DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 60: Cafeteria
Get out.
gald_digger wrote in damned
Anise had been lying snug in bed, only vaguely aware that she was awake, when her rest was disturbed by the one sound in the world she'd never wanted to hear again.

"Good morning, everyone!"

The girl's eyes shot open and she immediately sat up straight. There was no doubt about it. That was the Head Doctor, that bastard, and he was back! Now that she was wide awake, Anise realized she was wearing the institute's old uniform again, and that the decorative items in her room had been left alone.

It was hard to contain her frustration at hearing the man run through the breakfast menu as if it were any other day, and she ended up throwing a pillow against a wall before pulling herself out of bed. Didn't Marc get a chance to kill that guy? What about the army? Landel had to have pulled some dirty trick to end up back in the Head Doctor's seat.

Seething was only going to get Anise so far, though, and she knew she'd have to go out and face the day. She wasn't surprised when a clueless nurse came to pick her up, though she wasn't any less annoyed that the hag was carrying on as if nothing had happened. At least she had Tokunaga back with her...

Finally, she reached the Cafeteria, where Anise instinctively moved to line up at the real-food counter... before realizing they weren't divided anymore. More importantly, though, the food looked and smelled not only edible, but delicious. Whatever happened yesterday seemed to be over, thank goodness. She loaded up a plate full of waffles topped with strawberries and made her way over to a seat.

There was a lot to think about, but she needed to take things one at a time. Since she'd gone all of yesterday with nothing to eat but candy and chocolate (something she may not have objected to if she were a little younger), getting some real food into her body was Priority Number One. And Priority Number Two was... oh! Luke had to be around somewhere. He promised he'd meet her that day, so she had to keep an eye out for him!

[for Luke]

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Edgar awoke with a start, the morning routine he'd become accustomed to over the past few days having been changed once again. Gone were the military's announcements, as well as the uniform, replaced with the familiar drab clothing featuring the smiling faces they were expected to wear as happy patients of Landel's Institute. With the soft knock at the door and the nurse's voice coming through to announce the start of breakfast, his suspicions were even further solidified: the military was gone.

He looked to his wrist, a new addition of a band around it only a mild surprise in light of everything else. There had to be a reason they'd backed off, though the announcements at the end of the night had revealed nothing. He pushed his hair from his face. More answers he wouldn't have anytime soon. He was starting to think himself quite the pessimist.

In good news, he felt better than he had in some time; despite the fight with the spiders the night before, that heat wasn't flaring in his veins as it had been the night before. He put a hand to his chest- it seemed any leeway on their powers they'd been granted during the night was gone as well, their magic suppressed. While some would consider it a detriment, Edgar was one who considered it a blessing. If left unchecked, the results of the experiment were likely to overwhelm him, as they nearly had the previous night. He had to learn to manage his abilities- the thought that he was somehow indebted to whatever was keeping the effects of his infusion at bay was maddening.

He pushed a sigh through him as he rose from his bed, taking a quick look in his drawers and closet to check for his items. Those he predicted would be gone were, though there were a few things in place he hadn't expected- the military uniform hung in the closet, as though it was supposed to be there. He said nothing to the nurse about it as he followed her through the Sun Room and into the cafeteria; she prattled on the entire way as if nothing had changed, as though Landel had only been gone for a quick spell and everything had always been as it was.

There was one change for which Edgar was immensely grateful, as he discovered upon entering the cafeteria: the old menu was back, as promised by the announcements. Handed a tray, he stacked it with waffles and found an empty seat. While he had a lot to take in from the night's events and the changes back to the institutionalized way of life, Edgar decided it could wait until he'd had a good meal in him

[Free]

Just like all the other nights before it, Byrne's sixth night in this hellhole came to an abrupt end. At least he and Renamon had actually gotten something done before then, although all the impossibility going on with teleporting and Renamon's fighting skills had threatened to melt his brain the whole time.

Byrne sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes, coming alive much slower this morning than usual. It wasn't until he swung his legs off the bed and set his feet on the floor that he first noticed it. Sweatpants. ...T-shirt? The smiley-face t-shirt? And a wristband? What?

Woah woah woah, hold on a second. That voice over the intercom just now...not Aguilar's or Harrington's? 'Impromptu vacation'... Landel's back?!

His seventh morning in his place, and he was still waking up to something completely unexpected. Even so, the voice and uniform changes weren't entirely convincing, once he'd had a moment to think about it. They'd pulled this sort of trick before, after all. But when that nurse from the first day came in the room and greeted him with the same song and dance he'd been treated to his first day - that sickeningly sweet, possibly recited speech that made her so memorable - the truth was undeniable. Landel was back. Byrne was quick to launch a million questions at the poor woman, and she was just as quick to deny any military nonsense and urge him to go to breakfast.

"Mr. Sullivan, if you don't come along now, the waffles will get cold. Alright?"

The prosecutor smiled weakly. "Uh....one minute, please?"

