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Day 32: Sun Room (4th Shift)
Now it's time
screwthegods wrote in damned
It was rare that Homura's nurse try to persuade him to a scheduled activity, but then, it was rare that Homura didn't go. But the demi-god had plans, and the poor woman had little other choice but to leave in a huff as he once again settled himself near the bulletin board in the Sun Room.

His conversation with Kenren the previous shift had left the demi-god with a lingering sense of anxiety. Perhaps it was something only those from his own world could do, but none the less, he was all the more ready for night to begin now. Goals and memories, the truth of his past and the possibility of the future: all thoughts lingering on the forefront of his mind, more than enough motivation to move forward.

Impatience was something of a rush for an immortal, he'd discovered. Homura liked the feeling, the excitement even before he had arrived in this prison. And now while he waited, he savored it again, a yearning that shone so much brighter than the boredom of Heaven.

[Waiting for History Club Q&A time.]

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That had been an interesting lunch, even if the food was lacking. Miles wasn't in the mood to go to the music room, and had once again failed to persuade his nurse to let him to go to the library instead. He settled for the Sun Room, taking a seat in a large chair, again near a window.

He yawned a bit, stretching his arms above his head. What he wouldn't give for tea at the moment. He considered asking, but had the feeling the request, as reasonable as it was, would once again be refused.

It seemed that the room was quiet, at least. It was fine with him, though if anyone needed information, or if one of his...it was still hard to think of people here as friends. Acquaintances? Allies? Those were better words, and if any of them wanted to chat, it would also be fine, even welcomed.

The music room seemed like it could be rather crowded, something which Allelujah did not want to deal with at the moment, not after his conversation with that girl had left him so on edge. She'd known. Somehow she'd known about him, about what he was. Left him feeling vulnerable like he hadn't in a long while. It was much more difficult to feel vulnerable when you had sheets of reinforced metal between you and the other person.

He wandered into the Sun Room, looking around for any of the people who had offered to meet him. He had little idea who he was looking for. It was difficult to recognise them only from the sparse descriptions on the bulletin board. But after a few moments he spotted someone who might be one of them. If not, he could just apologise and go elsewhere. But it was worth a try, even if he wasn't entirely certain about whether he could trust anything anyone said.

He approached the man with a tentative smile. "Mr Edgeworth?" he asked quietly.

"I am," Edgeworth said, turning to face the young man. He frowned for a moment - he wasn't usually bad with names, but for whatever reason, he couldn't place the name. He scoured his memory banks carefully, but failed to come up with it.

"We've been conversing via the bulletin, haven't we? You'll have to forgive me for not remembering your name, because there have been quite a few people I've been speaking with lately," he said, standing up and extending a hand.

"Has the place been treating you well so far?"

Ah good. It was the right person. That was a relief at least. He was one of the people for the... 'History Club'. That's what it had been hadn't it? He nodded in agreement when the man placed him as a person from the bulletin. "Yes. I'm called Allelujah Haptism. I was asking if people had heard about the various political entities where I'm from." That was one thing which leant credence to the idea that people were from different 'worlds'. Even if people were insane, surely at least some of them would know the year and recognise the major world powers. And it was inevitable that many of them would have recognised the name Celestial Being.

He took the man's hand, shaking it firmly when it was offered."It's quite alright for not remembering. It seems to receive a lot of traffic and one name is easy to overlook." And he hadn't exactly gone out of his way to make it obvious.

He glanced around the room, a faint smile on his lips at that question. "It's interesting," he replied. "Everyone has told me things that sound utterly unbelievable, but so many stories correlating seems impossible to deny. Unless there's something in the food...

"Ah! Yes, I remember now. Very nice to meet you, Allelujah." He smiled. It's very refreshing to know that younger people these days are so interested in political affairs," Edgeworth said, settling back into his chair. "You get so many today who could care less about it." He shook his head.

"Interesting? That is one way to put it, I suppose. Though daytime is relatively quiet. It's the night you need to be worried about - though it seems you've heard as much already. It does seem quite unbelievable at first. I must admit, I didn't believe until I saw...things." The prosecutor frowned at the thought.

"So, what would you like to know regarding the History Club?"

