Crashlanding - YES I HAD THIS BACKED UP

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Serithi
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Mon May 22, 2017 2:00 am

Wew lad, if i hadn't already backed this all up before the forums died...

Original text follows:

LATE EDIT: Also seriously folks, feel free to post in here. Let me know what i'm doing wrong, what i'm doing right, otherwise i'm just going to continue along as-is never the wiser.

So i'm doing a backstory thing.

Because i can.

Also this is a shitty haiku.


I'll be doing these pretty much when i do them. This isn't going to be the most expediently-made story :v.

Entry 1.
January 29, 2558
First couple of images are completely black, that's intentional.
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Him: Come on... out you... out you go... ... I got you...

Egh...

You're not doing... so good...

...

Eegh... hell... neither am I...

*thud*



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...

We...

... Heh... we got away... at least... eh? ...

...

...

Her: Almost made it... afterrr all... that... we almost made it...

Him: Hey... heh... we tried...

We... tried... ...

...


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Stranger: Oh my god...



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Him: You're gonna be alright... you're gonna be alright...



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...

...

Her: Ow.

It hurts to breathe.

She looks around. Tools, surgical equipment.

An APLU?

Robotics lab.

...

Right hand itches. Try to scratch on the surgical table.

Can't feel anything happening. Arm feels odd.

She looks down at herself.

Lots of healing cuts and bruises all over her body. Bunch of scars, couple look a little old, rest look recent. And...


Her: Oh... oh no...

Right arm is gone. Just a bandaged stump. Same for her right foot.

Her: By the Light... no... no no no...



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She sits up. Slowly. It hurts to move.

Don't know where this is. Can see grass outside. Looks like nighttime. Planetside, but where?

She reaches to the base of her throat with her left hand...

... Not there. It's not there.

... Wait, what's "it", though?

Memory's just there out of reach.

Need to get up. Need... a weapon? Need something. How did I get here?




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She slowly makes her way off the table. Half kneeling and half crawling, over to the surgical tools.

She's just reaching for the scalpel when she hears the door open. There's a man, Human.




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Him: - Uh...

He sees what she's doing. He holds his hands up.

Him: It's okay, it's okay. You're okay, you're alright now. It's okay.



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Him: Uh...

I... uh, I'm actually not sure if you can... even understand Galcom, uh...

Her: She-... She does... yes...

Hello.

Him: Hello! Okay, good, good... uh, you shouldn't... it's good to see you're up, but you really shouldn't be up and about like this. Let's get you back on that table...

She climbs back on the surgical table.

Her: She's got it... ...



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Her: ... Wherrre... ... eegh.

Wherrre is she?

Him: My lab, just near my home and farm. Uh... do you know the planet you're on?

She shakes her head.

Him: Alfëyr. Newly colonized. Tenebrae Lupus system. Kind of out on the frontier.

Do you... you took a helluva knock. Do you remember anything? Anything before waking up here? How you got here?

Her: ... Scatterrred... things. Bits and pieces. Don't know what's what.

It hurrrts just to think.

... What happened? How did she get herrre?

Him You, uh... crashlanded. Emergency pod, looked like a standard NanoTrasen design. Ringing any bells?

She shakes her head again.

Him: Yeah, you... you were in a bad way. You're lucky to be alive right now...

... Uh... not so much for your friend. There was a young man on the pod with you. Don't recall him either?

Her: No...

Him: He... ... I could only take one of you, and he was hemorrhaging blood from his femoral artery something fierce. Bad as you were, I had a better chance of saving you than him. He would've bled out not long after I got you out of there.

Her: Peaceful way to go, at least...

Him: Yeah... I'm sorry for your loss.

Can you remember anything at all? Can... oh, uh, my name's Mason. Mason Acosta. Can you remember yours?

Her: ...

...

Arja...

Arja... ... something. She can't rrrememberrr her last name.

Mason: That's alright, that's at least something. Looks like you've got some retrograde amnesia from the crash, unfortunately. There's a potential for anterograde amnesia as well, both commonly occur together.

Arja: ... Forrr how long?

Mason: ... ... I... can't really give a clear answer. Hopefully it'll pass over time, but... that's up to however long it takes your mind to recover. Could be tonight, could be next week, could be years from now before everything's back.

To be upfront, you might not even get everything back at all. You got banged up pretty bad.

But, it's good to see that you've retained some basics, at least. Language, your name, so on. Some aren't so lucky.

Arja: Don't feel especially lucky rrright now, heh...

Mason: You should. Considering how bad that crash was, I'm a little surprised you weren't in worse shape. Whole bunch of surface cuts, some minor fractures throughout your body, couple of shattered ribs poking through one of your lungs and a major coronary artery, caused some internal bleeding, but nothing I couldn't patch up. And it's not like you're comatose or something, crash like that easily could've messed up your brain even more than it did.

I don't have the equipment to determine exactly how messed up it is, just that it's not majorly damaged in any way i can physically deal with. But the fact of the matter is, you're still here. That counts for something.

...

Anyways, uh... ... I've got a spare room in the house. I don't use it for much, it's got a sofa in there, I've got plenty of sheets and pillows. Might not look like much, but it's actually a pretty comfy sofa, I was going to use the room for-... sorry, rambling. It beats the hell out of that table you're on.

I've also got... I, uh... I took the liberty of cleaning your clothes. They're a little torn up, but still good.

Do... you want help to put them on?

She chuckles, then grimices in pain.

Arja: Agh... ow. Eegh, she's hurrrting morrre now than when she woke up, moving arrround to put on clothes is the last thing on herrr mind.

Besides, she's not botherrred by herrr state of undrrress, cerrrtainly not with this pain rrright now.

Mason: Fair enough. Uh... I have painkillers somewhere... around... ... actually I think I left them in the house. Shit.

... Hm. Tell you what, I'll bring your clothes to your room then, and I'll come back with the painkillers and a wheelchair to get you inside. By the time you get in, the painkillers should be taking effect and you might be more comfortable then, if you want to put anything on. I've got some spare clothing too if you need it, don't know if any of it's near your size, but...

She nods. He nods and walks over to the locker.



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Arja: ... Mason?

Mason: Yeah?

Arja: ... Thank you. She is extrrremely grrrateful, just... trrrying to...

Mason: Process everything?

Arja: Yeah...

He smiles.

Mason: It's all good. I'm trying to process this myself, heh...

I'll be right back, alright?



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...


...



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...

Arja: By the Light...



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Here's links to the rest.

