DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 50: Patient Library (3rd Shift)
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vsyourface wrote in damned
Given a choice, as should have been implied by the whole "Free Choice Day" thing, Scott would have gone straight for the Game Room. Maybe it didn't have the greatest selection of games, but he was raring for another epic Tetris match with Indy or anyone else who cared to challenge him. Unfortunately for him, however, his nurse was already onto his line of thinking.

"Now Bryan, I know how much you love your games, but don't you think some more time away from them would be good for you?" the woman asked him in a soothing tone, gently taking his shoulder when he turned toward the Game Room.

"Uh, why would I think that?" he asked, blinking at her in honest confusion.

"Well, I know your family was worried about more than just your condition before you came here. They're hoping you can start to wean yourself down to a more healthy level of enjoyment with your games, too," the nurse explained with continuing gentleness.

"Yeah. And?" Scott raised an eyebrow. "It's Free Choice Day, isn't it? Don't I get to choose and stuff?"

"Of course, Bryan. But I'm still here to make suggestions, and I think you'd do well with a different activity today." The woman smiled at him, genuine care and concern in her expression. "You can always come here later in the week. It'll probably be more rewarding if you wait, too."

Scott was silent, considering the advice. He raised an index finger. "Well, I suppose... Uh, yeah no. Please to be going to the Game Room now, thanks."

The nurse frowned.

Five minutes of irritatingly gentle coaxing later, and Scott found himself in the patient library. "Stupid guilt tripping never even talked to my real mom and dad I bet I could be playing Tetris right now they don't even have any cool books in here..." he grumbled to himself under his breath as he lazily perused the shelves. He picked a book completely at random, The Oxford Book of English Verse. He was half-hoping that maybe pulling the book out would trigger something more exciting, like a secret item appearing, a bonus stage unlocking, or a new shortcut tunnel opening. But no, Landel's reality was boring as ever. "Maybe there'll be an awesome poem or something in here, at least," he told himself as he headed over to an empty seat with a short sigh.

[Unknowingly waiting for Sam]

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The conversation with Raphael had been informative, even if it was a bit brief. The longer he remained captive, the more irritated Edgar became with the nurses- he was sure their tight schedules purposefully cut short all conversations, allowing for only a taste of independence before snatching it away by ushering the patients from room to room; the fact that his allies seemed to be disappearing didn't help matters. Landel certainly knew how to push the right buttons.

No matter- there was still work to be done. Deciding to pass on the activity occurring in the Sun Room, Edgar instead headed for the Library, looking for someplace quiet, someplace isolated, someplace away from the prying eyes of the nursemaids. As lovely as they were, he wasn't interested in having them see the pages within his journal. He waited for his escort to depart before perusing the aisles, finding the least occupied one and having a seat on the floor. It wasn't the most dignified position, but it would do.

Edgar removed the journal from his pocket, leaning against the wall and giving his injured shoulder a few tentative rotations. A hiss escaped him, his neck tensed as he cursed under his breath- the wound was going to set him back in his project. He flipped his journal open, turning a few pages in to the detailed schematic of his planned Air Cannon. He only needed a few more parts to complete it, but what good would it be if he couldn't wield it? He had no way of knowing exactly how long it would take for the wound to heal- any more than a day was too long, and it was bound to be far longer than that.

Back to the drawing board for now. Retrieving his pen, the machinist set to work on altering his plans. If he could shift some of the weight to his waist to compensate, his work wouldn't go to waste.

[L]

L had never had any intention of watching the movie; as such, he was almost indifferent to the fact that Casablanca, the film he had selected, had lost the vote, and that a ridiculous monster movie was about to run in the Sun Room. Still, he was bemused at the announcement. I can't imagine why they don't have their fill of improbable creatures at night. Perhaps next week they will --

He stopped himself on that thought. How many times had he reminded himself not to be lulled into habit, routine, the conviction that the Institute was his life now? It was so easy to slip into a belief that there would be a next week, a week after that, if he was lucky and clever enough to survive it.

He couldn't say with any certainty how real his experiences last night had been, but the Walther P99 was real enough -- unless it wasn't, or unless it had been planted, an idea which had a number of unpleasant implications. At some point, I will have to waste a bullet on a test. He sighed. It would be possible to make the test count, but at the same time, if the pistol failed in a situation where a bullet was useful, it would defeat the purpose of testing it at all. Apart from that, he tried to avoid those situations when he could.