Allelujah's smile faded for a brief moment before returning as he nodded. "Yes, I've picked up some knowledge about world affairs in the last few years," he said. "Especially recently, lots of things have been changing in my... my world." He was not happy to be saying that. It sounded ridiculous. And now he needed to think what he could say if Edgeworth delved deeper into why he knew about politics. 'International terrorist' probably wasn't a good idea.

"People have been quite generous about telling me about this place. I still want to see this night time for myself though, I must admit." But Edgeworth seemed to be a rational man, more lucid than someone who was insane should be, although then again, Allelujah was hardly the picture of sanity, but he was lucid.

"I'm curious about what kind of goals you have and how you go about things. I understand it looks for strong combatants over all else."

Edgeworth nodded. "I see. I take it that even in the future, we can't simply settle down." While he was certainly curious about what was going on in - what year had Allelujah mentioned, 2300? - particularly what was happening with the legal system, he sensed some reluctance.

"We're in the fourth shift of the day now. Dinner is in our rooms, with our roommates, then all the lights go out. The real face of this place shows itself then," he began, a serious look on his face. "It's best not to go out alone. It probably seems paranoid of me to say that, but I've been attacked more than once."

Shifting subjects again, Edgeworth launched into the standard explanation of what was going on. "While our leadership does tend to look for well-trained fighters, there is a place for those who prefer a more strategic position. There are people doing reconnaissance on the institute, gathering materials for weapons, and assisting with map-making. And the goal?"

There was that signature smirk on Edgeworth's face - the one he always seemed to show when the idea of prosecuting a criminal trial came up. "We wish to see the person behind this institute brought to justice. If possible, I plan to personally prosecute the case, though if the man dies before I can do so, I've no intention of pressing charges against the person responsible."

Allelujah shook his head a little wistfully. "No. It doesn't seem that way. The last year has seen a lot of conflict." And even when given the opportunity and incentive to stop, they just wouldn't take it! They could have stopped when Celestial Being attacked, but they only continued with their wars. Not that he was convinced Celestial Being's plans were entirely benevolent.

So, five shifts before night came. But a roommate? That could be bad depending on who the other person was. He'd have to tread carefully. "I'll bear that in mind," Allelujah agreed, although he had little intention of not going out if this was true. He'd killed before without a Gundam, he could do so again.

He listened politely to Edgeworth's explanation. So, something for everyone. "That seems like a very organised way of going about things. And weapons? You can get weapons here?" That was something to remember. If he could get a knife then he would be well prepared.

He smiled slightly at Edgeworth's desire. If this was the truth of the place, then he could agree with that sentiment. Allelujah hated this kind of environment and surely it amounted to a war inciting action to kidnap so many people. "A shame that Celestial Being apparently is unknown here. They intervene in things that might cause war. This probably counts. Not that most people think their methods are right."

Even in Edgeworth's own time, the world seemed to have been turned upside down overnight - if nothing else, his own view of things had been radically changed. "It's a sad thing, that."

"Indeed, it is well-organized. The two leaders of the Club have done a good job with that; we're organized according to our strengths. A weaker fighter, such as myself, is generally part of a team that includes someone stronger. Likewise, we're organized in terms of getting weaponry made. We're working with someone in order to get them done faster, though there are other people capable of weaponry. The bulletin board is the best place to ask about that, though I imagine there is something of a wait time, considering the little problem of nightfall."

He listened to what Allelujah had to say regarding the group he was involved with. "Celestial Being, eh?" An organization that intervened in war. Now that was interesting. "Not all new methods are accepted as being correct in the beginning. As I've mentioned before, I work in law, and when the legal system first changed, people protested. Over the years, however, they have seen how quickly the three-day trial system works, and have grown to support it." Never mind that some of those defendants may have been innocent - it made him feel ill to think about that too much.

"I suspect that in time, people will come around. After all, your goal is a noble one." It certainly seemed that way. It was a shame they didn't seem to be well-respected.

"Yes," Allelujah agreed. "There's a lot of people who get hurt because of it." And a lot of people who were forced into warfare who he'd had to take care of, even if they had been children.

So, a system of backups. Warriors with those who had other skills to support them. Like Sumeragi and the Ptolemaios crew had been to the Gundam Meisters. "I see. How are these weapons made?" He'd have to take a look at that. If he could get a gun or even a good knife it would make himself feel better. Until other people were involved at least. It sounded like someone was involved in creating them, so more than cutlery or makeshift equipment. But how was that possible?

