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Nightshift 55: F01-F10 Hallway
savagesolitude wrote in damned
They'd taken her to a new room at dinner. Her roommate wasn't there. Instead, there was an unfamiliar figure wrapped in blankets, seemingly dead to the world.

There had been a box as well. Beside it was her axe, and inside there was her bag and her knife, and her old clothes. Claire had stood in front of it for some time, wide eyed. Anger boiling, scarring her insides. They had it the whole time...they had...

So nothing mattered then. Did it? They knew all along that she had this stuff. They knew she had weapons, that she had gone to Doyleton with Andrew to get them. They knew this whole thing was a stupid joke, and they could take her from wherever she was and drop her wherever they wanted. Could give her stuff from before. Claire had pursed her lips and clenched her fists around the musty flannel shirt. It was all just a joke to them. They had total control of their lives, and they could just...

Shocking how good of a sleeper her new roommate was. Claire could have sworn the fit she had thrown after finding the box would have woken the dead. Her desk lay in splinters, gruel spilled upon the floor amongst the shattered remains of dishes. Even her bed was slashed to ribbons, the knife drawn through the mattress and sheets until it looked as if a wild beast had been set upon it. The box, being metal, was impervious to the axe and the knife. But it did make a rather large dent where Claire had hurled it against the wall.

Now that night had come and the latest ominous message delivered, Claire stood at the ready. She was out of the military uniform, back in her ragged - but familiar - clothes from the island. Her bag slung over one shoulder and axe in hand, she left the room, seething madly.

They had better get something done tonight. Claire had had enough of this.

[To here.]

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The intercom clicked on; Taura listened to the faint hiss with every fiber.  If she'd been the creature many had taken her for, her ears would have twitched.  Ugh.  She wrinkled her nose at that image, after it had clicked back off.  Then the lights followed, and she sprang into action.

The earrings she had tucked into her palm earlier came out, and she pressed them through the half-healed holes. The intercom came back on -- Taura didn't make a sound, even when it would have been lost to all but the keenest ears.  Morgan had claimed to be a pirate; surely a little blood wouldn't have bothered her, but Taura hadn't felt like explaining.  People could be so odd about seeing another person in pain.  A sentiment she wasn't immune to, but this was just two tiny pinpricks,and her reasons were her own  Then she picked up her tools, her yellow eyes gleaming in the dark.  She wouldn't need a flashlight, not when they were headed outside, and that left her hands free.  

The claw wouldn't fit on over the gloves -- Taura considered it, weighing the danger of possible attack against the known cold.  Better travel light.  It went back in the box, and out came the two pieces Cissnei had left behind.  She still didn't know what this little marble could do, but it fit in a pocket, so it came along.  The throwing star did too -- but she was going to need a way to carry it over the wall.  Throwing it over first and scrambling after was a recipe for disaster -- she was going to need a holster.  

The belt would do.  She didn't generally think of her hips as a tactical asset (at least not on this battlefield), but her uniform trousers had no trouble staying put without it.  She poked a few new holes in it with the tip of the star and then started experimenting.  Upper thigh, I think.  It would bang into her arms if she forgot it was there, but she would just have to remember, and this way she wouldn't shred her coat to ribbons if she had to grab it in a hurry.  

"Good luck!" she called out to Morgan, and then she was out the door.  

[to here]

Edited at 2011-04-01 11:17 pm (UTC)

Taura started getting ready as soon as the intercom went quiet; on the other side of the room, Morgan was already underway. She quickly changed into her usual clothes and grabbed her sword--as usual, she'd rather move by the glow of other people's flashlights than waste a hand carrying her own. That and the maps were all she really needed, but at the last minute she ripped a page out of the journal and folded it into the top of her boot along with a pen. She wasn't a big note-taker, but she might run across something worth keeping records of. Keeping her ledger was part of the routine. Doing it made her feel...a little more confident, she guessed. Not that she needed a boost.

