of his cloak, and takes the bullets and puts them in another pocket.

Crynwyr: Thank you, Sosu. I guess being born out-Territory is useful sometimes, eh?

Gerrhonot: Well, even my uncle in-T has a rifle to protect the sheep from predators. And the garden, too. Whose gun is it?

Crynwyr: I suppose so. I've never lived with sheep. But I better get back to the non-donor.

Crynwyr leans on the delightful First Order field just a tad.

Gerrhonot smiles and invites him to lean a bit harder if he likes.

Crynwyr: The non-donor I just mentioned. Apparently he wanted it to protect himself here in the [English] demon nest.

Gerrhonot: Do you want me to come with you? I'm going there to get trin for Hajene Seruffin anyways.

Crynwyr: I was just about to ask if you'd be able to assist me in dealing with him. The peacekeeper isn't doing so well.

Gerrhonot: Tuib Orfton's English isn't so good.

Crynwyr turns about, leans just a touch more, and leads the way.

Crynwyr: [English] Me neither.

Gerrhonot hopes that Crynwyr didn't take that as a personal slur. It wasn't meant as one.

Crynwyr signals ~~ reassurance for correct action ~~.

Gerrhonot smiles and nods. Crynwyr means well, at least with Gerrhonot.

Crynwyr returns to the site of the accident with Gerrhonot following.

Orfton is not getting much of anywhere with his efforts to ascertain the extent of the threat to the Sime Center.

Crynwyr: Mister Russell, this is Sosu Gerrhonot. He speaks your language well and understands guns.

Orfton is ~~ relieved ~~ at the arrival.

Gerrhonot: Um. Hi, Mr. Russell.

Gerrhonot offers his hand to shake, figuring this familiar ritual will calm the man.

Ressell: Good evening, sir.

Orfton: [Simelan] I have to know if he has additional firearms, Sosu.

Ressell shakes his hand, at least somewhat ~~ reassured ~~ by the fact that non-tentacled people are now a clear majority in the room, but not letting down his guard. He's never quite been sure whether to think of people like this as dupes or traitors.

Gerrhonot: Most people in Simeland don't know much about guns unless they live on ranches and have to protect their animals. So guns worry them, because they know that people in Gen Territory all have them in case they get attacked by a berserker. We don't have berserkers in Simeland.

Orfton: Does Bethida have gun?

Ressell: Oh, no? ~~ skeptical ~~ What do you do with them when they change -- drug them?

Ressell apparently means this in absolute honesty.

Ressell: I don't know if she would, but I doubt it.

Gerrhonot: When kids are going to turn Sime we take them to the Sime Center, so the channels can look after them and give them transfer. Like Senator Pollovic did tonight, but a lot earlier.

Ressell: I suppose that way of life has its advantages, but I'd never be willing to give up as much of my freedom as you do in Sime Territory.

Gerrhonot shrugs.

Gerrhonot: I've got a good job working with channels. Otherwise I'd be a shepherd.

Crynwyr: Good job, yes, also good money.

Gerrhonot nods.

Ressell decides that some folks are simply strange, and there's no arguing with them or talking sense.

Orfton: Sosu, you seem to be getting along with this one. Would you look after him while I find our other... guest?

Gerrhonot: Um, okay.

Orfton hurries off.

Gerrhonot hopes it won't be too long. He doesn't want Hajene Seruffin to wonder if something's wrong when he doesn't come back right away. Especially if he heard the gunshot.

Ressell glances down the hallway, noticing there's no sign of Bethida yet.

Crynwyr: Not necessary you stay, Sosu, if must return to channel. I am off duty, can remain with Mister Russell here.

Gerrhonot: Um. Do you want some tea and cookies, Mr. Russell? I came out here to get some for me and the guy I'm working with.

Ressell: Not particularly. I didn't come here for a snack.

Crynwyr zlins the underlying emotion.

Crynwyr: Very well, you choice, of course, but entirely safe for Gens food, no drugs or what.

Crynwyr is glad he only has one difficult Gen to deal with, rather than the political crisis the higher-ups are probably facing with a Senator under their roof for medical treatment.

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