DAMNED || LANDEL'S INSTITUTE

A Multifandom Asylum RPG


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Day 50: Arts & Crafts Room (4th Shift)
noblesse oblige
jouer_sans_voir wrote in damned
It barely felt like she'd been outside for any time at all when the intercom sounded and the nurse came to fetch her. "Can't I stay a little longer?" she asked, but the woman only clicked her tongue and frowned, reaching to feel her forehead as though testing for a fever. "The weather simply isn't good enough, Natalie dear," the nurse said, once satisfied that her charge was all right, then drew back and made shooing motions toward the door. "Go on inside and warm up, okay? I don't want you taking a chill now that you're just getting better."

Nunnally sighed but didn't protest; remembering something that Yuffie had said to her, she instead elected to visit the "arts" room. The nurse was all too happy to agree, and once in the room brought over a small pile of assorted supplies with a number of suggestions for projects that Nunnally might want to undertake. She listened with a polite smile but as soon as the woman left again sorted through the glitter and markers and pulled out a single sheet of paper.

Several minutes of careful folding later, she set the completed origami crane on the table in front of herself with a small smile. It was somehow calming, following the familiar pattern of movements that turned a simple piece of paper into a bird; though the process was easier now that she could see how even her folds were, it still felt the same. And still meant the same. She gently tapped the bird's beak with one fingertip, her smile turning briefly thoughtful before she moved to take another piece of paper from the pile. Maybe she could remember some of the other shapes Sayoko had showed her.

[Lelouch and Renamon]

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Aigis was again at a loss for where to go for her free shift. After informing her nurse that she was not hungry, the woman then pulled the android to yet another room just off the Sun Room. Another room full of objects Aigis was not familiar with. She sat at a table near the door, unsure of how to approach this room.

"How about we draw today, Angela?" Nurse Cathy walked to a shelf and gathered a few supplies, placing paper in front of Aigis then a small box of crayons.

Aigis blinked down at the paper, confused. "What shall I draw?"

Nurse Cathy's laugh was a light titter. "Oh, dear, you may draw whatever you wish~" And with those vague directions, Cathy left the girl's side to chat with the other nurses in the room.

Aigis sat at the table, biting her lip in uncertainty. Whatever she wished. She wished to go home, to be with her friends, back to the normalcy of fighting Shadows, going to school, feeding Koromaru. And suddenly Aigis knew what she could draw. Taking out a gray crayon, the blond began to sketch the outline of her dear, doggy friend.

[Free]

Eventually one of the nurses caved and showed Carter how to work the Seedy Player. The concept was fascinating, to keep music in such a tiny place, but the music itself sounded like a train was running over the band. He didn't like the cut of the 'rock' stuff, and the 'metal' stuff just hurt his ears. He asked if there was anything softer like cloth music or pillow music, and received only laughter in response.

Maybe the art room would be less frustrating. Carter wandered over with his hands in his pockets and reviewed the supplies, finding the technology familiar but disappointingly lacking in any 'futurey' traits. Oh, well. It was still more exploring, and there were a lot more colors of crayon than he'd had back home. When he saw a pretty girl bent over a drawing he nearly mistook her for Kairi. It had been so dark last night...no, but that wasn't the way her hair was cut, or the right shade. Still, she was people!

"Whatcha got there?" Carter asked in a friendly fashion, peering over her shoulder. "Oh! It's a dog, isn't it? I had a dog once, at my old prison. Is that your dog?" Anyone who like dogs couldn't be a bad sort.

"Hmm?" Aigis looked up, surprised by an unfamiliar male voice addressing her. She blinked her blue eyes, trying to remember if she had met him before. But no, he didn't register as a familiar face in her memory banks. He seemed quite friendly for a stranger.

"Indeed, it is a dog. But he is not mine," Aigis replied. She glanced back down at her drawing. "He is a friend. Koromaru-san. He worked alongside me back home."

She took a moment and thought back on his words. He had mentioned a prison. "You had a dog when... you were a jailer? Was he a guard dog?" That was the most logical explanation, but it seemed polite to ask rather than just assume.