Morgan wasn't entirely sure what her plans were. She hadn't agreed to meet up with Guybrush or anyone else, so it would probably be just more exploring. Maybe she'd look around on the second floor this time--there was still plenty up there she hadn't seen. They never had gotten into that staff room. That sounded like a good first stop.

[to here]

Edited at 2011-04-03 11:52 pm (UTC)

There was a katana lying next to Soma's bed.

She hadn't noticed at first when she'd come in. The metal box on her desk had been much more eye-catching, especially since it contained her ring and her gun. The implications of the box itself didn't bother her--so they had decided not to bother with the lie any longer. It was almost a relief. The clothes, too, were a vast improvement; Soma had braided her hair back, put on the gloves, and swapped her dress boots for the sturdier pair she found in her closet.

That was before the glint of her spear caught her eye, and then the katana beside it almost immediately after. It was a familiar weapon--who had had it before? Falis, probably. But the red ribbon tied neatly around the hilt was unmistakable. Soma reached down and touched it carefully. What was this feeling settling into the pit of her stomach?

Surely it didn't mean anything at all. Senna had just managed to get to her room sometime last night and drop it off, that was all. But wouldn't she have left a message? She must have--it must have been confiscated by the military. That was a simple enough explanation. She'd dropped it off and left a message, and Soma could thank her for the weapon tomorrow.

But she tied her braid off with the ribbon anyway, on an impulse. Then she loosened her belt, tucked gun and katana through the loop, and headed out with flashlight and spear in hand. Rapunzel's room was only a short walk away.

Lenalee had been asleep upon Rapunzel's return to her room. Rapunzel had pouted a bit to herself at that; she had been looking forward to getting to know the other girl better, and maybe asking if those dark boots of hers had been found the night before. She had been tempted to wake the girl, and even got as far as poking the girl in the arm lightly and then dashing back behind her own bed. Ultimately, though, she decided that anyone who was able to get anything resembling real rest in this place probably deserved it.

In the meanwhile, she forced herself to down more of that (eeeughh) wonderful food for dinner. She wasn't left alone to her food for long, though. A little ways in to eating, a soldier arrived with two metal boxes in hand; one was deposited on Lenalee's desk; the other was handed right to Rapunzel. Now what could this be, she wondered? Was it supposed to be a gift of some sort? Supplies? A miniature rhinoceros? What?

The answer that greeted her upon opening the box was probably the last thing she would have expected. There was only one thing in her box: a very familiar pink and lavender dress, hand-embroidered with those flowering suns that littered Rapunzel's deepest subconscious memories. She didn't know why it was there, but she was too overjoyed to care about that. Even after only a day and a half, Rapunzel had missed her own clothes dearly. Small hands went to buttons and buckles with nearly enough frantic intensity to tear the fabric of her uniform. Just as well that Lenalee was asleep; she didn't know how comfortable she would have felt changing in front of the other girl (and she did watch over her shoulder to check for sudden waking up, just in case).

Rapunzel was struggling to reach around and do up the last of the buttons on the back of the dress by the time the intercom came back on. She listened to the whole ominous silence, waiting with her stomach twisting into knots with every second that their captor said nothing. It wasn't until the lights snapped off that the address finally began. It wasn't long, but it triggered about exactly the amount of dread Rapunzel figured it had been intended to cause.


The light and warmth that sprouted from the roots of her hair following the announcement did a little to calm her nerves, but it didn't help entirely, if only because the whole experience of watching her hair grow back out so rapidly was itself a little unnerving. She coiled it into a pile the longer it got, leaving it by the side of the bed. Soma would be here pretty quickly, she reminded herself. What would she think of this, Rapunzel wondered. Soma was literally the first person in Rapunzel's entire life who only knew her as a relatively normal person with normal(ish) hair. Would this freak her out? She doubted it; Soma didn't seem easy to freak. But would she be surprised or feel awkward at all? Rapunzel didn't know, but she was kind of curious to find out. Whatever the reaction was, she was hoping it wouldn't get in the way of their plans tonight.

Edited at 2011-04-03 06:41 am (UTC)

[From one thread up]

F2 was easy to find--just down the hall. Soma shifted her spear to the crook of her elbow and knocked firmly.