Journaljournaljournaljournaljournal WHERE IS MY JOURNAL.

The military regime had been going on for so long (or at least, so long to him) that he'd almost forgotten what it had been like to be given leniency when it came to the staff around here. He was merciful enough to only waste a minute with the journal, scribbling down things he'd learned last night before he forgot any of it. Right, that was good enough for now. He could fill in details at dinner, when he had more time. Even the nurse wouldn't wait forever.

With that accomplished, he followed the nurse to the cafeteria with more energy than he'd had in the whole past half week. And for the first time since he'd gotten here, there was something to really be happy about. Waffles. Waffles. They were letting everyone eat real food again. Real food? Seriously? It wasn't like a hologram or something? The pink mush in a sneaky form? No tricks, just actual, legitimate waffles?

...Maybe the prosecutor's heightened mood was thanks to his spending enough time here to finally start toughening up to all of this madness. But damn if waffles didn't do a hell of a good job of cheering him up this morning - something that was shown very unsubtly through a huge grin on his face and an almost ridiculous number of waffles on his plate, all drowning in syrup and butter. Badd was nowhere to be seen when Byrne hunted for a place to sit, but he was sure the grumpy detective was probably just avoiding him again. He'd leave a bulletin note later. For now, he would sit next to this stranger with blond hair. No need to be rude to him - why not start up friendly conversation?

"I don't think I've ever been happier for a meal in this place," the prosecutor said to the man cheerfully.

Edgar couldn't help the smile he wore as he pushed another bite into his mouth, finding himself joined by someone who apparently shared his sentiment for the return of the original menu. While no stranger to traveling food and slim rations, the tasteless gruel had been more than a minor annoyance among many. He leaned on the table on his elbows, more relaxed than he had been in some time. It was strange to think he'd missed the nurses.

Then again, the one that escorted him from place to place was quite fair. Perhaps it wasn't so strange a thought after all.

"I couldn't agree more," Edgar said with a warm grin. "Just the sight of them has me feeling more optimistic than I have in some time. It's amazing what a few days of subsisting on gruel can do for one's mood."

He had another quick bite, bringing the napkin to his mouth before speaking. "I'm Edgar."

Feeling more optimistic from just the sight of the waffles? Boy, did Byrne ever. By the time Edgar introduced himself, the starving prosecutor had already downed three huge bites of waffle and was going in for a fourth. He knew well enough that eating large quantities of food so quickly would probably give him a stomachache later (and not to mention it was bad for the waistline, if all those health reports were to be believed), but honestly? He didn't care right now. He'd gone all day yesterday without eating thanks to the rotting food, and he'd never even had the chance to enjoy the snacks he'd stolen from the Sheriff's Office last night. Now that he finally had good food again for the first time in almost a week, he was going to eat it, damnit!

...But of course, he would stop eating momentarily to introduce himself to Edgar. Otherwise that'd just be rude.

"Byrne Faraday," he replied, still smiling. "I know, I never thought I'd see real food again after days of being forced to eat that stuff." Needless to say, Landel was more likable than Aguilar in Byrne's book now. Both captors were undeniably terrible, but at least Landel gave them delicious waffles instead of...well.

But anyway. "I guess you've been here long enough to know what it was like before the military took over?" he asked, then started on another bite of waffle. At this rate he might have to go back for seconds, if that was allowed.

Bother, typos everywhere.

Edgar's eyes flicked toward the man at one point, noting how many bites he managed to cram into his mouth in quick succession. His smile widened briefly as he recalled a better time, and someone who seemingly ate just as much without a second thought.

He finished his own mouthful before answering the question. "That's right. About two and a half weeks now, if I recall." He masked the apprehension that came with that statement- over two weeks there, and he was no closer to escaping, no closer to finding those who had gone missing. Why had they disappeared, with Locke being replaced entirely, and not him?

Not that he wanted to be brainwashed, but he was admittedly curious. He continued: "Longer than I'd like, but it could always be worse, I suppose."

"Two and a half weeks? Wow," Byrne replied, although there was no cheeriness in his voice when he said it. Two and a half weeks was a long time to him, more than double the length of time he'd been here himself. Though Renamon had said she'd been here for at least three weeks, hadn't she? Were there others who had been here longer? What a scary thought...but anyway. The only thing good about Edgar being here that long was the fact that he (obviously) wasn't dead yet. Nothing else. No one should be kept prisoner in a place like this for so long, no matter how good the food was.

Byrne finally slowed his eating speed - if only because the waffles were half gone now. Might as well make the goodness last a little longer, right? "I've only been here a week, myself," he said between bites, "Came here the day before they took over. I'll never miss 'em." But he had a worried feeling that this wouldn't be the last they would see of the military. It was all too suspicious. After last night and everything else that had happened over the past week, it just seemed too...convenient for the military to just up and disappear so quickly. Didn't it?