"No, I was one of the prisoners. He snuck in from outside." Hah, him a jailer. Carter chuckled at the very thought as he sat down beside her. "But we did have guard dogs. They were pretty nice, we got them trained to obey us instead of the guards so they were never really as mean as they acted." But boy, what an act it was.

Koromarusan was a pretty long name for a dog. Almost a Japanese kind of name, but the girl had blue eyes and blonde hair so she couldn't be Japanese. He knew what she meant, though, some dogs just belonged to themselves and all you did was feed them and pet them and maybe let them inside when Mom wasn't looking.

Aigis had been reaching for a different crayon, searching for a red to use for Koromaru's eyes but she stopped and fully looked to the man when he sat down. He had been a prisoner? Aigis felt herself tensing a little in suspicion. But the more he spoke, the more she felt her suspicion melting into perplexity.

"Dogs are very loyal creatures. It would take someone with a great heart to turn them from their masters." She stated this in a matter-of-fact tone. She put down her crayon and focused all her attention on the man, hoping to read more into his character. He seemed friendly, but she had experience dealing with two-faced men. A gentle smile could not always be believed.

"My name is Aigis." She bowed her head respectfully. "I hope I am not imposing if I ask for your own."

Carter made a little bow in return, wondering if this also meant she was Japanese. Maybe she was one of those albino types. "Sergeant Andrew Carter, miss!" He offered her a friendly hand, practically radiating a friendliness and trustworthiness that would make a puppy look like Snidley Whiplash. "And it wasn't really their masters, I guess. Herr Schnitzer was the one who kept the dogs and trained them, and he was secretly on our side so he made sure they were friendly to us. Real nice guy, just a bit cranky sometimes." Anyone who liked dogs couldn't be all bad deep inside.

Aigis, Aigis. Carter pronounced the name firmly in his head, to make sure he didn't stumble on it later. So many nice girls here, this was much better than Germany. In Germany half the nice girls turned out to be Nazi agents and that just wasn't very fair of them.

Aigis took his offered hand and shook it a bit stiffly, unused to practicing the greeting. She had witnessed some of the scientists back in the lab greet one another with a handshake, but that had been quite some time ago. She hoped she had not missed anything in her observances. "Sergeant Carter-san, it is a pleasure." The name was foreign, but that was about all she could glean from it.

"I see..." she muttered after hearing his story. He was an officer and in a prison where "they" had a friend working on the inside. She didn't like the sound of that but she was hesitant to make snap judgments. He seemed so friendly, yet...

"I apologize, Carter-san, but I must be frank. I am curious as to why you were imprisoned. You do not seem to be the criminal sort." Her brows knit together in concern, but her voice remained as neutral as ever.

Although he could easily lie to her if he wished, she would give him this chance to be honest with her. Nothing he had said so far had been much to clue her in to his situation back home, but it wasn't Carter's fault. Her data only covered the history of the Iwatodai area in Japan. Matters from overseas had never been planted in her data banks. And the only history class she had taken during her short time at Gekkoukan High had been Japanese History, which she had failed rather miserably.

"No, no, it's not Cartersan, it's just Carter. Car-ter," the bomber corrected. "And I wasn't a criminal sort of prisoner, I was a POW. A prisoner of war." That'd kind of be a hard concept to explain to a girl, especially one who seemed sort of childish and innocent. Because of course Carter was a model of mature wisdom.

In a surge of inspiration Carter commandeered her red crayon and a blanks sheet of paper. He drew a swastika on one side of the paper and an extremely crude eagle-shape on the other, then drew wavy lines around both of them to indicate that they were separate countries. "See, we're fighting a war against the Germans over here," he said, indicating the swastikaed block. He drew an arrow from the birdish block to the swastika block. "I was in a fighter plane that flew over Germany, but my plane got shot down and I got captured. And when you get captured on the wrong side of a war they put you in a prison called a stalag." Carter made a little square in the swastika block and labeled it 'Stalag 13'.