"Rapunzel? It's Soma."

Rapunzel jumped on the mattress slightly at the knock, still tense from the announcement and the shift to night. She paused, not answering straight away; the anticipation of what Soma would think was killing her. She knew she had to let the girl in sooner or later, though, and sooner was probably a lot better between the two. Taking a breath, she rose from the bed and made her way across the room.

"Hey, Soma!" she answered through the door, holding the handle for a moment. "You can come in. Uh, just promise me one thing." Okay. Deep breath again. Yes. "...Don't freak out?" Again, she didn't think the girl would, but it was better to be safe than sorry, right?

With that, she swung the door open, letting Soma see the swath of hair that lay in her wake.

There was silence from behind the door, and Soma's heart suddenly jumped into her throat. Her nerves were still on edge from the sudden discovery of Senna's katana, and it was stupid of her, but suddenly a hundred possibilities sprang into her mind. What if Rapunzel had been taken for experimentation? Special Counseling? What if she'd been released?

She let out a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding when Rapunzel finally responded, and she allowed herself to relax slightly--until the other girl told her not to freak out.

"Why?" she began, a flicker of worry appearing on her face again as the door swung open. "Is something wro--oh."

She stood silent and wide-eyed for a moment, unsure of what to say or how to respond. How on earth did that happen? She'd heard of patients getting their powers back at night, but their hair? It was well past Rapunzel's ankles now--and it was pooled on the girl's bed--was that even possible--

Marie was quicker to recover than she was, and the immediate It's so beautiful! was enough to return her to her senses somewhat. "That's--" Unbelievable. Ridiculous. Like the fairy tale. "--a lot of hair," she said lamely, and then immediately felt bad about stating the obvious. "It's really pretty," she added quickly, hoping Rapunzel wouldn't take her reaction the wrong way.

That's a lot of hair.

Everyone always said that, it seemed.

"Ah, yeah! Yeah, it is," Rapunzel said with a strained smile, relieved that she had been right about Soma not freaking out, but also feeling incredibly awkward watching her new friend stare at her like she had just seen a unicorn. She knew it - Soma was uncomfortable with this. She should have just told her about the hair to start with, though Rapunzel; it wasn't like the girl had seemed untrustworthy or anything. Was paranoia about people like Gothel betraying her going to keep messing her up for all kinds of personal connections for the rest of her life? Stupid, stupid, stupid—

It's really pretty.


It took Rapunzel a second to process Soma's words, but when she did, a more complete relief washed through her. The other girl had just been overwhelmed. Okay. That was a little easier to take, she thought. "Oh! Uh, thanks," she answered, her smile a bit more at ease now. "It's, uh, actually not even as long as it was back home! It was about double this before. I don't know why they'd bother letting it grow back out if they're not gonna put it all back, but there you go," she rambled, letting words fall out of her mouth while she gathered some more of her thoughts.

She paused then, and started to reel in the hair, gathering it up into her arms with her flashlight still held in one hand. "So... Yeah. I bet you can kinda guess, but this is what the person who kept me in that tower wanted for all those years. This is the thing I thought this place took away from me when I woke up at first, too."

"Really? Is it heavy? How do you keep it from tangling?" Soma's tone of voice was one of faint wonder rather than skepticism. Rapunzel was practically radiating nervousness, and in a situation like this it was easy to push back the lingering doubt of Isn't this more of a liability than a blessing? If the woman Rapunzel had mentioned had kept Rapunzel hidden away for her hair, there had to be something special about it. Landel didn't just take away things that had no value.

She leaned forward to get a better look, curious. Does it do anything? seemed too rude a question to ask. "This place usually takes away what we find valuable--abilities, powers, things like that. You said you could heal, right? I should warn you--if you get your powers back at night, they're usually reduced significantly."

Rapunzel gave Soma a quizzical look at her questions. Of course her hair wasn't heavy, she thought. Should it be? Why would it tangle? It all stayed together easily enough, like fibres of a rope. Didn't that stop most people's hair from tangling?