Entry 2.
January 29, 2558

Entry 3.
January 30, 2558

Entry 4.
January 31, 2558

Entry 5.
February 2, 2558

Entry 6.
February 3, 2558

Entry 7.
February 11, 2558

Entry 8.
February 16, 2558

Entry 9.
February 16, 2558

Entry 10.
February 25, 2558

Entry 11.
February 25, 2558

Entry 12.
February 25, 2558

Entry 13.
March 2, 2558

Entry 14.
March 6, 2558

Entry 15.
March 9, 2558

Entry 16.
March 9, 2558

Entry 17.
March 28, 2558

Entry 18.
March 28, 2558

Entry 19.
April 7, 2558
Last edited by Serithi on Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Serithi
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Mon May 22, 2017 2:23 am

I'll reserve this second post just in case i ever need to use it for something.

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Serithi
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Mon May 22, 2017 2:23 am

Entry 2.
January 29, 2558
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Mason: Alrighty, just get you over... ... there we go.



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Arja: Ahh...

...

This is actually prrretty comforrrtable.

She grins.

Mason: Told you.

Painkillers doing their thing?

Arja: Yeah, she... yeah. Feeling a little drrrowsy, but the pain's stopped at least.

Mason: Yeah, like I said, those were some strong ones. I've got some lighter stuff for later, but in the meantime I figured you'd want that pain out of the way for now.

Oh, knew I forgot something. I'll get your bed set up...



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She rolls off the sofa and half-crawls to the table.

Nondescript black jumpsuit. Belt looks pretty sturdy.

Tactical knife. Good condition, sharp.

This is mine?



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Arja: This is all hers?

Mason: That's all you had on you, yeah. I, uh... looked through your belt too, was just looking for any kind of ID, but there wasn't anything in there.

...



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Mason: And done...

... I know I asked on the way over, but are you sure you don't need anything? Food, use the bathroom, anything?

Arja: She's fine, thanks. Just want to sleep rrright now. Prrroperrr sleep.

Mason: Alright then... well, bathroom's on your right out the door, it's just a couple steps away. That's my room at the end of the hall too.



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Arja: Mason... you wouldn't... happen to know what happened to herrr arrrm and foot, would you?

Mason: Afraid not. There were already gone when I got to you.

Might've... I mean, the pod you were in was barely intact. Had a whole side wall that was sheared off. Maybe... I don't know, maybe you hit something during the impact? Arm and foot got caught in whatever sheared off the side?

Could've been a million things. Good thing the rest of you didn't go out too, at least.

But, I... ... hm. It can wait until morning.

Arja: What is it?

He sighs.

Mason: I... look, I will help you with your missing limbs. But I also have a proposition I'd like to make when you're a little more clear of mind.

Arja: Okay...



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Mason: For now, you should get a good sleep. Doctor's orders.

He smiles.

Arja: Doubt that'll be too harrrd...

Mason: Heh... and uh, I'll turn off this lamp in the back here, and leave the closet light on and keep the door open to the hallway.

Might... leave this lamp on by the couch, just for a little extra light in case you need to get up...

... And that's... about it, I think. I guess i'll see you in the morning then.

Goodnight, Arja.

Arja: Goodnight, Mason... and thank you, again.

He nods, and walks out.



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Serithi
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Mon May 22, 2017 2:24 am

Entry 3.
January 30, 2558
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She sighs.

Arja: Hm...



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Arja: Guess it was too much to ask that that was just a bad dream...



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Mason pokes his head in.

Mason: Ah, thought I heard you...


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Arja: Good morrrning.

What's with the backpack?

Mason: Morning... How you feeling?

Arja: Betterrr. Still sorrre, but uh... betterrr than it was last night.

Mason: Alright, that's good at least... good to see you're alright. Do you want any painkillers or anything?

Arja: Uh... eh, she's fine forrr now. She's morrre in need of the bathrrrom rrright now than anything else. You, uh... you said it's just out... ...

...

She rubs her forehead, confused.

Mason: ... Right out the door, then that first door on the right.

Arja: Rrright... thank you.

Mason: ... And hey, so you're not having to walk there on your knees or something...

He puts his backpack down and pulls something out of it.

Mason: A basic prosthetic leg. Not exactly high-tech compared to what I'm getting shipped in in a couple days, and it's uh... not quite a match for your other leg, but it's something. Your leg should be healed enough by now to put your weight on it, I gave you some stims after the surgery to speed the healing. Probably going to hurt, but... at least you can move around now.

She smiles.

Mason Here, leg in there...

... just strap... this... up... ... there. Too tight?

Arja: No, that's good therrre.

Mason: Alright... stick both legs out, I'll see if I can adjust the length to match your other leg a little better...

...

There. Have a walk around, get a feel for it.

She gently stands up. Stumbles slightly as she begins to walk around, slightly limping.



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She grins.

Arja: Thank you... thank you, she-...

Mason: It's all good.

Are you hungry? I can go whip up something to eat, sandwiches or something.

Arja: ... Actually yeah, she could eat, yeah. Didn't rrrealize how starrrving she was...

Mason: Alrighty. Uh... I don't actually know that much about you guys, admittedly, so are, uh... are there any foods you can't eat, anything you can't have?

Arja: Not that she... knows of. Uh... ... ... coffee, that's bad forrr us, she rrrememberrrs that. But she'll eat prrretty much anything.

... May she ask, what's the backpack forrr? She doubts it was solely forrr this prrrosthetic.

Mason: Well, once you've eaten and and finished waking up, I figured you'd want to take a look at the pod. See what we can find.

She nods.

Mason: Especially since I already reported this to the authorities yesterday, though someone would've picked your pod up on sensors as it came down anyway. But the town's a full day from here, which... in this case is good for us. We've got time to get over to the pod and poke through the wreckage before they do, see if there's anything of use for you. Help jog your memory or something.

So... anyways, I'll uh... I'll be back in a bit with some food...


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...

She examines herself in the mirror.

...

... What a mess.

...

Several faded scars all throughout her body and face. Also several that are quite fresh.

And... that stump of an arm. That is very disconcerting. Leg's only marginally better with the prosthetic... I'm taking this rather well, considering. Think I'm just too worn-out to really care right now.

Sore back. Feels like... ... left side, looks like a large surgical scar... fifth intercostal space, I think. That'll be where Mason went in to fix the lung and coronary damage.

...

... How'd I even figure that out?

...

She sighs. Leans in closer to the mirror.

...

Arja.

...

Arja...

Arja.

...

...

She scoffs.

I can't even remember my own full name, but I know detailed anatomy. Wonderful...

...

Fuck...

...

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As it turns out, putting on a jumpsuit one-handed isn't actually that difficult. Just kind of fiddly.