"So you see, I'm not a criminal guy," he finished with a broad grin. "I'm a good guy who got locked up by bad guys." Mostly. You still got shot as a spy if you got caught doing the sort of things Carter did half the nights of the week.

"Ah, Sergeant Carter then." Aigis said his name in her head a few times, trying to remember to leave off the honorific. It would be like the situation with Heat. Just Heat. Just Carter.

"I was unaware there was a war currently in session," Aigis muttered, watching Carter work on his example. She didn't know what the bent cross was, but she could identify the other drawing as an interpretation of a bird. So Carter was from the bird country that fought the Germans, a word she recognized but only to the extent that they were people from Germany. She knew nothing about the country or its morals, but Carter claimed they were the enemy of whatever country he came from. Perhaps somewhere in the Americas or Europe.

Considering their positions here in the institute, Aigis decided he could be trusted. Carter was at the mercy of a merciless man, just as she was. And it was hard for her to not give him the benefit of the doubt. He seemed very friendly and kind, and his grin was quite infectious.

"Forgive me for my suspicions, Carter-sa--I mean, Carter." Aigis smiled back at him, a small, polite lift of her lips. "I appreciate your honesty."

She turned her eyes back to the paper, studying the strange, bent cross and the box prison camp. "I suppose this place isn't much different from your Stalag thirteen. That is, except for the monsters at night." At least she hoped he hadn't encountered them outside of the institute. Having to deal with Shadows on top of a war seemed much too heavy a burden for anyone to carry.

Carter pondered holding on to the piece of paper, it might come in handy explaining his situation to other young or alien prisoners. It felt very odd to be one of the few who knew about World War II, as if he was repeatedly having to tell people that the sun was sort of hot in the summertime. It was such an established fact of life back home that being without it felt a bit odd.

Aigis' slight grin made Carter smile even brighter. "Oh no, it's much much nicer here," he said dreamily, acid-scarred fingers toying with another crayon. "It's warm, and you can have all the nice food you can eat, and the beds are soft and nobody calls you out for roll call before dawn or in the middle of the night and then yells at you if you don't line up fast enough. And the nurses are a lot nicer than the guards back at the stalag, even if they laugh at you sometimes. I think I've been in hotels worse than this prison...almost makes a guy not want to leave." He doodled a stick-figure dog next to the Stalag 13 box.

They'd used that excuse on Klink before, saying they loved the camp and the commander (yuch!) too much to try and escape. Old Klink had bought it, because Klink was a sucker for flattery delivered by roguish Americans, but if Carter ever said it to Dr. Landel he'd probably mean it.

Aigis felt a wave of horror wash over her when Carter insisted he preferred Landel's over his own home. His list of grievances was extensive, but certainly nothing could make Aigis wish to remain here. However, she did have to take into account the war Carter had been a part of before his arrival at the institute. She had no experience with war; for all she knew, it could be ten times worse than even Carter described.

"Maybe it is because I have an important duty to fulfill, but I cannot tolerate staying here for much longer." She still had a world to save from spiraling into darkness. There wasn't much she could do alone, though. She would have to take Minato, Yukari and Junpei with her when she left. Her smile faded as a miserable thought passed through her mind--what of the other friends and acquaintances she had made here? Scar, von Karma, Utena, MOMO, what of their fate? And Heat, the thought of leaving him behind hurt worst of all.

To distract herself from her brooding thoughts, Aigis watched Carter doodle more lines on his paper. She hadn't paid much attention to his hands before, but seeing the scars put her on alert once more. "Carter-san! How did your hands become so scarred?"

She noticed a second too late that she had forgotten to drop the suffix, but that wasn't important now. She was more worried about what kind of creature had gotten to this young man and if he was still in pain.

Obviously Carter didn't want to stay at Landel's forever, that would be silly. One of these nights, when things didn't go a bit funny, he'd manage to finally get over the walls and see the real future. If their prisons were this great, freedom must be like paradise.