Then she thought back to when she had first woken up and remembered: hadn't her hair felt a little heavier than she had expected it to? She had gotten used to it since, but now that she thought about it, it was strange. "No, no it's not that heavy... Huh. I wonder if that's just me, then. Is hair suppose to be heavy if there's a lot of it?" Rapunzel asked, honestly curious. "And I never really had to worry about tangles either. Nothing that a hair brush couldn't take care of, anyway."

She really hoped that her abilities weren't just limited to keeping her hair light and tangle-free, if they were indeed "abilities." She supposed the only way to find out whether that was the case or not was to go out and do a test. "That's what I've heard," she answered back after Soma's warning, nodding. "But yes, my hair heals when I sing, actually." Again, she hoped that the revelation didn't throw Soma off too much. "It's, uh, it's simple enough, I think. So here's hoping there's not much they can limit short of just taking that power away." She swallowed a small, dry lump in her throat before it could grow any larger. "I mean, it's worth it to try, right?"

After another awkward silence, she coughed to clear her throat, pulling up the trail of her hair into her arms. "So. Uhhh. You wanna get the door?" she asked with a nervous laugh.

Soma nodded, faint curiosity in her eyes. Having hair that long that could stay that well-behaved was...an interesting special power, she supposed, though she wasn't sure why on earth Landel would see the need to limit it. "I'd imagine it should be a lot heavier than it feels." That, or Rapunzel had neck muscles of steel. "You're lucky--mine tangles all the time after I've flown a mission."

She tilted her head slightly, not comprehending. She'd expected Rapunzel to have some sort of healing ability--like Hinamori's, she supposed, some kind of glowing light that sealed injuries shut. "I'm not sure I understand. Do you have to touch your hair to the wound? Is it just injuries, or can broken things be fixed, too? How severe can the injuries be before they don't heal?" And what sort of injuries did she have to deal with in her own world, if her hair was that long?

Abruptly she realized she was babbling and stopped short, a little embarrassed. "I'm sorry. We can talk on the way to Kratos's room."

She pulled the door open and gestured for Rapunzel to exit ahead of her. Hopefully whatever power she had would still make a difference. Otherwise, there probably wouldn't be much point in Rapunzel keeping it that long.

If the silence across the intercom was supposed to be unnerving, then it soundly failed in its mission when it came to Lightning. She was used to being watched, scrutinized by an entire world who wanted nothing more than to see her... not just no longer breathing, but probably torn apart as well to ensure the state stuck. A pause of eerie nothing, followed by static and a would-be ominous message, was nothing compared to being rounded up and having one of the best military leaders in the world try everything in an attempt to murder you in front of a live broadcast.

Her expression was set as she quickly finished dressing and preparing. As tempted as she was to alter one of the pairs of pants into a form of rough-edged shorts, she wasn't stupid- it was cold, for one, and for another, she definitely hadn't forgotten the monsters she'd run into her second night... and what getting their blood on her skin had resulted in. No, she'd just have to make do with the pants from the grey uniform, tucked into the tops of her boots and strung as tight as possible around her waist.

After some internal debate, she decided to bring the leather jacket with her too- as much as she hated how restrictive the thing was, she wasn't interested in freezing to death, and the coat left over from the hospital facade only seemed worse. It wouldn't tie around her waist very securely, though, so she looped the belt from the cadet uniform through the sleeves and fastened it in place like that. Done.

She shook her hair out, running a gloved hand down her front and then, just because, undid one more button at the bottom of her dress shirt. True, she was probably quite a sight no matter what she did, but in her opinion? It was better than the alternative; the get-up wasn't perfect, but it would have to do.

Taking hold of her lighting device, gripped like a weapon like always, she headed out the door and down the hall.

[ To here. ]

Edited at 2011-04-03 09:13 pm (UTC)

Tifa followed Lightning's lead and began layering her clothing as well. The military-issued shirt was unbuttoned to let her chest breath a little. Then a cotton shirt went over that. Never thought she'd miss that ugly smiley face until it got taken away. At least the bras were better, though. A big coat was next, and now she had pockets for her materia. No more boob stuffing! Tonight was actually looking up.