Footsteps at the doorway.

Mason: - Oh, sorry, didn't know you were... uh...

He looks away.



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Arja: She apprrreciates the thought, but she did say last night that it doesn't botherrr herrr in the slightest.

Mason: Yeeeah... habit.

Arja: And especially considering you've seen it all anyway, strrripping herrr down on the operrrating table.

Mason: Well, to be fair, I did sort of re-clothe you afterwards...

...

This is an odd conversation for this time of the morning.

Arja: Considerrring the cirrrcumstances themselves arrre odd, this is norrrmal, if you think about it.

Mason: Heh, fair point. But let's bring some, uh... "normal" normality in, and have some breakfast.


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Arja: Wow... yeah, she was starrrving alrrright.

Mason: Thought you might be.

He smiles..



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...

She idly puts her hand to to base of her throat.

Arja: Hmm...

You... ... She... forrrgets, you went thrrrough herrr belt alrrready, rrright?

Mason: Yeah, there wasn't anything in it... was there supposed to be?

Arja: Not surrre... she uh... ... she's missing something. A necklace orrr something, something she... something she worrre arrround herrr neck. Guessing she didn't have anything like that when you brrrought herrr in?

Mason: Nope, this is all you had on you.

Arja: Then it's...

...

... Belt has a... little hidden comparrrtment.

She reaches inside a pouch and pulls a plate out from the bottom, revealing an extra section further down.

Mason: Ahh, I thought that pouch seemed bigger on the outside. Is it in there?

She sighs.

Arja: No. And that was the only otherrr place she would've had it...

...

... It... might've came off in the crrrash?

She looks up at Mason.

Can we... can we go take a look at the pod now? Maybe it's therrre.

Mason: Sure, if you think you're alright to walk a little ways... but you should know, the uh... the body of your friend from the pod is still there.

Arja: She figured that. She still wants to see. Like you said, it might help herrr rrrememberrr something.

Mason: Well, long as you're alright with what you're gonna see...

... Uh, i've got some old pairs of boots lying around, I can go, uh... I can go find a pair that fits you and cut the fronts off.

Arja: She aprrreciates it.

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Mason: Almost there... ... so that's all that's come back so far?

Arja: Mm. Verrry little that's rrreally dirrrect, she thinks. Morrre, uh... morrre... feelings. Fearrr, and... and rrrunning... escaping.

Mason: Some kind of emergency on the ship?

Arja: She thinks. Escaping... something. She... ... She's trrrying to rrrememberrr back, but everrrything's still a vague fog. She can barrrely even think strrraight as it is. Therrre was a rrreason she was on that pod, something dangerrrous she was trrrying to flee frrrom.

Mason: Emergency pod, emergency situation. Makes sense.

At least you're remembering things. The pod might have something to ID the ship, that might help too.

Just around... here it is.



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Arja: ... She...

...

Mason: You were in that. Yeah.

Arja: By the Light...

...

She walks over, taking in the sight. Wreckage, torn-up ground, blood.

Corpse. Egh, that smell.

Mason: That's uh... him.



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She kneels down beside the body, staring. Body's starting to be decompose, but he's not yet unrecognizable...

Familiar face.

Strong familiarity. Should know who he is, by all rrrights. And yet...

Arja: Don't know. She knows him, but she... she doesn't rrrememberrr who he is.

... She... she's actually infurrriated at that now. She knows him, she knows she knows him. Familiarrr enough that seeing him like this makes herrr... makes herrr angrrry. And sad.

And forrr all that, she doesn't rrrecall his name. It's... rrright therrre, and it won't come to herrr.

...

She stands, looking down at the body.

Arja: ...Pass... ... Pass through the veil... to the warm embrace of your primordial maker.

... She rrrememberrrs funerrral prrrayerrrs, yet not the name of who they'rrre addrrressed to.

...

... And she assumes this blood is herrrs.

Mason: Yeah... Going by the blood trails, and the state you were in, I think he might've hauled you out of the pod. Probably the last thing he did before succumbing to his injuries.

She sighs and looks around, examining the scene.

Pod's an absolute wreck. Whole side's been torn off. The two of them scour through the pod and surrounding area for a time.

Little to find but debris and scattered emergency supplies. Nothing of use on the body either.

It's not here.

She picks up the nearby firearm, examining it.

Arja: Just this, it seems...



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... Common enerrrgy gun. Set to lethals.

Used. It's at half charrrge.

I used it.

...

She pauses, staring at the firearm. She clicks it to "stun" before flipping it around and handing it to Mason grip-first.

Arja: She'll earrrn yourrr trrrust with it as we go.

...

She sighs, looking back at the mess behind her.

Arja: ... Can't find it. And therrre's nothing on the pod of use, not that she can find.

Mason: The authorities will look around, they might find something we missed. And uh... half of them are old buddies of mine, I'll find out if they manage to find your necklace, or whatever else they haul in.

... And I'll make sure your friend gets a good burial.

She smiles.

Arja: Thank you...

She looks back one last time.

Arja: Let's... ...

... Let's get back. Therrre's nothing forrr herrr herrre.


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She sighs.

Arja: She hates this. Not knowing.

... Well, guess she's got nowherrre to go rrright now... ... She... does rrrecall last night, you said something about a prrroposition?

Mason: Yeah... ... Alright, like I said, I've got a shipment of prosthetics coming in, should get here in a couple of days. All high-quality, full integration. Hooks into your nervous system, muscles, bone, everything. Move them like your old limbs, feel with them like the old ones, they all have the full sensory suite.

I'll hook you up with an arm and foot, I uh... I can already think of a good match for your foot, and you'll have choices for your arm.

Arja: She-...

...

She smiles.

Arja: She... ... thank you, she... she doesn't have any money to pay you.

Mason: I know, which is where my proposition comes in. I could use a hand around the place. Getting everything set up, the farm and my lab and all that. The faster everything here's good to go, the better it is for the colony.

I'll hook you up with the limbs for free, don't worry about that. But if you want to stay here, I am gonna need your help. I'm not gonna just, you know, dump work on you, and I'm gonna give you plenty of time to recover and get used to the limbs and all that. Just I... as long as you're willing to pull your weight, I'm happy to have you here. Room and board's included, just... don't eat all my food, you know.

Arja: She's morrre than happy to earrrn herrr keep.

Mason: Awesome. You kind of have a certain "get it done" vibe about you, so... I've never been the best with people, but I know when someone's the type to pull their weight. I do appreciate this, Arja.

They shake hands.

Arja: Likewise.

...