Then again, what did he know about what happened last night? What had happened last night? And how did Landel manage to get back into power so fast, anyway? It didn't make any sense. Not that anything else about this institute made sense, but at least nothing had been quite as impossible as what he had witnessed last night. In any case, the thoughts were too heavy to keep to himself now. Byrne swallowed another bite of waffle and turned to look at Edgar, his face a little more serious than before. "You think they'll be back?"

Edgar caught the trepidation on Byrne's face as it was reflected in his tone. "That was the promise made, wasn't it?" But the question was whether or not the military truly would return. In his experience, it wasn't so easy to get rid of those corrupt individuals with power. It only gave them a craving for more.

He took another bite as he thought over his words. "It's not impossible. Whether or not they come back, the patients need to be prepared. If nothing else, the military's involvement made clearer the reasons why we're here. Though the differences in the way each man, the General or the Head Doctor, runs things are marginal..."

He trailed off as he caught sight of a familiar frame seated at a table across the room, blond hair standing out as a bright spot in the room: Terra. Seated next to her was Ryuuzaki. His eyes narrowed only slightly as he recalled Terra's powers from the night before. She did have her magic at Landel's, and was therefore an asset to those looking for such people. Edgar was never clear on Ryuuzaki's true aim, but it was evident he surrounded himself with those he found useful. There was something about that thought that, when it pertained to Terra, made his stomach churn.

"... We're ultimately all prisoners," he finished.

Byrne didn't notice Edgar's brief pause, as he paused himself to take yet another bite of waffle. He still considered the other man's words carefully, though, and nodded in agreement when he finished. We're ultimately all prisoners. Ain't that the truth. It didn't really matter who was in charge, it was still the same messy situation in the end. And whatever happened, if the military came back or not, Edgar was right - the patients needed to be ready for it.

The prosecutor's expression briefly turned grimmer as he thought of the consequences of the military coming back. They might exercise even stricter control over the patients than last time, if whatever had caused that emergency last night was thanks to someone finding a break in the system. Come to think of it, who was responsible for last night, anyway? There had been talk of a traitor the night before last, so maybe they were responsible? Or else Landel did it, or maybe even one of the patients if that were possible? Hm...

"Whether they come back or not, someone was still powerful enough to get rid of them last night," Byrne said, setting his fork down for a minute. The food he'd been shoveling down was finally catching up with him now. Ugh. "Powerful enough to cause that crazy disturbance. Could Landel really have done it himself?" It seemed hard to believe that one guy could kick the military out without some kind of help, even if that one guy was Landel.

Edgar shook his head. "I honestly can't say. We know from the broadcasts that Landel wasn't working alone... but if the rebels were really the boost he needed to regain his position, why haven't their efforts without him been more successful?"

He leaned back in his seat, crossing his arms. As much as he wanted to believe the patients could escape on their own, the truth was becoming more and more evident as the days passed- they would need help from the outside if they wanted to overthrow their captors and regain their freedom. They couldn't give up the fight, but they couldn't win on their own.

That had become perfectly clear given the night prior. Despite having their powers returned, the majority of the patients still seemed to be there; there could have been an uprising of those with strong abilities, but someone had to have caused the disruption that allowed them access to their spells and skills in the first place. If there were any who escaped, they were the lucky ones; the rest, himself included, would have to continue fighting.

With as much good as an uprising could do, the patient body wasn't organized enough for it; it would require full cooperation to find their tactical advantage. Furthermore, his own fight included one for control over the abilities that had been forced onto him by his sleep study. If they were faced with another night like the one before, where whatever was keeping them on a short leash was suddenly gone... He wasn't sure what would happen, but he couldn't even consider the grim alternative of defeat in both mind and body.

[Gaah, sorry this took me so long!]

Byrne shook his head and sighed. Edgar was right. Why haven't these rebels (whoever they are) been more successful? If they did help Landel do whatever he did last night to get back in charge, then why weren't they able to help at least some of the patients escape? Was it some fault of theirs, or was there just something Landel knew that no one else did, like a secret passage into this place or something?

Ugh... Not knowing the answers to any of these questions (or nearly any question about this place period) was beyond infuriating. But at least he was sure that it wasn't impossible to escape. Kay had done it somehow (and Byrne refused to believe otherwise), but then again, that had been just before the military's takeover... Who knew how the security around here might have changed since then?

"I don't know. But something got Landel through last night, whether it was the rebels or not. Maybe he just knows this place better than anyone and could get in that way, or maybe he found a gap in the military's security that we weren't able to find somehow." The last one kind of made a bit of sense. The military were only here for what, five, six days? And Landel was already back in power. A takeover that didn't even last a whole week wasn't a very good takeover, was it? The military must not have been as well prepared as they seemed.

"Or, well, who knows, maybe it's just easier getting in this damn place than it is getting out." Byrne chuckled a bit, though admittedly and unfortunately, that was most likely a true statement.

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