At brunch, he had identified "Paul Quincy" -- Sangamon Taylor. Red hair and a goatee were distinctive in the Institute, and he recalled having seen Taylor before; a nurse had confirmed his suspicions. However, he had not yet had the opportunity to make an approach. While he wanted to pursue it as quickly as he could, he would prefer not to have to use a public means of arranging a meeting. It was a possible lead, not a matter of life or death. If he had to, he would slip a note to Taylor, but that worked better with existing acquaintances. His conversation with Jones and Keman, and the necessity of having a nurse to escort him, had made it impossible to follow Taylor after brunch.

Now, he moved among the shelves in the library. It wasn't the most interesting of locations, but it was quiet, and anything he did to his journal while he was there was unlikely to draw much attention. One area was especially secluded, but as he rounded the corner to make his way for it, he saw that someone else -- a good-looking blond man -- was already sitting on the floor, absorbed in his own journal. His height was difficult to judge, but the length of his legs suggested that he was tall. L sighed, a little puff of air, and slouched past.

He gave the pages of the other man's journal a sidelong glance without turning his head. What he saw from the corner of his eye looked like schematics -- what for? Why? The man, then, became an order of magnitude more interesting than he had been five seconds earlier.

L thought of a classic novel that he knew to be shelved in another aisle. "Have you seen a copy of War and Peace here?" His tone was innocent; he sounded perplexed about his supposed inability to find his new "favorite" book, which had merely been the first to come to mind.

Just as he'd finished rearranging the straps in his design to accommodate for the shift in weight, Edgar found the aisle joined by another young man- another patient, as marked by his smiling shirt. He gave the man a quick nod before returning to the drawing, carefully swapping the length of pipe and the trigger to lighten the load on his injured shoulder.

The silence of the room was disturbed as the newcomer addressed him, looking utterly confused over finding a book. Edgar deftly turned the page to the following one (simple notes, sure not to catch the eyes of the nurses) and placed the pen into the binding in a single, casual movement. It wasn't that he trusted the other man- in honesty, Edgar was having trouble reading him. Something about his poor posture didn't help matters.

"I'm not familiar with the book," he admitted, setting his journal on the ground, the page of notes still topmost. "Though I think I know enough about libraries to help you track it down. My childhood didn't permit me much time for leisurely reading, unfortunately." Even if he'd had more time for books, he probably wouldn't have spent much time among them. He scanned the aisle- no armor to spring to life along these walls. "Do you know who wrote it, by any chance?"

There it was -- He turned the page before setting his journal down. Something to hide... something he doesn't want anyone, nurses or patients, to see...?

"Tolstoy." What was more interesting to L was that his new acquaintance didn't know -- didn't sound as if he had ever heard of the book, in fact, which was peculiar in light of his European appearance. "However, I wouldn't say that it's a leisurely read. It's famous for being difficult."

The man was creating schematics, and his manner of speaking wasn't rough. At a guess, L would say he was educated, but there were many kinds of education; L's own had been eccentric, and often geared towards immediate application in his profession. Even without having devoted much time to literature, though, he still knew who had written War and Peace.

"What did you study as a child, Mr....?" He ended the question on a raised tone, indicating the secondary query: What do I call you?

"Figaro," Edgar finished, moving along the aisle while keeping a watch on the newcomer. "No 'mister,' please. It makes me feel old. You're welcome to simply call me Edgar. Last names don't appear to have a great deal of meaning here, as we're all ultimately prisoners." He didn't mind being able to keep his nobility under wraps- it simplified discussions when people didn't address him so formally.

He neared the end of the aisle, realizing the book was on the next one over. Hm. It did seem odd a man of his age wouldn't be able to find a book a library, especially one that was supposedly famous in a room with already limited selection. Addressing a perfect stranger to save time would be more trouble than it was worth to most people. He smirked, heading for the next aisle, leaving his journal unattended.

It didn't take long for him to find the desired book on the shelf and pull it from its place, taking a glance at the cover. If its title and length were any indication to its subject, it didn't seem like a novel he'd be interested in- being that wars lasted too long and peace was often short-lived, he got the feeling the majority of the tome was about the former. He'd personally dealt with enough war to last a lifetime.

"I studied a number of subjects," he replied from the aisle over, waiting a moment before he turned the corner and offered the book to the other man, "though I've always preferred hands-on activities."

L gave one firm nod as they moved down the aisle. "Edgar. Please call me Ryuuzaki." Reactions to that particular alias could be interesting: a Japanese name for a man who did not, for the most part, appear to be Japanese. It occurred to him that if Edgar was ignorant of both Tolstoy and War and Peace, he might also be unaware of Japan at all. The question was, Why?