She emptied out her lock box that the soldiers allowed her, grabbing the ice materia, Yuffie's knife, and the flashlight. The knife couldn't be pocketed without the possibility of stabbing herself, so that meant one hand would be full. With all the snow, Tifa knew the moon's reflection would kick up a lot of light for her out in Doyleton. She need at least one hand free when (not if) the zombies started their munching frenzy.

"Okay, no flashlight." She placed it back and put on her gloves instead. They weren't very thick or even leather, but any kind of cushion was better than nothing. Next time she was anywhere near a kitchen or the art room, she'd take a scissor to the fingers. All that was left was to activate the ring and wish her roommate good luck. Tifa feared she would need the luck more than Lightning, though. Going to Doyleton all by her herself was a stupid idea, but she wanted to have something to show for all this tedious work, and the sooner she did it, the sooner she could get back. Hoofing it seemed the most realistic outcome. Booo! If this became habit, she would have to find someone who can hot wire a car.

"Onward and upward then." Sticking close to the wall, Tifa decided to smack the ring instead of punching it this time. It took two whacks, but once the ring broke, the familiar wash of nausea hit her hard.

[To here!]

Now that it was officially confirmed that they were being messed with—their formerly secret stuff having been delivered in a box—there was no reason to hide it.

—Or that would have been a good observation if it had been their choice for the stuff to be taken away in the first place.

Mele changed quickly (good-bye, you stupid hat), hesitated over knife and ring, then decided to go without. She'd never needed the knife before; no reason to want it along this time. And the ring was broken and she hadn't seen Yakitori in a while so she couldn't even ask him what the thing was all about.

At least Soma had a dangerous-looking weapon; Mele probably didn't have to worry on that front. Not that Mele worried about anyone but herself and Rio, nope, not at all. ... She was going to stop thinking about this and step into the next hall now.

[to here]

Edited at 2011-04-09 12:02 am (UTC)

Dinner had been that same tasteless plebeian slop as lunch and Franziska was beginning to realize she'd have to deal with this endlessly until she moved up in rank. That was exactly what the military goons running this place wanted her to think and feel, however, and she found herself between a rock and a hard place in deciding what to do. Did she give in to them and play their game or did she hold on to stubborn pride and continue eating disgusting pink goo unsuited for a woman of her stature?

This line of questioning was useless.

When her roommate left for the night, Franziska got up and began looking for her things. She'd noticed at dinner that they were missing, but there was a metal box in their place. The box revealed all the things she'd been hiding, which was a bit disturbing to think about. The military knew what they had and they were willing to root about in a person's personal possessions in order to gather them up like this. Wonderful. Now nothing was sacred.

At least her notes were still in order and her dog leash was there. With them were the things she'd received from Taura and...

Franziska's heart fell when she saw a familiar uniform in there. It wasn't hers, but her fathers and the military had apparently seen fit to finally transfer those things over to her. Next of kin, was it? It was normal procedure and yet it unexpectedly struck Franziska across the face. His personal effects now belonged to her as his next of kin - as if he were dead.

The metal creaked under the pressure of her fingers gripping the edge of the box and she grabbed her flashlight and her dog leash before dropping the lid back in place. She would deal with this later. Some far away later date when it didn't feel like such a wound in her side - or not her side, somewhere else. The Americans had a saying for it, but she wasn't going to think of what it was.

For now she had to do things, something, anything, to get away from the box and what was now hidden inside.

Turning away, Franziska stalked out of the room and headed down the hall.

Once dinner was over, Sakura was only too happy to change out of her uniform and into her clothing from home. Only... it wasn't in her drawer. Nothing was where it should be, as a matter of fact. No hand-axe, no kunai, no medical supplies or razor blades, it was all gone. Her lips formed a thin line as she threw her hat to the ground and unbuttoned a few of the uniform's shirt front buttons. This was ridiculous.