Mason: ... And hey, don't... don't worry too much about the pod. Might just take time before anything more comes to you. It's good that you were almost remembering stuff, at least. At least we tried, mm?

He starts to walk out.

She briefly pricks her ears up, then droops them slightly.

Arja: Those werrre his last worrrds.

He pauses, looking back at Arja.

Mason: I... ...

... At least that's something.

She sighs and nods.

Arja: The feelings she has about him, he deserrrves farrr morrre of a memorrry than just "something".

But, she supposes it's just anotherrr missing memorrry forrr the pile.

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Mon May 22, 2017 2:24 am

Entry 4.
January 31, 2558
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...

Heart's pounding like a jackhammer.

...

Dizzy. Nauseous.

...

...

First time I recall dreaming since I got here... And I've already forgotten most of what I just dreamt.

Sigh.

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Mon May 22, 2017 2:24 am

Entry 5.
February 2, 2558
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She sits on the front porch, watching the stars. Clear sky tonight, and the light pollution from the city is only barely perceptible from this distance. There's the galaxy in all its glory.

Eyelids drooping. Sleep deprivation. But now's not a good time for sleeping.

Mason: Hey...

He walks over and sits down.



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Arja: Hm? Ah, evening...

Barrrely hearrrd you come out, heh...

Mason: Nice night out...

... You alright? You look kinda... tired, I think? I can't really tell.

Arja: She is, yeah. Prrrobably rrrunning on like... thrrree orrr fourrr hourrrs of sleep rrright now.

Mason: Ouch... ... I thought you guys could go without sleep longer than us?

Arja: Yeah... but we still have ourrr limits too. She's barrrely slept the last couple days. She slept thrrough that firrrst night because of everrrything, but she's barrrely gotten sleep since. Trrried to nap a few times, failed. Don't know if it's just the heat, orrr the unfamiliarrr surrroundings still, orrr...

She sighs.

Arja: ... the nightmares. They certainly haven't been an incentive to sleep.

Mason: Same as the other night?

Arja: Don't think so. Tonight was something differrrent. Worrrse.

She still can't rrrememberrr what they werrre about; she... she prrretty much forrrgets them as soon as she's awake, doesn't matterrr how harrrd she trrries to keep them in mind. They'rrre just kind of... vague, foggy flashes now. But she rrrecalls how she felt durrring it. Like herrr mind was frrrozen.

It... it was like...

She yawns.

Arja: ... ah... it was like sleep parrralysis, but in herrr head. Like she was held in place, couldn't contrrrol the drrream, couldn't do anything but watch it play out... it's... it's harrrd to explain. She knew she was drrreaming, she was in the situation, yet she couldn't... ... she had no contrrrol. She just did what she did.

She doesn't rrrecall if that stuff happened the otherrr night orrr not, but she rrrememberrrs tonight clearrrly enough. Absolutely frrreaked herrr out, hearrrt was pounding when she woke up. She didn't want to go back to sleep with it frrresh in herrr mind, so... she's out herrre. Hoping to eitherrr finish waking up, orrr clearrr herrr mind and hope forrr a morrre peaceful sleep, if she can sleep at all.

Mason: Huh. I've had bad nightmares like that, waking up sweating and my heart hammering out my chest, but I've never heard of something like your mind "freezing".

Arja: Could it be... damage from the crrrash?

Mason: Possibly, I don't know. I hope not. Still, something to keep an eye on.

Why didn't you tell me you weren't sleeping good? I mean, I knew you didn't get as much last night, but I thought you were at least getting some naps in. If you want, I've got sleeping pills lying around somewhere, helps with the hot nights we get out here.

She shakes her head.

Arja: Don't know how they'll affect herrr, don't want to rrrisk making these drrreams worrrse orrr something. Also don't want to have to rrrely on them just to have a night's rrrest.

She's... she's trrrying to deal with this herrrself, in herrr own time. She didn't want to botherrr you with it until you asked.

Mason: ... It's... really no bother, Arja. I already said I'm happy to help.

Arja: But that's herrr point. You've alrrready done so much forrr herrr, and agrrreed to do morrre even beforrre she's in any shape to help you in rrreturrrn.

She's trrrying to sorrrt of... ... egh.

Mason: What?

Arja: ... Hold herrr own, she guesses. She's trrrying to fix things herrrself, she doesn't want to... to have to rrrely on otherrrs.

She yawns.

Arja: If she doesn't have to, she means. The thought of becoming rrreliant on someone else feels... ... alien to herrr. She thinks she's used to self-sufficiency orrr something. If she can do something herrrself, she prrreferrrs just doing that.

Mason: Well, I can certainly respect that. Don't get me wrong, I know exactly where you're coming from, but there's... a... ... there's a time and place for that. Considering what you've just been through, the last thing you should be doing is making things harder for yourself. It's a miracle you're even alive... much less awake, people've fallen into comas from less.

Look, we made our agreement, yeah? As long as you're keeping up your end of the bargain, I'm quite happy to help you however I can. If I have to babysit you until you're up and about again, so be it. I don't want you out there hurt and tired, not just because I want you to be able to work unimpaired, but because this is what decent folk do for each other.

So, doctor's orders: If something's bothering you, tell me, and I'll see what I can do. You don't have to prove anything to anyone, and you don't need to be making your condition worse. Save the self-sufficiency for when you actually can be self-sufficient. I want you back on your feet first. Alright?

She sighs... then nods.

Arja: Alrrright. Fairrr enough. Fairrr enough...

Mason: If you can't get to sleep tonight, we'll figure something out in the morning.

...

He sighs.

Mason: Anyways.

Arja: Anyways...

...

...

... Did the ... did the police get back to you?

Mason: They did, just a bit ago. Sounds they didn't find anything of real use. Nothing but debris and blood.

Arja: ... Nothing? No ID, nothing?

Mason: Nope. No identifying marks on the pod. If it had any, they could've been on the, uh... many parts of the pod exterior that were torn away. Landed who knows where, little ditches and cracks the debris could be lost in.

No... ID on your friend, either. I'm sorry. He's remaining a John Doe.

He'll get a good burial, at least. Graveyard's in a pretty little meadowed area.

She nods.

Arja: And therrre was no... therrre wasn't a flight rrrecorrrderrr orrr anything in the pod?

Mason: There was supposed to be. They got into the compartment it was supposed to be in, found it was empty. The compartment was sealed, so it didn't come out in the crash.

Arja: ... ... Why would it be missing?

Mason: I... can think of a few reasons. Maintenance, maybe. Maybe someone might've forgotten to put it back in...

Arja: ... But you have a morrre likely scenarrrio in mind, she takes it.