How possible is this entire place?

Allelujah nodded solemnly at the other man's words, forcing down Hallelujah's derisive snort. It was odd to hear someone in support of them besides the rest of those involved, but then, this man hadn;t been there, hadn't seen anything. How different would his opinion be then? "It hasn't shown any sign of changing opinions yet, although there are those who support Celestial Being's actions. "Noble? I don't know that I've heard it called that before." They were all mass-murderers in the end, and none of them were doing it because of the nobility of the cause.

"That, my friend, is an understatement. It was General Sherman back in the American Civil War of the 1800s who said 'War is hell', after all," Edgeworth said, nodding to punctuate the sentence. "And though I've not personally been involved in one, from what I've seen, I tend to agree with the man."

He settled further back into his chair, staring out the window for a moment. "I've heard people mention a process called alchemy used for weapon-making, though I don't know if it's the same as changing lead into gold." He laughed derisively, adding, "I honestly expect it's a matter of who's been trained in weaponsmithing and where they're hiding their equipment."

Edgeworth frowned at hearing that the cause hadn't been called noble, the frown spreading up into his eyes and dimming them. "I'm surprised the term hasn't been used. How is promoting the cessation of war anything but?" It was a simple, black-and-white matter, in his opinion. War was a power struggle, one that often turned ugly; peace was the most high goal a person could have.

"Ah, I suppose so," Allelujah replied, smiling with a sort of sad amusement. Warfare had just been a fact of life for him for all of his life since he'd been in Celestial Being. "I meant even those who are outside the actual fighting." All of those children who he'd killed...

"How would they find smithing equipment here though?" he asked. Hospitals never carried such heavy machinery in his experience. He had a lot of experience. "But alchemy? That's..." He wanted to say impossible, but everything else here was impossible too from what he'd heard. It made the situation at home seem positively simple.

He felt himself tense when Edgeworth's expression darkened, used to being around dangerous people where that kind of expression meant violence. "Too many people died. There have been protests against us. A terrorist group began bombings to try to get us to stop." His smile turned nasty for a second, cruel as he looked down at his knees. "The bitch governments wanted out help then, once they were threatened."

Halleljuah! Stop!

He looked back up, smiling awkwardly, apologetically. "When I woke up here we'd just repelled an alliance of the three major powers under the banner of the UN." And Lockon had died. He felt like he should say something, to make sure that he was remembered, but what could he say to stranger?

"It's a shame that wars always have civilian casualties," Edgeworth said, frowning. "I suppose it can't be helped, but it's still an incredible shame."

At the next question, he folded his arms, smiling a bit. "It's more likely than any kind of alchemy I could think of. And you'd be surprised what people can come up with when pressed." Now that he thought about it, it was surprising that he hadn't seen more people with makeshift weapons of sorts - pots and pans from the kitchen? The thought was as sad as it was amusing.

What was...that change? That was the kind of smile a guilty defendant with no shame would have, the kind he'd seen over and over again across courtrooms. It faded as quickly as it appeared, the words losing their harshness. Sedatives? Drugs? That wouldn't have such a transient effect... He nodded along with the first sentence, frowning again at the sudden change.

"Ah, yes - the European Union, the American Union, and what was the other you'd mentioned, the Reformation League? My, the world changed. At least the UN is still there. A peacekeeping mission of sorts, I presume?"

"Children and those who can't defend themselves. They're always the ones who are hurt most," Allelujah agreed. But Celestial Being wasn't so much better. Setsuna was still a kid, even if he'd been chosen by Veda, and Allelujah had been younger than that when he'd been taken in by them. Even Lockon, who seemed so much older at times, was still little more than a child in comparison to most soldiers.

"I suppose so. I've never even heard of alchemy. Not really." Maybe a couple of mentions in some of the books he'd read. Brief mentions in fiction so he wasn't toally clueless about it, but he'd very little idea about it beyond those few mentions. His education hadn't exactly covered things like that.