There was even a box with her name and where her items should have been, there was only the trinket they'd picked up last night. The oddly shaped shield that the riddle-monster in the basement had left for them. It looked pretty useless, but she picked it up anyway; Sasuke had asked about it earlier so he'd probably be glad that it had at least made it, despite the institute's attempts to steal her things. Why the hell they saw fit to give her back her clothes and let her ferret things away only to take them tonight... it made no sense.

Frowning, she grabbed a flashlight and started out the door. At least she had a decent pair of gloves to hit things with, even if she hadn't worn them in properly yet.

[to here]

Well, the day had definitely ended up on a far different note than Lion was expecting. That meeting with Erika... She had begun to wonder what sort of events will come from it. The detective was, no doubt, bent on revealing her role in the gameboard's story; and did she want her to? Not quite. Definitely not before Lion could have any words with Battler, who she favored far more when it came to any sort of revealing behind the truth. Because... how was it that Will usually put it? Right-- because Erika had no heart. She wasn't different from Bernkastel in that aspect, who had been bent on setting the truth on the table while destroying any love the story had.

What was done was done, though. Erika may have started to put the pieces together, but Lion knew she wouldn't be figuring it all out so easily. While perhaps the meeting hadn't gone entirely in her favor, as it were there was little to worry about.

Lion was placed into a room after that, as expected; she couldn't remember if it were the exact one she woke up in earlier that morning, but it had mattered little as the one she entered into again was set up the same. And dinner was... still that disgusting looking excuse for food. It was cringeworthy, that slop-- this had better only been temporary (still more punishment for whatever had transpired the day prior, she hoped), because there was no way they intended to keep serving that. It was almost degrating. But Lion couldn't stay exasperated for long, especially after rummaging around the room she was in a little, as suggested by Peter earlier that day. Under the flashlight was a pillow he said, because the lights go out during the night. And in the drawer-- a journal, some pens, and--

Something small and silver, sitting alone in the corner. And Lion picked it up, because not only in that second before she did were it out of place and yet familiar it was--

The ring of the Head, the one she had always worn on her finger. Lion was surprised to see it here, especially since she had gone most of the day feeling guilty it had been gone at all. Following that, though, it was definitely a relief to see it... At the very least, it was one important thing she were able to hold on to. Someone out there must have been feeling generous, and for that she could be a little grateful for. So, as if it had never disappeared at all, Lion slid the ring back into its proper place.

Yet the minutes ticked away and eventually, as told, the lights had been cut short. A sinister sounding announcement came not long after, but that much hadn't been surprising; they sounded as much all day. And so... Well, this was it. The night where they were free to roam and explore as needed, with the risk of running into monsters. Lion had nothing for herself except the flashlight. ...But she couldn't just stay behind in the room because of that. To sit back and do nothing at all-- she couldn't accept doing that.

Maybe she'd get lucky. Who was to say?

[/shoves here]

Edited at 2011-04-12 08:37 am (UTC)

All in all, though appearances might have undergone a drastic change, the dull nature of a day in Landel’s Institute hadn’t. They had bluster, these soldiers, but not a hard touch. Routines had gone on much the same as they had under nurse supervision, and from what Yomi had seen, punishments had been bordering on slaps to the wrist. A little intimidation, a little cleaning and standing around… Surely this place’s military had more in them than that.

It almost made her want to laugh, imagining what the endgame could be like if this endless drudgery was the worst the prisoners were going to receive. But then she remembered how unpredictable the rules of the game could be, and her black amusement always abated somewhat. Somewhat. Seeing the box with her acquired items inside and her arsenal restored to her side of the cell again was as blatant a challenge as anything.

Her imprisonment was part of a game for keeps, one way or another. Oh, she would play, all right; this Aguilar didn’t need to invite her to do that. Someone or something was standing in her way, and the only acceptable response to such an obstacle was to go through it. Cause and effect, the theme of the night.

[to here]

Edited at 2011-04-20 05:20 am (UTC)

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