The book--and therefore, the pretense for their conversation--was in L's hands. "Hm. I must have missed it," he said, his tone dreamy and innocent. "Thank you." He made a move as if to head back in the direction of Edgar's neglected journal. "Hands-on? Do you mean sports, or activities with more practical applications?"

Ryuuzaki- the name had an unusual ring to it, but it wasn't any more peculiar than Gau. The man didn't look or sound as though he'd ever had the excuse of being raised in the wilds of the Veldt, though. Edgar smiled lightly, imagining the havoc a feral child like Gau would cause if he ever found himself trapped within the walls of the institution.

Edgar returned to his unattended journal, stooping stiffly for a moment to retrieve it, deciding he'd better save continuing his redesign for a moment when he was alone. He massaged the back of his neck as he rose, considering he ought to stay in during the evening, given his condition. "I leave sports to my brother," he said. "I'm more of an inventor."

He tucked the journal into his sling, turning to face Ryuuzaki once more. "Is there anything else I can help you with?"

L followed Edgar back to the aisle where they'd started, where Edgar had left his journal.

He didn't answer Edgar's question directly. "An inventor." He nodded in the direction of the stowed journal. "You were designing something? I noticed the schematics that you were working on. What sort of projects interest you?"

If Edgar had any skill, he could be a useful acquaintance; however, L wanted to judge for himself.

Edgar smirked knowingly. As expected, Ryuuzaki had indeed taken an interest in his notes- Edgar decided he'd have to do a better job of hiding them later (he was certain most of the nurses would probably just consider his drawings a result of his alleged delusions), but the man was a fellow prisoner and had seemed so determined for a peek, though in a far less enthusiastic manner than Guy. They all shared some common ground.

He still couldn't get a good read on Ryuuzaki, but perhaps he was just more... discreet than some of the other patients when it came to his endeavors. A little discretion was always appreciated; even more appreciated was any chance to talk about mechanics.

"Ah, you have a keen eye," he said with a laugh in a warmer tone. "Recognizing them as schematics from a glance? I'm impressed." Most considered his more technical works to be nearly impossible to decipher- his brother included- but when it wasn't much more than a mess of lines, notes, and measurements, it was to be expected.

"As for projects, I make a lot of things, though I specialize in tools."

"Yes, I've always been told so," L replied, in an offhand manner. It was true, too: logic and observation had taken him far in life. Whether or not people wanted to be observed was irrelevant; he learned the most interesting things when people thought no one was looking, or when they didn't understand how much he could take in at a glance. There were other reasons why he hadn't publicized his profession in the Institute, but that was one of the biggest. He would wear sheep's clothing for as long as he could manage it, casting it off only where it was convenient or useful.

He had already gathered that Edgar took pride in his knowledge and his work, even though a snap judgment based on Edgar's appearance would have suggested otherwise. Whether or not he was delusional about his skill was another matter. L discarded his own aimless, helpless manner and allowed some of his shrewdness to show.

"Tools can be meant to accomplish any number of things." The volume of his voice was already low, but he dropped it another notch or two. "I'm curious. Do your designs have a practical application--a goal for the near future? It should be obvious that some things are probably beyond our reach, for the time being--long-distance travel, for example. But other kinds of tools--"

He left the words hanging in the air, waiting to see if Edgar would pick them up.

Edited at 2010-08-19 04:50 am (UTC)

This Ryuuzaki character certainly was astute, wasn't he? It was a good quality to have on his side.

"Are the types that would cause bodily harm to some of the delusions I've supposedly been having," Edgar finished openly, his quiet tone matching Ryuuzaki's. "Or at least launch projectiles a long distance at a high speed. Whichever I can finish first, given the crude materials I'm currently working with and the state of my arm."

Edgar flashed a winning smile at a passing nurse as she peered into the room, waiting for her to leave before continuing. "Until last night, I was working primarily out of habit- idle hands and all- with the thought that I could stand to be better armed for whatever roams the halls at night. Now that I've seen one of these abominations with my own two eyes in a room that seems incongruous with the rest of this prison, I can see that I will be needing to carry something more powerful than a flashlight if I'm expecting to put up any sort of a fight."

L's first response to Edgar's statement was a slow nod, and he thought of the weapons concealed in his room. "I can't argue with a desire to create that kind of tool, as long as" --his eyes narrowed-- "its creator kept an eye on it, and was careful to confine its use to his 'delusions.' It would be unfortunate if it fell into the wrong hands. For a certain kind of personality, this place would be like a playground--I don't think we can assume that everyone here works towards a common goal."

