DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 54: Breakfast
animated
arc_wrench wrote in damned
For once, HK was working very hard to hide a giddy facial expression as he met his nurse at the door. He'd already hidden his scalpels in his clothing. The wonderful, sharp implements of doom would be needed today. “Statement: Despite my reticence towards all processed meat and plant products, I am experiencing intolerable levels of hunger,” he informed his nurse. “I require an especially large meal.”

It was the easiest and best excuse to load his food tray with several of these 'inglish muffin sandwiches', and two glasses of white milk. He then found a table strategically located in the center of the refueling area, and waited. He needed the room as full as possible before the Evil Plan could begin.

[Free, but planning doom upon all.]

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Edgar scratched his head, wondering how in the world he could have accomplished so little in an evening. The night had seemed so short, too- after making one last-minute adjustment to his Spinning Cutter, he'd set out for the second floor, determined to retrieve batteries and the last piece he needed for the construction. So much for determination: he didn't make it far after the radio announcement in the middle of the night. If Locke ever heard of this embarrassment, Edgar was sure he'd never live it down.

On the subject of Locke, it seemed there was still no word from the treasure hunter on the board, nor did Edgar see him wandering toward the cafeteria. A few notes did catch his eye- at least some people appeared to be having luck getting information. Edgar decided taking a few notes would have to wait for later; his nurse was giving him a stern look, and the man behind her an even worse one.

Edgar kept his eyes on the strangers while collecting food for the morning. This had to have been what Landel was talking about the night before, though it was curious that they appeared to make even the nursemaids nervous. Landel had warned the patients to be on their best behavior, quickly excusing it as for their own good. Was it that he wasn't in control of this 'Eagle'? Or that he was a lackey for him?

As much as the thought of Landel being an underling amused Edgar, he couldn't let it put him at ease: after all, Kefka had once been someone's subordinate. The position made those already lusting for power even more desperate... and dangerous.

[Free & unlikely to participate in the hurling of food]

Shinji was still dazed after the events of last night. It was all half-remembered, like a dream - but hadn't this whole facility been a part of a dream? Or had his other lives been phantoms? He was even more confused then before, if also somehow calmer. If this wasn't real, it didn't matter. None of it mattered. He'd collected his food as always - and as usual the nurse had ushered him to a table with a strange person and told him to sit, converse and make friends.

He hated how awkward he felt every time it happened. But he didn't really have a choice - the nurse was eying him from across the crowded room and he sighed as he started to slowly dig into his food - the man across the table looked pleasant enough. He shook off the feeling of still being asleep (he might be) and raised his eyes enough to catch his attention before glancing away. He hated doing this.

"G-good morning."

It wasn't long before Edgar found himself joined by a teen, a timid one based on his hesitant greeting. Not everyone was willing to greet strangers out of curiosity or necessity; the nurses often encouraged interaction and were unwilling to accept refusal. He was grateful he'd outgrown any shyness in his personality long ago- not only would it be unfitting for a king to avoid eye contact while in conversation, but it would have made his time at Landel's even more trying. The nights were quite enough themselves.

"Good morning," Edgar returned with a smile, preparing to spread jam on his muffin. Better get the introductions over with. "I'm Edgar and apparently your assigned partner for this meal. Those nurses certainly are eager to throw us at one another, aren't they?"

"Yeah..." Shinji prodded at his food uncertainly. His appetite seemed to had returned, even if he wasn't sure about what was real and what wasn't. He shoveled a bit of food into his mouth, chewed and swallowed. If this was a dream, it didn't feel like one. Then again, neither had anything last night.

"Oh, um, I'm Shinji. Shinji Ikari." He remembered his manners and introduced himself - although he wasn't so sure about that either. Those other memories and half-remembered images nagged at him, tugged at his self-control and sense of self. It was disconcerting, to say the least.

"Nice to meet you," he finally offered with a shy smile. Edgar seemed friendly enough.

Edgar nodded, swallowing his bite. "Same to you, though I wish any meeting could have been under better circumstances."

His head resting on his hand casually, he kept a watchful eye on the strangers and the nurses scattered throughout the room- it was far quieter than it usually was during the morning hours as each person adjusted to the day's changes. The tension could be felt through the room as other patients took in the appearance of the dark-clad officials: some with apprehension, others with curiosity, and a notable few looking eager to test the boundaries of Landel's warning.