His smile faded a little when he saw Edgeworth's expression, cursing his other half. They didn't need to alienate people here! Not before they could get out. He did take the change of topic gladly though, glad to have something to hopefully distract the other man for a while. "The Human Reform League," he corrected. "China, Korea, Asian Russia, India. And most of the smaller Asian countries too. They control one of the Orbital Elevators." And that colony which made him sick to even think of. "And yes, the UN still exists. I suppose it could be called a peacekeeping mission. They united to destroy us."

Edgeworth nodded in agreement, carefully watching for that change in expression and voice as he did. "Indeed," he said, a serious look on his face. "You see all the things on television...it's enough to make anyone want to put a stop to it."

He propped his head on one hand, thinking of how best to explain it. "Alchemy, as I understand it from history classes, is something of a forerunner to modern chemistry. However, unlike modern chemistry, it largely focused on doing the impossible - the classic example is turning lead into gold." He smirked a bit. "It fell out of favor, setting chemistry back along with it, when an overachieving alchemist promised a king a fortune and couldn't deliver."

Orbital elevator?Edgeworth raised an eyebrow, curious. "Can you explain what exactly an orbital elevator is? I assume it's used for space travel?"

That frown appeared on his face again. "It's hard to believe...the lengths that people will go to for power." He shook his head, brushing hair out of his eyes.

He'd seen a lot of it up close but that was too much personal information too soon. Even the Meisters had only been told out of necessity, and reluctantly at that. He'd made it too obvious that that mission was personal to not give them an explanation. "And sometimes the governments seem unwilling to even acknowledge a problem. They could have done something about so much of it." It had been truly galling when the Human Reform League had expressed their horror at the Super Soldier programme when they'd been the ones to create and fund it.

So that was alchemy? "It sounds very archaic. I think I've only seen the word used in fiction before." He shrugged, a little embarrassed. "I didn't get much chance to study history when I was young." That should explain his lack of knowledge about so many things that people took for granted. What history he did know was mostly in relation to warfare.

He bit his lip, thinking of how best to explain such a massive structure. "It's a super structure," he began. "I'm not an engineer so I don't know the fine detail about it. It's like a giant tower, I suppose, reaching from the Earth;s surface into space to hold up the solar generators that are the main source of power. There's a sort of train inside though, which takes people and cargo up to the stations in orbit and to the colonies in orbit." It was something that was so utterly everyday to him, that it seemed strange to have to explain it. They were very impressive up close though, he had to admit.

"They united for something though. Maybe that is a start."

"Some people are trying to change things - at least, in my time." That was the easiest explanation, and the reason Edgeworth had left the prosecutor's office for good after his last trial. He needed to improve his skills, and figure out what the truth of things actually was. He knew perfectly well at this point that some of the defendants he'd brought to trial were innocent, and he had no intention of letting it happen again.

"History was one of my favorite subjects in school," Edgeworth said, an embarrassed smile on his face. "I'm happy to explain anything you'd like to know, though do be warned that I may ramble on a bit."

The prosecutor listened carefully to the explanation about the elevators. "Fascinating - so the world has switched to solar energy completely. And..."

There was a little twinge of sadness inside - it had been Phoenix who had always been excited about this kind of thing. He would have been fascinated by all this. Part of him wanted to write it all down for him, mail it in a letter, but who knew if that would get there?

"And we've colonized space? Only 300 years...it is a start...and maybe they will come to see your point of view."

Allelujah smiled at that. "I'm glad to hear it. It's always relieving to hear about people trying to change things for the better." He just found it such a shame that so often they were outnumbered and outclassed by those who had a vesteg interest in leaving things as they were. Moralia's relationship with the Advanced European Union came to mind.

Studying history in school. It was something so mundane, so normal that he felt a little surge of jealousy and wistfullness at the thought of it. Almost everything he'd learned had been from Celestial Being. "I know political history, how the current world situation came to be, but I was never taught anything much beyond that." Oh, he'd tried to catch up, to pick up the things that he'd missed, but it was an impossible task.

He nodded, warming to the conversation more now that it was moving away from more dangerous topics. "Mostly, yes. The oil exporting countries are suffering though because of the restrictions on oil exports, and because the three main powers control the elevators, they control the power too and can demand compliance in return for supply." Plenty of places had lost out, even if solar energy was better in general.