Mason: I do. Don't know if you'll like it, though.

Arja: Just be honest with herrr. She can take it.

Mason: Well...

He sighs.

Mason: ... Look, Tenebrous Lupae's not right on the edge of colonized space, but it's not that far from it. This is the frontier any which way you look at it. And that means a lot of people don't come out this way. That goes for SolGov and the like.

Space is big, easy to hide in. It's even easier when there's no real police force around to scan for you. Out here, there's no overarching government like SolGov or the Trans-Stellars, just the individual colonial authorities, and we really don't care who you are as long as you don't cause trouble in our territories. So you get a lot of... shady types, out here. Criminals on the run, pirates, mercenaries. Lot of places to hide, and a lot of people who'll look the other way.

Now, I, uh... I bring this up because I've met my fair share of those shady types, back on the Refuge, that asteroid colony I was telling you about. You learn a thing or two when you listen to drunken smugglers. Such as a common tactic of taking out the black boxes on their ships and evac pods. That way, if the authorities ever get ahold of a pod, they can't trace it back to the ship. And if they do get the ship, they can't trace the locations of any hidden caches or bases the crew might be operating out of. It's one thing to wipe the navigation data in the main system of a ship when you're boarded, but the black box isn't so easy, so taking it out beforehand is one less liability.

Now, I'm... ... look, I'm not saying that's definitely what you were. You don't strike me as the type to go around raiding ships, to be honest. But maybe you were a merc or something, they're not necessarily bad guys, just depends on the kind of jobs they take. There's always various stuff that needs doing, some of it is more legal than not.

And it could really just be the pod's box was taken out for a good reason. You never know.

Arja: But you don't think so.

Mason: I... ... I wouldn't put money on it.

Arja: Hmm...

She sighs, and yawns.

Arja: ... She... ... hm... honestly, if she was a merc, or smugglerrr, orrr whateverrr... it would explain a few things. Herrr gearrr. Herrr familiarrrity with weapons... when she firrrst woke up in yourrr lab, as soon as she got herrr bearrrings, she went forrr a scalpel so she'd have something, and that's when you walked in as she was trrrying to get it. She's even familiarrr with that gun we found. She thinks it was herrrs. Orrr at least, she firrred it last.

And herrr behaviourrr. She walks into a rrroom and she immediately looks forrr any exits in case she needs them. She's constantly looking arrround, watching forrr... something. She actually doesn't even... rrreally know what she's watching out forrr, just glad that therrre's nothing therrre when she looks. She's not surrre what she's actually doing. But she does know this isn't norrrmal behaviourrr forrr someone.

But she honestly can't imagine herrrself everrr... doing worrrk like that, she doesn't even want to rrright now. Unless she's forrrgotten herrr rrreasons forrr doing so, then it's yet anotherrr thing to trrry and rrrememberrr.

... Still leaves two questions, then.

Mason: Mm?

Arja: Is therrre someone looking forrr herrr? And if so, does she want them to find herrr?

...

She needs to rrrememberrr, because she doesn't like not knowing the answerrrs to eitherrr.

...

They didn't find herrr necklace... thing, whateverrr it is, then?

Mason: Didn't hear anything about a necklace. Honestly, it could be anywhere. Don't forget, my property here's somewhat terraformed, but out there is not much more than a desert wasteland. Lot of canyons... nooks and crannies, a billion places for something small to slip into and never be found. They did a thorough search around the pod, but based on the damage you probably hit the ground more than once, and they can't spare the manpower to search further. It could've come off anywhere.

... Do you remember what it looked like? What it was made of?

Arja: ... It was... ... small, rrround... metal, she thinks... ... ... Gold-colorrred, but she doesn't rrrecall if it was actually made of gold orrr just colorrred that way. She... agh, she hates this. She thinks that's what it looked like... she hates not being surrre of this.

Mason: Well... I've got an old ore detector from the Refuge. It's short-range, but it can also be set to scan for metals.

It's a needle in a miles-wide haystack, but... if you wanted to search for your necklace, I can't really stop you, so I might as well help you along.

She smiles, tiredly.

Arja: She doesn't exactly have much else to do.

Mason: Heh...

...

And before I forget. I told them what we discussed. They noticed the second pool of blood right off the bat, but they bought the story. Far as they're aware, you only just stumbled in here earlier today, and you're in no condition to talk to them right now. And they're needed elsewhere, so they won't be bothering us for a while. So when you're ready, we can head to the city and talk to them, tell them you don't recall anything, case goes cold, you can get checked out at the hospital, and you're good to do what you want. They probably wouldn't particularly care about this case going cold, since you're obviously not here to cause trouble, but...

Arja: Just don't want to... talk to them yet, is all. She wants to rrrest.

Mason: Yeah, I got you. Little white lie to buy some rest time.

... Speaking of rest, though, you really should get back to bed. The prosthetics should be arriving tomorrow, and I need you awake so I can finish calibrations afterwards.

She nods and gets up.

Arja: Mm...

...

... Mason? Thanks.

Mason: No worries. But thank me by getting a good sleep, mm?

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Mon May 22, 2017 2:25 am

Entry 6.
February 3, 2558
SpoilerShow
Image



It's strange, being under partial anesthesia. I'm just kind of... floating here. Somewhat aware of what's going on, but too tired to pay much attention.

Mason gave local anesthesia to my arm and leg, and put me under a light general to take the edge off. He doesn't want me all the way under just yet; sometimes he tells me to move something, usually part of my arm or my foot. At least, try to move it, as if I still had it. I'd imagine it's to do with the prosthetics. I try to sort of wiggle my phantom limbs as needed, then go back to letting the time pass by.

Everything's blank. Can't really visualize anything in my mind, can't dream, can't do much but just think and wait. Mind sort of feels like it's locked up again, but at least there's no nightmares, and I can still move my body as needed. Not so much sleeping as perpetually zoning out.

...

Wish I knew why it's locking up like that. It's... not exactly the most comfortable.

... Oh well.

...

I can feel gentle tugging on my arm and shin every now and then. And I can sometimes feel the blade as it goes in, cutting away little bits so the prosthetics can fit.

It doesn't hurt, of course. But it feels extremely odd. Wrong, though I know it's being done for the right reasons. Exposing the nerves, muscle, bone, and connecting the prosthetics to it all. First the "plug", which seals around the bone and outside the limb so the prosthetic can be secured, starting with the internal chassis. That's hooked directly to the muscular and nervous system through the plug. That's the tricky part, but he bought a medical robot to assist with the hard stuff.