When Aigis cried out Carter jerked his fingers back and hid them against his chest. "Oh! I'm sorry about that," he said, panicked. "I usually wear gloves." Not for fashion, but because one of the smarter Germans might wonder how an imprisoned bombardier got so many little white marks on his fingers. "It's, um..." He fidgeted, unsure how much he wanted to tell the girl about his night job. She might not find it very attractive, if she didn't know much about how prison camps were either.

Finally the sergeant stretched his hands back out again, letting her get a full look at him. His hands were paler than the rest of him in general, not usually as exposed to the sun and wind, but they were even paler where corrosive chemicals had stained his skin. The burns were mostly on his fingertips, but there was a red one at his wrist where he'd actually had them go up in his face. Subpar supplies didn't help, but sometimes Carter was just sort of stupid.

"They're chemical burns," he admitted, a bit ashamed of his appearance. "See, when I was in the prison we were working with the underground, which is the good Germans who don't want the evil Germans we're fighting to be in control of the government. My job was making bombs to destroy bridges and factories and stuff, so they'd have a harder time fighting the war. And usually I'm pretty good at it, but..." He wiggled one set of fingers sheepishly. "Sometimes I made mistakes."

Aigis sighed in relief. Accidentally self-inflicted chemical burns were a good deal better than torture and mutilation. She could put aside the thought of him blowing up bridges and things with the off-chance of harming civilians for now. It certainly didn't seem like he meant any harm. Besides, it was not her place to tell others how to win their wars.

"That is good to hear." She paused for a moment, considering her own words. "Good, because I would have been greatly saddened had they been inflicted upon you by the establishment."

Aigis tapped a crayon against her paper, leaving darker smudges of grey with each tap. Her face had lost all cheeriness and her gaze remained fixed on the table. "I have heard stories about the special 'treatments' given at night here. I do not tolerate cruelty."

Had she the power, Aigis would save all who were taken at night. She knew they would not let her through without a fight, and they had severely disabled her by taking her ammunition. She understood it would not be possible to accomplish anything with just her baseball bat. If she was to take this battle seriously, she would need something stronger, like...

She glanced back at Carter, curious. "Have you ever considered making any bombs while you are here, Sergeant Carter?"

"Oh, definitely." Carter brightened up once more. "I love bombs, they're like fireworks but...bigger. And brighter and louder." He spoke of his babies the way a more normal person might talk about their pet or girlfriend. Girls hadn't had that special appeal to him, bar Mary Jane, that they held for the other fellows, but he adored his bombs. "And here there's probably stuff for making even bigger and louder bombs than I could back at Stalag 13."

He doodled a little cartoonish bomb, a ball with a burning fuse, next to the swastika. He heard about the experiments too, but it all seemed like so much rumor to him. Everyone here seemed so nice, besides that weirdo Landel rambling over the intercom. A place this nice couldn't have that sharp of a dark side, nothing was that grey. You had good people and evil people, lines were that sharp.

"That is certainly an... interesting view of ballistic weaponry." Aigis wasn't sure if he quite understood the magnitude of his job by the way he described bombs, but she had to admire his passion.

She raised an eyebrow at the childish image he drew of a bomb, but she didn't comment on his artwork. "Well, if you do find the proper materials necessary, I would appreciate the opportunity to put your work into good use." To an outsider, Aigis probably didn't look to be the type to use highly dangerous explosives, especially now that her body had been altered to look almost completely human. Aigis didn't put much stock into looks, so she hardly thought it strange to talk with just about anyone about weapons.

"Actually, Sergeant Carter, if you need help in gathering any materials, I would like to offer my assistance." She couldn't imagine the ingredients being all that easy to come by, especially if only one person happened to be looking. She was always willing to lend her aid. It made her feel useful, even if it was just an illusion.

Carter tilted his head, confused. "But you're a girl," he said, as if that was some sort of deformity. "What do you know about bombs?"