When Edgar smiled at the nurse, L experienced a flash of amusement. A handsome guy like him... hm... he is accustomed to using his charm...? Yes. The nurses here must be relatively immune to it, but patients are another story. The ways in which Edgar seemed like a useful person to know began to add up in L's mind. He didn't seem dangerous to other patients; it had taken little prodding to get him to reveal that he was building a weapon, and from the brief glance L had taken at the schematics, it wasn't a subtle one. Its use on another patient would be obvious, and the culprit, correspondingly easy to track.

One of Edgar's phrases caught at him, and he decided to revisit it. "A room that seems incongruous... what do you mean?"

Edited at 2010-08-23 08:38 am (UTC)

Edgar nodded as Ryuuzaki gave him a clear warning in regards to his tools, how they were used, and who would be using them. It was a shame that he was right- despite the patients all being prisoners, all having common ground, there were bound to be those who would use his inventions for all the wrong reasons. It wasn't that different from the Empire wanting Figaro's technological savvy; however, he'd had more control over what was shared there. The institute provided little security in any sense.

He'd have to be careful, or find a way to make it so others simply couldn't use his tools. Ryuuzaki had given him an idea already.

"It looked as though it didn't belong in the building," Edgar answered. He still couldn't read Ryuuzaki well, but his warning seemed to indicate he was on a side with some integrity. He'd put a little trust into the other man for now. "Brightly lit by lanterns, ornate suits of armor lining the walls... It sharply contrasted with the dark hallways of the night and the institution facade of the day. The fact that the next room was guarded by an undead monster was even more alarming."

Edgar put his hand to his shoulder lightly. "The beast wasn't just some watchdog either: it suffered several blows from a chainsaw with hardly a sign of pain. The room had to have significance, or why have it watched at all?"

Well, there was one point of interest that was bound to have some importance- the dagger. He decided against mentioning it for now, wanting to take another look at it before disclosing any more information about the relic.

The only room L had seen since his arrival at the Institute that held any resemblance to Edgar's description at all was the Sphinx's lair, but the resemblance wasn't close. The primary similarity was the impression of a kind of calculated magnificence that didn't exist either in the facilities intended for patients, or in Doyleton, or in the ruined town. That implied, but didn't guarantee, that the room might be in the basement; the most he could say with certainty was that such spaces existed somewhere within the boundaries of the area Landel controlled.

"I've heard of such places, but they aren't on the maps that some of the patients have. I'll let you know if I come across it, though."

Edgar might be a useful person to know, but L found himself reluctant to spill his plans for the night to a new acquaintance without good reason to do so. If the foray into the basement worked out, and Jones's group came across a room of armor, there was a reasonable chance that L would pass the information on to Edgar. As to whether or not the information would do Edgar any good... well, he had serious doubts on that score. If the man was determined to seek out danger, there was little L could do to stop him.

"You're certain the monster was--undead? What did it look like?"

The response from the bulletin board regarding the location of the weaponry came to mind as Ryuuzaki spoke. While he hadn't confirmed Edgar's suspicions that the room was underground, he had noted that such locations weren't unheard of, implying others had been there before. There had to be a way to reach the weaponry on foot- finding out how would have to wait for another time, granted the man was around long enough for them to have a second conversation.

"Positive," Edgar said, his tone serious. "Its flesh was decaying, its blood thick and black as it rotted on the inside. Maggots crawled from its wounds as we fought it. It should have collapsed after a solid hit, but it had far more stamina than its dying body should have allowed."

Edgar's shoulder ached sharply, reminding him of his foolhardiness. He'd gone into battle with only a weapon, no armor at all; however, one had to make due with what he was offered. At least he'd been armed and had Gren- it was likely he owed his roommate his life. "It wasn't my first experience fighting an undead beast, but it was definitely one I won't soon forget."

The nurse returned to the doorway, hovering a moment as she waited for him to finish his conversation. "We'll have to discuss this book again sometime," he said with a smile. "I've got a few recommendations for you myself, but it seems I'll save them for another day."

Excellent, L thought, irritated. It fit the general pattern: something strong, repellent, or both; something with a pronounced air of "wrongness" around it. It might be in the basement, it might not. Even if the room with the armor was there, the creature might not be anywhere near the room the next night, but it was good to be aware of its existence. He would have to take a quick look at the list of creatures in his journal later, to see if it fit any of the descriptions he'd noted, or if he would need to add it himself.

He wanted to ask Edgar about his allusion to previous experiences fighting undead beasts, but as he opened his mouth to do so, the nurse appeared. L inclined his head towards Edgar in a half-nod, then replied, in a low, polite, detached tone, "Yes. I'll be looking forward to it. It's always nice to meet someone else who's interested in literature."

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