Afterwards, everything's cauterized and otherwise sealed up, and he installs the outer casing. He cuts little sections further up where he can anchor the casing into the flesh for extra security. Sounds gruesome at first, but it's covered by the casing and heals up anyway, and it's just something extra on top of what's already securing it. All in all, the whole rest of my arm and shoulder will be covered - whatever he didn't cut away, anyway - whereas my foot will only cover slightly past the plug. Other models would've gone further up, but this is fine as-is, and he recommended this one because he could modify it to something a little more like my other foot. The arm was my pick, though. I like the colors for some reason.

...

... Fading. Guess this is where he needs me under all the way...

...

...

...



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...

...

...

Mason: ... Yeah, she's waking up. There we go...



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Arja: Eeegh...

Mason: And she's up.



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Mason: About time, sleepyhead.

...

Feeling alright?

Arja: Eegh... tirrred.

Mason: Still? You were out for... what, good couple hours now after the anesthesia's worn off.

Arja: Cerrrtainly didn't feel like it. Guess she's still clearrring that sleep debt...

...

How did it go? ... And why's she in bed?

Mason: Well, I figured this makes for a good recovery room. As for how it went, well... get up and have a look.

Off with the blanket. She looks down at herself.

She sits up slowly, taking in the sight.

The prosthetics. Inactive, but attached.

Arja: ... Huh... ...

...

... Wow, that's... wow.

... Oh, and you even got the foot to match...

He grins.

Mason: Got it as close as I could, couldn't do as much as I'd wanted to, but...

Arja: Cerrrtainly close enough... ... oh, this is amazing...

Mason: Amazing part's not even here yet. Gimme a sec, lemme just... get this done...

He taps on the datapad he's holding.

Mason: Alrighty... hold still please, Arja. Herb, plug her in, please?

The robot pings. It unscrews some small panels from Arja's arm and foot, and plugs in a pair of cables leading to Mason's datapad. He resumes tapping.

Mason: Alright. It's gonna go from "dead weight" to "really itchy" in a split second, then the feeling should pass after a moment.

He taps once, and an almost indescribable feeling of itchiness and dull pain courses through her new arm and foot.

Arja: EEGH... ... Ohh, that was not pleasant...

Mason: Yeah, sorry about that. But it went all the way through? That's good, means it's all hooked up right... yeah, system's calibrating, everything's setting up nicely.

...

Alright, now this final part's kind of the same principal as ripping off a bandaid, so... apologies. This is going to hurt.

He taps, and her prosthetics seize in pain, brief but extremely sharp. She clenches her right hand, about to yell and hit something -

...

...

She unclenches.

Mason: And now they're active.

She stares at her arm, wordlessly, as Herb unplugs everything and secures the panels back in place. Clenching and unclenching her hand, bending her elbow and rolling her shoulder and wrist. Everything twisting and turning like it should. Fingers are nimble, almost seem to have even more fine control than her old hand.

And her foot, everything feels like it's where it should be. She slowly stands up, no issues balancing or finding her footing. Everything's shaped right, and the weight difference is negligable.



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It all feels utterly alien. Yet at the same time, it feels right.

Going to take some getting used to, but it beats trying to work with a couple of stumps.

Mason: I'd call that a successful procedure, wouldn't you Herb?

Herb pings.

Arja: This-... she-... ...

...

... Thank you. Thank you so much.


---------------------------------------


She looks at herself in the mirror, looking over her new limbs.



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Impressive pieces of technology. Full range of movement, low weight, yet quite sturdy. Full sensory suite; they can feel touch, pain, temperature, everything. Mason offered to inhibit the pain response, but I didn't want to. I wanted it to feel as real as possible.

He basically did this for free. That astounds me still, no matter what he says. He let me have all this for free.

I mean, I'll absolutely keep my word and help him, it's the least I could do. But how does he know that? Does he really see that in me? He said he does, but...

... I don't know. I guess when I barely know my own self, I can't really find fault in anyone else's view of me.

And I'm certainly grateful for his altruism.

...

...

Anyways. Guess this is the... what's the saying?

... Ah, yeah. One of the relatively useless little memories I didn't lose, for whatever reason.

Old human phrase. "First day of the rest of my life".

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Mon May 22, 2017 2:25 am

Entry 7.
February 11, 2558
SpoilerShow
Just got back from spending a few days in the city.

Talked with the police. They're on the lookout for any ships searching for missing evac pods, but otherwise the case is pretty much dead unless something new comes up. That's all out of the way now.

Got checked out at the hospital. Aside from the obvious concussion, they didn't find anything major. Mason patched me up pretty good. Unfortunately there's no real way to treat it. It's pretty much just a matter of time until it clears up.

If it clears up. It's been getting worse. Headaches, light sensitivity, among other things. All started almost a week ago. Post-concussion syndrome, I've been told. Guess that affects us too.

Went to the library, hopped on one of the public terminals. There's a basic internet set up in a few parts of the colony, but there's no exonet access. The only info out here is what's added manually. Mason's set to get internet access sometime in the next few weeks, I'll have to make do with this until then.

Looked through some stuff on local events, rumors from other parts of the system, and some info on the colony. Capital city of Weissjar, where we are now, within the prefecture of the same name. Population of around 23000 at the moment, founded a little over 27 years ago. Folks from the Refuge and other colonies in the system noticed they had a easily-habitable planet nearby, pooled their resources together, got their hands on a few colony ships and construction drones, reconfigured their shuttles for atmospheric entry... next thing you know, people are pouring down onto the planet and setting up shop. Weissjar's the central hub, with various smaller industrial and farming towns in the outskirts feeding into it. Few hundreds to thousands of people in those. All in all, quite the budding colony. Everything's fairly built up as it is.

Main demographics look to be mostly Terran German, Japanese, Scandanavian, some Hispanic as with Mason's case. More are adding to the mix over time. Looks like I'm the first known Tajaran, though. Could certainly tell by the looks I was getting.

And the planet of Alfeyr itself. A little smaller and a fair few degrees hotter than Earth, so they say; I don't actually know much about Earth. Or I just don't recall. But I do understand a good chunk of Alfeyr is desert badlands. Temperate nearer the poles, but we're a little closer to the equator. Very mineral-rich region we're in, though, which is why we're here and not up north or south. Lower atmospheric pressure, but higher oxygen content, so it still works out good enough to breathe.

Most of Alfeyr's unclaimed, of course. Over time other factions will claim parts of the world, pop up new governments, and territorial boundaries will have to be properly established and maintained. But in the meantime, the Weissjar Prefecture essentially is the colony.