"There are space colonies, yes. They're not hugely developed yet. There's not been any mass exodus or anything like that, but they exist, people live there and travel is fairly cheap using the elevators." He sighed softly and nodded. "I just hope some good comes from what we've been doing." He'd hate to have further bloodied his hands for nothing.

"It's all we can do, in the end." Edgeworth smiled - and not a smirk this time. "And that's a shame, really. There's so much in my own time that can be explained by the past - we had an oil crisis of our own that began in 2007. I was just a child then, though I heard plenty of the news about it, since my stepfather was heavily invested in oil companies. I think he was one of the few people who was happy when the crisis started, because it was money in his pocket."

The smile faded as quickly as it had come on, and the voice in the back of his head made a loud, disapproving noise - of course it would - and with it, shot a bit of pain through his head. He stopped, closing his eyes, taking a minute to regain his composure before continuing.

"History seems to have moved in the opposite direction, then. Solar energy was only just starting to really take off when I was brought here, as were hybrid cars and the like. We were starting to explore space again after a series of accidents. It's hard to believe that we actually colonize it all in the future, as progress seemed so slow."

Edgeworth looked Allelujah in the eye before speaking again. "If one person is saved, it's worth it, and I'm sure that's happened."

It was a line he'd repeated to himself so many times during his training, and in those early trials - if one less criminal was on the street, if one more notch was in his perfect record - then it was a good thing. It was hard to shake the point of view.

Edited at 2008-05-28 02:48 am (UTC)

Aeolia Shinberg hadn't thought so. He'd made plans and created Celestial Being which had led to the Gundams. It was one of the advantages they had over most people. Money and resources to force change rather than waiting for it. He shrugged. "There wasn't time," he replied simply. It wasn't as though that place had wanted to waste the time on teaching children anything more than the basics. He did listen eagerly to Edgeworth's explanation though, fascinated somewhat by the link between that and what was happening in his own time. "It seems that energy is always a big point of contention then," he said consideringly. Oil back then, the solar energy now.

He frowned a little in concern by Edgeworth's pause, and leaned forward in his seat. "Are you alright?" he asked, a touch of worry in his voice. He looked a little like he was in pain.

He relaxed when Edgeworth seemed to recover, glad to be learning more about history. "It's strange hearing of all that as current events," he admitted shyly. "It seems like such a long time ago. Such a lot of technology was developed very quickly. Is still being developed." Just look at the solar engines of the Gundams. The world powers still hadn't figured them out yet, even if they had access to the fake drives.

He met Edgeworth's gaze with his one visible eye before nodding. "I hope it has." No more children like him. That was what he wanted.

"I'm fine," Edgeworth said, smiling. "Just a bit of a headache. It's nothing to worry about." There was still a twinge of pain in the back of his head, but it had faded enough for him to be able to ignore it for the present.

Going back to the conversation, he had to wonder what Allelujah had meant by there not being time. Some exam to prepare for? "That's too bad. It seems history always gets given short shrift when compared to math, science, engineering, and the like. I think, had I not gone into the legal system, I would have liked to study it more intensely."

"Energy is one of the major points of contention in any time period, I'm afraid. The good thing is, as you mentioned, that technology is catching up to our demands." That made him wonder - what was powering the Institute? The lights went out every night, which meant that the supply might be limited, but that didn't explain why the intercoms still worked, or the radios...it was worth looking into further.

"I'm sure it has," Edgeworth said, nodding. There was something about how serious and dedicated the younger man seemed that made that very easy to believe.

Allelujah nodded at the assertion and he shifted back in his seat, taking a moment to smooth his hair down. Oh, he knew all about headaches.He could sympathise.

If only Edgeworth knew what he'd meant by that, he'd probably have been horrified. Although probably over more than the state of Allelujah's education. "It is a shame when so many things could probably have been averted if people knew more about the history of how things came to be." Then again, one could never be sure how humans would react. "History was always something I would have liked to look at more, beyond what was strictly necessary." He smiled a little with amusement. "I've never been able to look at Law at all either," he added. He just knew that what they were doing was highly illegal and the punishment if they were caught would be highly unpleasant.

He had to agree with that. So many wars had been fought over energy and the means to create it. "The solar generators work very well, but not all countries have equal access to it unfortunately, and the technology to start being able to harness it is expensive." Like had happened in Azadistan. "And there are other wars still going on for other reasons."

