Logs:Small Dreams

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Small Dreams
Dramatis Personae

Aubrey, Nandini, Wendy


"I imagine most of these places don't set a very high bar."


<PRO> Defectory - Blackburn Research Facility

The sign by the door says "Refectory", though the "R" has at some point in the past been re-written with a permanent marker to a "D", and then been subject to a half-hearted attempt at cleaning. It's one of the larger rooms on this level, tiled with the same variegated pea-green linoleum throughout, its walls clean but bare of any decoration or relief for the eyes. The floor space is mostly taken up with long, rectangular tables with attached bench seating, a stainless steel counter at one end serving up bland, often overcooked, but reasonably nutritious food day in and day out. The acoustics are awful in here, rendering mealtimes loud and the occasional fights that break out here even louder.

If there's a Cool Clique table in the cafeteria, Aubrey definitely does not sit at it. He's hunched over a plate of stewed vegetables on overcooked pasta that's optimistically been labeled 'pasta primavera' over at the counter. His arm curls protectively around the plate, his eyes fixed on the food save for surreptitious occasional glances at the others around the room.

If there's a Cool Clique table in this desolate hellhole, it's likely Wendy orbits it frequently -- moreso in the time since Flicker has arrived at the lab and stirred things up with his presence. But today Flicker isn't here in the lunchroom, and Wendy is drifting away from the group she's been eating with lately. She sets her own uninspiring pasta down on the table, taking a seat across from Aubrey.

Nandini's proximity to Coolness is largely dependant on the presence or absence of her sister, but today she's just wandering the cafeteria listlessly, two full plates on her tray. She finally comes to rest at this particular out-of-the-way table. "Hi there, um..." Setting down her food but not herself, casting a slightly uncertain glance at Aubrey. "Mind if I sit here?"

Aubrey's arm tightens instinctively around his tray. He hunches further over it, eyes skipping up to Wendy as she sits. The tip of his tongue darts out to wet his lips, and he grips his fork tighter. His nod is very slight, after Nandini asks to sit. "Um, nobody else is. Sitting. There." The rich bass timbre of his voice is largely mitigated by its hesitant choppiness.

"I'm not going to take your food. I barely want my own." Wendy picks up her own fork, spearing a limp and soggy piece of zucchini. "You've been here for what, a year now?"

Nandini frowns and looks vaguely tempted to move on, but finally does just sit. "Just didn't want to be intruding if you were having a private conversation." She looks down at her food as if only reminded of its existence by Wendy's comment. Then sighs and starts in on it without enthusiasm.

"I -- no. I wasn't. Wasn't conversing with --" Aubrey shakes his head. "With anyone." He pushes his food around his plate, staring down at it rather looking up at Wendy. "Here like -- in this lab? It's -- not quite. Almost, almost, yeah. Almost a year. It's not -- quite as bad as the last one."

"I imagine most of these places don't set a very high bar." Wendy twirls up some of her pasta together with the zucchini. "They have you both working with other people here, right? How do they get you upstairs, generally? I mean, either of you could overpower your guards easily."

Nandini's fork pauses halfway to her mouth. "Some guards walk with me the whole way. I think they have the same machines as down here in the halls, ones that stop the uh...powers. But even with those off, I'm not sure I could overpower them, or at least not easily." She sets the fork back down. "I could make them drowsy, maybe."

Aubrey looks down at his plate, kind of wide eyed. "They just. They just take me?" he offers uncertainly. "I don't think I could -- um, you know -- anyway they're usually careful to not --" He drags a floppy pallid green bean slowly around his plate as he fumbles through his words. "There's so many guards up there, I could never. Overpower. Them."

"Drowsy guards are less effectual guards." Wendy munches her food somewhat mechanically. "There are a lot of them, though," she agrees. "Most of the time. You don't usually give them much trouble though?" Her brows have lifted, eyes training pointedly on Aubrey.

"Drowsy guards are still armed and trained to kill people," Nandini mumbles. "But, I mean...if there were a situation where doing that would actually accomplish something, I'm ready to give it a try. I just haven't seen one yet."

"What?" Aubrey looks up again with a hard shake of his head. "I mean in my last place I -- but you know what they do to you if you. If you give them trouble. I don't want." He blinks, shakes his head less vehemently this time, and nibbles at his sad green bean. "Doesn't seem like a lot of point."

"I know what they do." Wendy's voice is calm. She washes down her next bite of food with a large swallow of water. Then stands, taking her tray with her as she starts off toward her usual table. "Point, no point, I don't know. It doesn't hurt sometimes to dream, though."