Didn't end up checking out any books. It's a full day's drive from the city back to Mason's home, going back and forth to return them would get old pretty quick. Downloaded some digital manuals onto a spare PDA Mason had instead. The books he has back home are a little outdated, so we got various up-to-date technical manuals for farm drone maintenance, APLU repair (I offered to take a crack at fixing the junked APLU Mason has in his lab. It's either that or it gets dismantled for parts, might as well have a go), and a few novels of various genres that looked good.

Spent the nights at a hotel. Walked around during the day, seeing the sights. Finally got an official ID, Mason wasn't kidding when he said they don't really care who you are, long as you don't cause any trouble. Got me in the system as "Arja Acosta". Felt odd being out and about, guess I gotta get used to people again. The stares I was drawing didn't exactly help. But at least Mason was there. We were making small talk the whole time, made it easier to shut out the stares. He's a good man. I'm glad to know him.

Did some running around, then finally we made our way back home. I flopped on my bed and didn't move for three hours. Woke up with a headache.

Headache's still here, it's been on and off all day. Taken four painkillers in the last hour, barely put a dent in it. Downed some leftovers from earlier to get something in my stomach, then went back to bed. Couldn't get back to sleep. In the middle of reading one of the manuals to try and take my mind off the pain. Not working well either.

Much as my head hurts, at least the pain from everything else has pretty much subsided. Arm and foot are...

...

... Weird. I'm getting used to them, but at the same time I'm... sort of not. I was only missing them for a few days, but I guess that and then this were enough to throw me off-balance.

...

Egh, I don't know what to do. Everything feels just... off, right now. I don't know who I am, I don't know where my home is, I don't know if I have friends and family waiting somewhere. And I don't really know how to find out. All I can do is try to remember. Find the necklace, find something. All I can think about is the necklace. More of a locket, I think. It was something I... something I had to keep safe.

Hidden.

I had to keep it out of sight, for some reason. I can't even remember what's in it, but I know it was important to me, and that I had to keep it safe from something. Why?

... And this is why I try to occupy myself when I'm awake. Whatever I can do while I'm recovering, whatever I can do when I do finally recover. Anything to occupy my mind. Because otherwise I keep going in the same circles, trying to think of the locket, or whatever else I barely remember. And I have to stop and comprehend my situation. Comprehend the very real possibility that I won't find the locket, won't regain my memories, won't be able to find my home, and I'll possibly spend the rest of my life in a decidedly alien corner of the galaxy.

I suppose there's worse places. I can hardly tolerate the heat right now, but perhaps I'll adapt. And I'm in good company here. And I could always try to look for somewhere else to live if need be.

I don't know.

That pretty much sums up my entire existence right now. "I don't know". I don't know what to do, other than just... try.

I don't know.

...

I don't know.

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Mon May 22, 2017 2:25 am

Entry 8.
February 16, 2558
SpoilerShow
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...

Voice 1: Thisss isss taking too long. We need to move, Bissshop.

Voice 2: I'm aware, Hammer. The peanut gallery's not helping. I'm almost in.

Winter, how we looking back there?



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Voice 3. My own?: Pipe tunnel leads nowherrre useful. Don't know what's behind these doorrrs, they'rrre sealed and not on the schematics.
ME BUT NOT ME

Bishop: So they were out of date. Bosses won't be happy with the informant.

Alright, let's not risk those doors. Our way out's through -

Intercom: This is your final warning. Come -

Bishop sighs.

Bishop: Hammer?

Intercom: - are authorized to engage with lethal force if --

Hammer slams an armored fist into the general whereabouts of the intercom's broadcasting switch, silencing it.

Bishop: Thank you. As I was saying, our way out's through the guns outside. We'll get to an airlock and take the backup route to our EZ.

Hammer, thinking frag and clear?
WHY CAN'T I MOVE

Hammer: Frag and flasssh, for good measssure.

Bishop: Even better.

And... I'm... in, alright. This netsec hurts my brain. I shouldn't be in their system through a damn Atmos console.

Found the files. Just need to... there.

We have what we came for. Form up for breach.

Winter: RrrOE?
ME BUT NOT ME CAN'T THINK CAN'T SPEAK

Bishop: Fire at will. Do what you have to.

On me. Winter, take the rear.

3... 2... 1...

Flash out.

Hammer: Frag out.



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Bishop: Go.



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...



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TAKE CONTROL
She tosses her shotgun and knife on the ground, pulls out her energy pistol.



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FINALLY IN CONTROL
She puts it to the side of her head.
DO IT BEFORE I'M GONE AGAIN

She fires.



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...

...

...

She sighs.

...

Another one.

Already had this dream three times now. It's somehow getting more jumbled every time.

This time it got mixed up before I had to see the next part. Two were still moving and had their weapons. We had to finish them off the hard way. Put extra holes in all four just in case before moving on.

It skipped all that this time. Don't know if I prefer what I dreamed up in its place, though. And I'm not looking forward to the next time.

...

I haven't told Mason. He knows I'm having bad dreams, but... I haven't told him that I'm actually remembering these ones now. Or that they... ...

... I call them dreams, but at this point it's pretty clear that they're partially jumbled memories. Things I've forgotten are being dredged up, all mushed together but finally recovered nonetheless. My subconscious is running through everything, trying to make sense of it. I've noticed I come back to the snowy spot a lot.

I sincerely wish they weren't really memories. What I'm seeing... more than confuses me, it angers me. I don't understand why I would've done these things. But they feel real. Too real, they're not entirely just dreams.

Not something I should tell Mason, either, I think. I hate keeping things from him, but I just...

...

...

... I really should talk to him more, though.

I've been here for a few weeks now, yet I've barely spoken to him all that much. I'm usually just holed up in here, reading manuals or trying to nap off this sleep deprivation, or I'm out doing some light work while I acclimate to my prosthetics. Sometimes I go scouring around the pod with the metal detector, working back through where the pod came down. We technically made landfall several times, as it turns out. I can see debris and impact grooves way off in the distance, we'd hit the ground then ramp back into the air. Out that ways, I'll be delving into the parts that haven't been terraformed yet, so there's nothing but hot, rocky desert out there.

Eegh. This is not home. I don't know where home is, but I know this isn't it, nor will it ever be. I'm not a desert person.

Sometimes Mason comes along, but we don't usually talk much. It... might be more my fault. I know he likes it when we do talk, I get the feeling he's kind of lonely out here. I can understand why, we're a bit of a long ways from anything. But I'm probably missing all these conversation cues because I'm kind up all up in my own head while we're out. Trying to think, trying to remember. Not really succeeding. Might be better to actually pay attention for once.