"I'm guessing you've got no more information on these recent additions to the staff than anyone else," Edgar added, wondering if he'd missed a late announcement in the night somehow. With as much of a blur as it was, he wouldn't be entirely surprised. "I wonder how long people will actually behave. It sounded more like an invitation than a warning. Someone is bound to take it."

Shinji shook his head, starting to feel a bit more at ease; for some reason, the idea that this was all just an elaborate dream made him feel a bit better. No consequences, right? "I... I don't know."

He shrugged awkwardly, "...they took me last night, so... um..."

If they'd said anything, he didn't know. Funnily enough, he couldn't remember much of it. A sense of unreality, of not belonging, of drifting from dream to dream - although if this was a dream and not real, what had been real last night? Dreams within dreams within dreams?

"Who do you think they are?"

Now there was something Edgar hadn't expected to hear: Shinji was one of those chosen for the infamous sleep studies. As eager as he was to learn anything he could of what Landel did behind closed doors, he could tell it wasn't an issue to press at the moment. If the rumors of experimentation had any validity- and given the rest of the institute, Edgar had no doubt they did- then what had happened had to have been traumatic. It was a conversation for another time.

Edgar nodded apologetically. He answered after a moment: "I assume they were sent by this 'Eagle' Landel mentioned last night, though it could just be a ruse. I tried to ask a few questions earlier, but the nurse wouldn't hear my usual advances this morning. They've got the staff on edge, whoever they are."

He waited again, watching a few more stragglers make their way into the mess hall before his eyes settled again on the youth before him. He found a question that seemed harmless enough: "Are you all right?"

"Yeah..." Shinji agreed. The staff did seem a bit more on edge then usual - although, honestly, he'd never followed that. He'd just done what he was told, eaten when he was told to eat and gone where he was supposed to. Disobeying the staff had never really crossed his mind as being effective or desirable. Wasn't it better to cooperate? They usually left him alone after all.

Edgar's question brought forth a flush on his cheeks and some slightly awkward squirming. Why was he concerned with Shinji? He wasn't that important. Besides, he thought he felt alright. If this was a dream, after all... Well, none of it mattered if this was the dream.

"...y-yeah, I'm fine. It was... just..."

He searched for a word and settled on one that seemed to fit. "...odd."

"Odd?" Edgar returned, unsure of how to take the description; however, there were probably several good reasons Shinji didn't go into any further details. Hopefully, he'd find someone he could confide in.

Edgar had hoped to see what else he could learn about the youth, but paused as a patient across the room started yelling before he hurled a muffin as far as he could. Apparently, someone had decided to take Landel's invitation. It wouldn't have been much of a disturbance if others hadn't joined him: first one jumped at the chance, then another, then a face or two he'd seen before. It was an unorganized riot- one that wouldn't end well, if the new guards had anything to say about it. It didn't take long for them to reach for their weapons and move into the fray.

An orange landed heavily on the table near them- too close for comfort, especially when he wouldn't be able to wash the mess from his hair until the next shower shift. Having chicken thrown at the back of his head once was one too many times already. At least Celes wasn't there to target him directly.

Edgar quickly cleared his tray of his plate and glass, preparing to use it as a shield if necessary. His timing was convenient as another muffin came their way. Blocking the projectile, he called to Shinji over the rising commotion: "Watch out!"

Shinji yelped as everything went to Hell around him. It was mass confusion and Shinji suddenly felt very, very lost. It was almost absurd - things like this only happened in films, right? This had to be a dream. Had to be. Mass food fights didn't happen in real life. He let out a nervous little laugh. Then another.

Then he ducked an orange quarter that came cartwheeling out from the melee to splatter against the table beyond him. "What's going on?"

Well, that was obvious. He just felt the burning need to ask that question. He scrambled under the table for cover, watching with wide eyes as the guards and orderlies waded into the melee.

"That's what I'd like to know," Edgar muttered, shifting to the side as a fork flew past his shoulder. "It looks like someone wants to see whether or not Landel's warning was serious." He spotted Shinji taking cover under the table- it was probably a smarter move than standing in the fray, admittedly.

Edgar considered for a moment asking someone if they could finish their meal elsewhere, but found his attention drawn toward the chaos again: the patients who had attacked the nurses were now facing the new guards, and they were far less forgiving than the usual staff. Some patients were sedated, held down as nurses approached them with needles; however, others were shoved harshly by the armed orderlies, who made it clear through violence that they wouldn't tolerate the uprising.

Outside of the fighting were those trying to leave, presumably to either take advantage of the situation and explore during the day, or to simply to get out of the way. A couple made it into the Sun Room, though Edgar could see through the open doors as they were met with passing staff.