It was nice to hear someone sound so confident in the belief that they'd done something good, even if Edgeworth's agreement might change if he knew how they'd gone about it. He wasn't used to hearing it.

"It really is a shame," Edgeworth nodded. "And it's also a shame the library here is so...lacking, in terms of its nonfiction collection. The least they could do is add some reference books. A dictionary and set of encyclopedias, at least, if not a full-out display. I'm sure it would be of use."

He thought again. "Or the Internet - though I'm sure that's been surpassed from the way it is in my own time. Though I'm sure that's blocked for obvious reasons; they don't want messages getting out."

The word law brought a smile to the prosecutor's face - now that was a subject he could easily talk about. "Oh, it's probably best not to get me started on law. We don't have hours to discuss everything," he said, with a laugh. "Though I'm happy to answer any questions about the legal system. It's probably a bit different than what you're used to."

We just can't figure out a way of getting energy to everyone, even with the solar generators." Edgeworth shook his head as he listened to the explanation. "Another shame, that. Though I expect the technology will go down in price as time goes on. Though that doesn't solve the problem of fights starting for other reasons."

He spied a nurse coming by out of the corner of his eye, but chose to ignore her presence. She could wait, as far as he cared.

"Is it? I haven't been able to see the library yet." He hadn't even known that there was one, but he supposed it made sense if they were trying to keep them occupied in various ways. "I think if this is a prison in the manner that people have said though, then they probably want to keep us disoriented about our exact location or the date." It gave them nothing concrete to grasp hold of and kept them at a disadvantage. "The same for the internet," he agreed. "It would be too easy to send messages through it." Or even to hack it. It was a litle disappointing that there was no access.

He laughed softly when Edgeworth spoke about his love of law. It was obviously a passion of his. Allelujah supposed that it had to be a passion if one wanted to become a lawyer. "There is a lot to cover, and every country has its quirks I suppose. But you mentioned a three day system being introduced?" It sounded so strange. Trials normally tooks much longer didn't they? Weeks or months or even years.

"Some people are too remote, some countries don't want to accept the use of the Solar Generators because it means having a relationship with the major powers. Or their use is seen as being supported by one faction so another will oppose it for that reason and little else." It made his head hurt to think or all of the reasons people had for starting new wars. Surely supplying the people of a country with power wasn't a bad thing.

"The library is a small one, as I've mentioned, and all fiction. It's mainly classic literature with a few trashy paperbacks mixed in. Lacking isn't the best word for it," Edgeworth said, with a derisive chuckle. "It's not a bad place if you want a bit of quiet, though."

"Ah, yes." Edgeworth leaned forward in his seat as he began the explanation. "There was a serious crime wave that began about twenty years before I was born. The result was that people were made to wait months, or years, for a trial that could take months. The three-day trial system was introduced so that trials could be processed in a faster manner, which means people are moved through the system without a wait."

Edgeworth motioned with his hands as he spoke, a habit held over from his days in the courtroom. "Barring any extenuating circumstances, trials generally begin within 24-72 hours of the crime, and a judge oversees the proceedings. All guilty verdicts are then reviewed by a higher court, though it's very rare for a decision to be overturned. The system works because the short time frame forces everyone involved to be honest - it's their one shot, so it has to be a good one for everyone involved, from the police to the defense to the prosecution. I personally think it leads to fairer trials, as the tactics used to stall or prolong a trial can't be used anymore."

"It hasn't been without its share of controversy, however. There has been some talk of bringing back the Jurist System, though it hasn't really gotten off the ground. People fear that it will slow things down, or introduce bias into the system. But I'm prattling on." The prosecutor smiled, a slight embarrassed flush on his face. "I'm proud of the work I do, and it's been a pleasure to discuss it. It's very rare to find someone as interested in it as you've been."

"Hm." Edgeworth stroked his chin thoughtfully. "It sounds as if the issues in the oil-producing countries from my time are repeating themselves. The United States doesn't want to take oil from Iran because they support terror; the Iranians resent that. Venezuela tries to take advantage of the situation by artificially raising prices, which the people protest, and before anyone knows it, there's a multi-nation conflict going on. It's sad, really."

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