It wasn't a fair question, even taking into consideration his origins. He'd met plenty of female agents on both sides of the fence, all capable of skill and ruthlessness that made them the equal of any of Carter's gang. But to have a woman involved in the holy and manly world of high explosives just seemed wrong somehow. Carter had enough trouble when he had to present his creations to uninformed men, women were even more confusing.

Carter looked back at his doodle, then drew an X over it and drew something a little more period accurate. There were wires and lengths of TNT and a tiny clock on the top for a timer.

"I may look female, but I am not simply a girl. I am an Anti-Shadow Emergency Control Weapon; an android." Aigis was not the most tactful when explaining her situation to others. She had been built to look human in hopes of creating a weapon that could properly summon a Persona, not to socialize with other humans. But at least being honest hadn't given her any trouble with the other patients so far.

"As for bombs," Aigis began, even as she drew a rather accurate picture of a modern machine gun on her own paper, "I am not incredibly familiar with their creation, but their operation is simple enough to grasp."

She continued to draw as she spoke, adding details and shading with clear, precise strokes. "My weapon of choice is the gun. I am proficient in the use of all types, from pistols to hand canons and all that falls in-between. Unfortunately, the probability of obtaining a gun of any caliber here is fairly low."

Aigis would be lying to herself if she thought the baseball bat in her room was an adequate weapon, but she had been programmed to be truthful in all situations. She could not lie to herself any easier than she could lie to a friend or a complete stranger.

Carter's auditory cortex as far as the word 'android', and then everything after that was completely ignored as Carter's brain wholly switched over to squee mode. He barely looked at her drawing, although an android with a gun was hardly surprising.

"You mean, like a robot? You're a robot? Wow!" He looked her over again with a wide, gleeful grin. A real robot. "You look just like a human, I'd never have guessed. How'd they get you to look so real? Do you have gears or electronics? Can I see them?" Impulsively, he reached out to touch her face, although at a rate where his hand could easily be slapped aside. All the androids he'd seen in comics had metal skin and glowing eyes, or no eyes, he'd never seen an android that looked like a such a perfect kind of girl.

Why would he want to go back? The future would never stop being wonderful.

Aigis was visibly startled by Carter's sudden onslaught of questions, her eyes widening into large, blue saucers. "Y-yes, that is my true nature."

"I am... unsure how they transferred me to this model," she admitted, looking down at her seamless hands. She didn't pull away from Carter's touch--her face was not one of the three places on her body Yukari had insisted boys should never be allowed to touch--but she was also unsure of what to make of it.

She pulled up on one of her gray sleeves, looking down at the cream-colored faux skin that stretched over the shoulder plates as smoothly as any human's. It still astounded her, not seeing her mechanisms exposed at the major joints, her brilliant titanium shell masked so completely. "Normally, it would not be a problem. However, since coming here, the institute has seen fit to clothe me in this more human-like model." She frowned. "It's certainly a state-of-the-art design, but it lacks some of my most basic functions."

Being an android was nothing to be excited about. It was what she was, and it was a worthless existence. She had already failed to meet the goal her creators had set for her. And even if she achieved victory in the battle against Nyx, it would only serve to leave her goalless again. She had been told she could find her own purpose, that it was her right to choose for herself, but she could not find a purpose in herself. No matter how hard she looked, something held her back.

Carter prodded and tugged at her cheek, finding her an almost flawless human replica. He could just barely feel the metal skeleton and the whirring of gears underneath the fleshy cover (or thought he did). "It's amazingly," he said admiringly, finally releasing her and putting his elbows on the table. "I mean, I've never seen a real android before, but you're definitely the best android I've ever seen anyway. How'd you get made?"

And she was a pretty girl of an android, too. Aigis reminded Carter just a bit of his Mary Jane, mostly in terms of size and willingness to talk to him for more than five minutes. He grinned excitedly and rested his chin in both hands, watching his wonderful new friend.

She wasn't used to being prodded, especially with the high level sensitivity to sensation this new body offered. It was almost a little uncomfortable having her flesh pulled and poked, but it wasn't painful and the feeling dulled once Carter stopped.

