Logs:Take Me To Church

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Take Me To Church
Dramatis Personae

Aubrey, Flicker, Jamie


"They think they have us, but we have each other. And we have a plan." (Set in the Blackburn Prometheus facility.)


<PRO> Wreck Room - Blackburn Research Facility

The sign by the door says "Rec Room", but someone with a permanent marker bookended the first word with "W" and "k" at some point, and the subsequent effort to undo the vandalism was lackluster. Inside it is not usually that much of a wreck, though it might be more interesting if it were. One corner is dedicated to the reasonably sized flatscreen television mounted on the wall, with several rows of folding chairs arrayed before it. Another is centered around a set of tacky vinyl sofas bracketed by two bookshelves largely stocked with supermarket checkout paperbacks (about half James Patterson by volume, with Danielle Steel heavily represented, and there are at least six copies of Fifty Shades of Gray at any given time). The rest of the space is more modular, but usually plays host to several card tables ringed with folding chairs, supplied by a shelf of games, from playing cards to chess (with a couple of improvised pieces) to three different flavors of Monopoly.

Flicker isn't entirely looking his best lately. His usually neatly combed hair has been shaved off down to some patchy stubble, there is fresh bruising on his wrist, and he's markedly lost weight since his arrival here. Sitting curled up in a corner of one of the vinyl couches in fresh and neat scrubs with his new copy of The Book of Mormon in his lap, right now he looks more tired than anything else, his cheek resting heavily on his curled knuckles in the long intervals between turning each page.

Sitting beside Flicker, Jamie looks small and tired, though he wears no marks of physical injury. Also clean and in fresh clothes, he's reading a thick and tattered copy of Atlas Shrugged, a deep frown etched into his brows, his head shaking occasionally, though it's hard to say whether in disagreement or simple incredulity.

Aubrey looks much the same as he comes slinking in. A little bit rumpled, some flyaway hairs wispy around his face but the bulk of his long brown hair pulled back into a loose ponytail. He's hugging the beat-up old Bible from off the bookshelves close to his chest, and hesitates noticeably before approaching the couch. His tongue flicks against his lips, his eyes darting to linger a long uncertain stretch on Jamie. It's Flicker he ultimately approaches, though. "Hi, um, are you. Are you busy?"

Flicker uncurls his legs, setting his feet back on the floor. He looks up -- to the Bible then Aubrey, his hand lowering to rest across the pages of his book. He manages a smile, small but genuine, as he straightens. "Nothing that won't keep. What's up?"

Jamie looks up from his book, too, at the approach, and gives a small, awkward wave when Aubrey's eyes linger on him. When the gaze continues, though, he looks down, suddenly very interested in Aubrey's shoes.

"I just --" Aubrey fidgets, his fingers tapping against the Bible's cover. "The others say you're -- I wanted to --" He shakes his head, rocking back on his heels. "I don't really know how to. Start this, I'm sorry if. If this is weird, I just." He hesitates, sitting down on the floor in front of the couch. "My gramma used to take us to church sometimes," he settles on uncertainly. "But that was a long time ago. But you seem so." Another hesitation. "How do you keep that up. In here."

"I -- it's not easy. I don't know if I'm doing -- great at keeping it up, honestly." There's a very faint pinkening that creeps into Flicker's cheeks; his eyes flit sideways to Jamie for a bare instant. "But I'm trying. I don't think there's any -- trick to it? I know who I am. And who God wants me to be. I just try to make sure those things are as close as I can get them. If anything, it's more important in here. They take so much else from us already."

Jamie's shoulders hunch inward, his eyes dropping back to the book still open in his lap. "In some labs, people hold prayer circles, bible study groups, things like that. It probably helps for some, and the staff generally doesn't care." His skinny shoulders hitch up. "A lot of guards are willing to sneak in religious paraphernalia, especially if it happens to be their religion." He glances at The Book of Mormon thoughtfully.

"Is one of the guards Mormon? Is that like. Can you be Mormon and --" Aubrey glances towards the door, scrutinizing the guard standing by the door. "This just doesn't seem like. Like something God would. I don't know." He tucks his hair behind his ear, pulling his legs up near his chest, his ankles crossed and his arms wrapping around his shins. His head tips back up toward the others. "Have you ever -- maybe -- thought about running something like that? Here?"

"It was one of the custodians who gave this to me. I don't think he's Mormon. He just -- just wanted to help. Still wants to help." Flicker slides down off the seat, sitting on the floor against the base of the couch. He curls up one leg beneath him, resting his book on the floor between himself and Aubrey. "The first time I was in here I was so mad at God. I didn't do much praying. And this time I -- I didn't think anyone would be interested, I didn't want to." His cheeks flush deeper. "I'd be happy to pray with you, if that's something you want." He drags his teeth slowly against his lower lip, adding, quieter, "-- or maybe when we get out you could come to church with me."

Jamie runs his fingers along the worn fore-edge of the book, no longer paying it any attention. "I don't think God would approve, but people have always done awful things with His name on their lips." He closes Atlas Shrugged. "I'm not religious. Anymore." He gives a small, joyless smile. "But if praying might help get us out of here, I'll give it another try."

"That's true." Aubrey rocks slightly forward, slightly back. "Were you? Before? What did..." He looks up at Jamie again, but only briefly. Looks back down at his feet after. "Sorry, that's personal, I shouldn't --" His brows crease suddenly, his head shaking. "When we get out? We're not getting out."

"I pray every day," Flicker replies softly, "but if we're going to get out of here -- and I think that we are -- we're going to need to give God some help." He leans back against the couch, hand bracing against the floor beside him. "We have a plan in mind. But it's going to need your help."

"Yeah, but -- me and the Church just didn't see eye to eye on some things." Jamie shrugs, leaning forward and propping his chin up in the palm of one hand. "We're getting out," he says, soft but certain. "You've seen how lax they are with us both."

"My help?" Aubrey shakes his head fiercely, then immediately cringes, shoulders hunching up around his ears. "I can't -- I mean, you know what they do to -- you don't think we could actually --" He licks at his lips again and plucks at the hem of his pants. "They'd kill us. They'd definitely kill you."

"Probably, yes. If we fail. But they're going to kill us all in the end anyway. They don't just let people back out of here." Flicker's voice is soft, but very steady. "I understand if you'd rather not. I'm not going to pretend it won't be dangerous. I'd just rather give everyone the chance at a free life again. And I think you two are our best shot."

Jamie tenses at Aubrey's prediction, but though he's gone a bit paler he slides off of the couch to kneel on the floor with the others. "We can do it, Aubrey." His voice is quiet but fervent. "They think they have us, but we have each other. And we have a plan."

Aubrey's eyes have grown wider; it's slow and uncertain when he lifts them to meet Jamie's. "What do you want me to do?" There's an unsteadiness in his rich voice. His eyes lower again. "When we get out of here, though. You really do have to take me to church."