I like talking with him too. And it distracts me from these dreams for a little bit.

... I should do that, when he wakes up. I'm not doing any good lying in here all the time, mulling over whatever bloodbath I've just dreamed of. This isn't the right thing to do. I should be out there, getting to know him more, opening up. He saved my life and took me in, I should at least properly get to know my saviour...

... ... and my only friend out here.

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Mon May 22, 2017 2:25 am

Entry 9.
February 16, 2558
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Arja: Morrrning.

Mason: Ah, good morning. Didn't hear you come in.

Arja: Busy with the mech?

Mason: Heh, I wish. "Busy" would imply I'm actually getting anything done.

Finally got a chance today to take a good look at this thing. I've been going over it for... I don't know, an hour now, just trying to figure... figure out what the hell even happened to it. It's a mess.

Arja: Wherrre'd you get it, anyway?

Mason: Ah, friend of mine hauled it out of a junkyard, asked if I wanted it. Thought it'd be good for parts at least, so... I've honestly barely even looked at it until now, forgot just how busted it was. Just got it hauled in out of the way while I get everything else up and running. Now I see why it was in the junkyard.

I mean... damn, look at all this. Melted electronics, large chunks blown off. Guessing some kinda industrial accident, but... man, I wouldn't even know where to begin working on it. I don't have half the parts it needs, and I really, really don't feel like dropping the money for them right now...

He sighs.

Mason: Ahh, dios mio.

... Sorry, habit. I... do you speak Spanish at all?

She shakes her head.

Mason: Heh, I barely speak it myself anymore. Galcom's kind of my main language these days.

Already forgotten half the Spanish I used to know... Word to the wise?

Arja: Mm?

Mason: Keep speaking both your languages. I hear you muttering sometimes in, uh... don't know what it's called, that other language you use. It's good practice. I wish I'd stayed in practice for mine. Kind of one of the few things from my old home I have left.

Ahh, I'm rambling. I haven't had breakfast so... little loopy, heh.

Arja: That's alrrright, rrramble away. She's happy to listen.

... She actually wanted to... she wanted to apologize.

Mason: Apologize? For what?

Arja: She's been, perrrhaps... not the most talkative with you. She spends most of herrr time on herrr own, orrr keeping to herrrself even when you'rrre arrround.

She doesn't mean to seem like she's... she's... what's the phrrrase, giving you the cold shoulderrr? She quite likes it when we talk, and, uh... ...

He chuckles.

Mason: Arja, it's fine. Really. I'm not blind, I can see you got a lot on your mind. I can only try to imagine how you're... you know, coping with all this. If you need your space, take it, by all means. I don't wanna bug you while you're still getting better and all that.

Arja: She apprrreciates that. She does. Just she... she does want to starrrt maybe... crrrawling out of herrr shell, as it werrre. She'd cerrrtainly like to get to know you betterrr, if you have the time.

Mason: Sure, I'm always glad to talk. And this... egh, this mess is giving me a headache just looking at it, so I really should take a break.

Arja: Don't forrrget, she did prrromise to help with it if she can.

Mason: You're welcome to try, but uh... put it this way, I won't hold it against you if you decide to break that particular promise, heh. Thing's barely even good for parts, far as I can tell.

Ahh... have you had breakfast at all?

She shakes her head.

Mason: Alright, tell you what, uh... do me a favor, go check on the farmbots real quick, please? Bots 2 and 3, just make sure they're not bugging out again. Then come on inside, I'll have breakfast ready.

Arja: Surrre.


---------------------------------------



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Arja: So.

Mason: So.

Arja: Wherrre arrre you frrrom, Mason?

Mason: Well... actually got two answers to that. I was born on a Vey-Med shuttle my parents were working aboard. Spent my first couple weeks on board before my parents moved back to their home on Mars. Spent most of my life there...

... Man, I haven't been back there in a long time. Left a little over eleven years ago now.

Arja: How come?

Mason: Ehh... a few reasons. Bad divorce, for one. And uh... dunno, just got kind of tired of the place. I was sick of living inside and underground, you know? I'd never been somewhere where you can actually go outdoors without a space suit or a... a dose of anti-radiation meds or something. You might take all this for granted, but Mars isn't terraformed in the slightest. We all gotta live indoors back there.

Anyways, uh... I happened to hear through the grapevine about Alfeyr. News of it'd sporadically made it all the way to the inner colonies. Seemed like a good opportunity to just go and start over. And there wasn't really anything keeping me on Mars anymore, so I decided to head out. Parents came with, few friends tagged along too. Took this shuttle and that shuttle, finally jumped in-system and made our way to the Refuge to rest. Place has a processing office for new immigrants to Alfeyr, got our documents and ID's set up.

... It was weird, when we finally got down planet-side. Being out in the open like that. Open skies, not inside all the time, took me the longest time to get used to that. I guess I never really shook that lifestyle, considering still I spend so much time inside here, heh...

Anyways. I'd gotten into cybernetics and robotics when I was working for Vey-Med back on Mars, so I was able to find work for all that. Now I'm sort of working for myself, and also sort of working for the city to get some infrastructure established. Getting my lab and farm set up on their dime, a new town's gonna be going up around here soon enough. Then I'll be getting a lot more work, not just... you know, junked APLU's and crash survivors.

Arja: What, she's not good enough forrr you?

They both grin.

Mason: Ahh... yeah, I've missed this, you know? Talking, I mean. I don't get to do it a lot out here. And I obviously don't care to make the two-day-long trip to the city and back unless I need to. Hopefully a good town builds up around here, but in the meantime I'm kind of on my own out here. Which... I knew I would be when I took the job, but still, been out here a while now, and uh... loneliness sets in pretty quick when you're used to being around people. Being busy with work has helped, but...

... Anyways. I'm glad you're here, is what I'm saying. Glad to have an extra pair of hands, but uh... also glad just to have an ear, you know?

That... sounded better in my head.

She smiles.

Arja: She gets what you mean.

She, uh... as you can imagine, she's a little...

...

Oh, what's the bloody worrrd... ah, scatterrrbrrrained, rrright now. Today especially, she's kind of tirrred. Bad drrreams. But this... this is nice, gives herrr a brrreak frrrom herrr thoughts.

So by all means, talk away. If knowing herrr own self is going to be this uphill battle, she'd like to at least know you betterrr.

He smiles and nods.

Mason: Fair enough.

Ah... well, everything's running for the moment. Did you want to go searching today?

Arja: Surrre.

Mason: Alright, well, let's go get our gear, and uh...

... We'll keep talking out there, yeah?

Arja: Sounds good.

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