Touching her cheek, Aigis rubbed a bit at the skin. It was so much more pliant than her body had been before the transfer to Landel's. "I was created within a laboratory in the port city of Iwatodai, Japan in 1999. The laboratory was funded by a private organization, although the methods used in my creation was likely on par with advanced military technology. My series was created to battle Shadows and protect humankind from the danger Shadows presented. Unfortunately, I am at a loss for how my current model was created; I did not look quite this realistic before I came here to Landel's Institution."

She felt the explanation was a bit inadequate, but she was honestly unsure of even who had created the original plans for her series. That scientist had likely died in the explosion during Koetsu Kirijo's failed attempt to summon the goddess Nyx. And not all of her records could be salvaged after her first break down ten years ago.

Japan? Hey, Haseo was right, the Japanese really were good at technology. "Wow-wee," he whispered, giving a happy sigh. "So are there a lot of androids or are you the only one? I bet there's American androids too, we're always the first at nearly everything." First or last, either way they got to be exceptional.

Carter's eyes kept wandering over her, trying to pick out the little pieces of inhumanity that he'd seen before. He couldn't find them in her pretty girl's eyes, or hear the whirring of her gears, and he found her all the more amazing because of that. An android that you couldn't tell was an android had to be the best android ever.

Carter didn't seem interested in Aigis' role in protecting humanity though he was quite enthralled with the idea of her being an android. She had probably been too vague, but maybe it was for the best. He didn't need to worry about her problems back home.

"Unfortunately, I do not know much about the technology of other countries. However, it is my belief that if I were possible in Japan, other androids certainly could have been made in the Americas." Aigis looked down at the paper in front of her, her voice softening.

"As for my series, I am the last of my kind. All others were destroyed in an explosion ten years ago." All her older sisters, gone in one big blast. She didn't like to dwell on the idea. In a way, she was glad she never got to know any of the other Anti-Shadow Weapons personally.

Her eyes trailed back to Carter's paper. It was an interesting diagram, and it told a story Aigis wished to keep in mind. "Sergeant Carter, would you mind if I made a copy of this? I am quite interested to learn more about this war." If she happened to put a stop to the coming of Nyx, she would need to start learning more about the world around her. The Shadows would not last forever...

"Oh. I'm...sorry." Carter wasn't sure what that meant to an android, but she sounded sad so he tried to sound sympathetic. That'd be like being the last American, wouldn't it? That was pretty tragic.

He looked to his amateur scribbles, and felt a little embarrassed by how crude they were. "I'm not sure if I'm the best person to ask," he said, scratching his head. "Cause I'm from the middle of the war, and I don't really know how it ends. I mean, we win, of course, but how we win I'm not sure." It didn't even look like Germany and America, it looked like spilled juice. Carter doodled in another blob that was vaguely Japan shaped, and a third that was Italy shaped.

"See, Italy and Japan were siding with the Germans." A few more blobs on the America side of the page. "And England and France are on our side, except France got taken over by the Germans a little while ago." Carter waved his hand over the whole page. "And that's why it's called a World War, it's everyone fighting with everyone."

"It is alright," she assured him, though she could only offer him a weak smile. It wasn't fair to burden Carter with her troubles. But he seemed willing to let the subject go, which suited her just fine. She was curious about his war. It made for a good distraction.

"Do you mean to say the war is over?" The timeline discrepancies. It was still a hard truth to swallow, but people here really did come from different times. It was an illogical fact she would need to come to terms with, along with the possibility of her achieved humanity.

She was unfamiliar with the countries, but she understood how great a scale it must have been on to include so many nations. A World War. To think humankind would also turn on itself in such a way. How sad and yet, how real.

"Thank you for your explanation, Sergeant Carter," she said with a nod of gratitude. "I know nothing of the war, but I am always interested in learning more about humans and life." A shame to know her country of origin had been against Carter's during the war, but the past was the past. They were not enemies here, which was nice. She enjoyed his company much like she enjoyed Utena's; they both seemed to be upbeat, happy people. Always smiling, even in this cruel, miserable place.

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