There was a near miss as a glass of orange juice splashed near their table. The situation didn't seem to be getting any better, he couldn't leave Shinji there, and getting juice in his hair would be torture. Edgar knelt, keeping an eye on the pair in the doorway as he pushed a chair aside. "Those attacking the staff are being restrained and attacked by the new guards..." He looked over the table again, shaking his head and lowering his voice as he continued: "And from the look of it, it's only going to get worse. We might be able to convince the nurses to let us into the Sun Room."

That certainly sounded like a much better plan then hiding under a table. He crawled out from under the table, ducking a flying roll. He bit his lip, apparently frozen into indecision. Moving would be nice - it'd be good to get out of here, out of the chaos. At the same time, what if they got in trouble? But the risks didn't seem too big. "I... Well, alright."

He reluctantly began to thread his way toward the door, pausing to make sure that Edgar was following him. Or at least walking with him. He didn't want to leave the older man behind and his presence was a bit reassuring; he seemed nice.

Edgar was right behind Shinji, keeping his tray in hand to block any flying food coming their way. He caught sight of people heading through the door to the courtyard- and beyond them were more guards. Had Landel expected this much trouble? Or was this "Eagle" just that thorough? Either way, the guards clearly meant business.

A nurse stood between them and the Sun Room, her attention divided between dealing with patients and being hassled by the Eagle's men. Edgar went to approach her first. She turned sharply as he put his hand on her shoulder, waving her clipboard at him. "Mr. March. And just where do you think you're headed with Sean?"

Edgar put his hands up, showing her his battered tray, the jam from the muffin he'd deflected earlier still clinging to one side. "Trying to escape this mess, milady. You have my word we had nothing to do with this, as it's clearly not conducive to our rehabilitation."

She looked him up and down, then decided that even if they'd had something to do with the fight, they were still being less of a hassle than the officials. "All right. You're both to stay in here for the remainder of the shift." With that, she stepped aside, returning her attention to more pressing matters.

Edgar ran a hand through his hair, checking for any stray bits of food that might have landed in it. Save for a few crumbs, he'd escaped relatively unscathed. The situation in the next room seemed to be elevating as more guards entered the cafeteria. "Never a dull moment here, that's for certain. I can't imagine those weapons they're carrying are for our health and safety, either."

Shinji stayed right behind Edgar the whole way there, peeking out from behind him at the nurse with an expression of dull confusion. This had to be dream. Or some of it was. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe this was real - but what about all he'd seen and experienced last night? Was this drea mor reality? Did it matter in the end? Maybe he should just go with what made him happy - but wouldn't that be selfish? Shouldn't he want to make others happy? He felt so confused.

At least they'd made it to the Sunroom, though. And from the sounds of it, not a moment too soon. "No... I..."

He shrugged and murmured, "...weapons usually means people are getting hurt."

"Unfortunately, that's often the case," Edgar said after a moment, watching as the guards were now insisting the nurses vacate the area. What were they up to? "But that's the nature of most weapons. Some have other practical applications, but even when you're using a weapon to protect something- whether it's your home, your friends, or yourself- it's likely someone is going to be hurt in the end."

Edgar sighed. It was a reality everyone had to face eventually. There was always going to be someone who wanted more, who couldn't just be happy with peace or prosperity. Even he had to admit he felt it at times, that niggling thought he could be doing more; however, he could see when he was out of line. That was the difference. There were too many people who put their own ambitions before the actual needs of themselves and those who depended on them.

With the last of the nurses finally leaving the room, the guards closed the doors. Edgar raised an eyebrow as the sound of coughing and hacking came from the adjacent room. A nearby nurse attempted to argue with one of the dark-clad officials, insisting that the measures taken were too extreme. The soldier seemed to ignore her.

"One moment," Edgar said to Shinji, approaching the nurse. "Pardon my intrusion, but what's going on in there?"

The nurse shook her head, still irritable from the situation. "Nothing you need to concern yourself with. Please stay back and let us take care of this."

Edgar stepped back. As usual, getting a straightforward answer wouldn't be easy. He put a hand to his chin. "Coughing... It can't be gas. I can't imagine they would use such a thing on an entire room of patients, especially if they're trying to keep up the facade during the day." On the other hand, there had been a food fight and this was an institution that had proven itself no stranger to torture. Using a chemical weapon on a room full of innocents to take out a few rioters shouldn't have come as a surprising tactic.

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