Logs:The Birthday Party

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The Birthday Party
Dramatis Personae

Nanami, Kelawini, Astrid




Rift! Mutant Super Jail - Entertainment Room

One of the few rooms the recently captured mutant children are allowed to occupy at prescribed times is notated by a small black placard just to the right of the door with “Entertainment” etched in white. Beyond the door is a spartan space - brick walls painted over in a medium gray with the only source of light coming from a set of sick fluorescent tubes set in the ceiling equally spaced apart. One side of the room has a dusty flat screen television mounted onto the brick while a bookshelf leans up against the opposite wall. Four rows of six metal folding chairs occupy the space in between.

The TV is currently on with the volume set to mute. An old sitcom plays that seems vaguely familiar to those that are television junkies, but something just seems slightly off about the show. One of the folding chairs is missing from the back row, having been moved across the room and placed directly in front of the book shelf. Occupying the uncomfortable chair is Astrid, dressed in the prison issued beige pants, matching beige sweatshirt and white slip-on canvas vans. Her left leg is crossed over her right knee, chin resting squarely in both palms as she stares at the rows of tattered book spines. Despite the clean, but subdued clothing, the gangly teen looks rather rough with her dirty blond hair tangled and thin, little cuts criss-crossing along all exposed skin.

Nanami is looking much the same, the exceedingly drab uniform making her drawn and pale face look even more washed out. Her hair has been tied into two loose braids hanging down over her shoulders, her steps a little dragging and her expression sullen as she trudges inside -- but she freezes in place when she sees Astrid. There's a complicated series of changes that flash across her face -- eyes widening then narrowing, cheeks sucked in, lips twisting -- and a moment later she's speeding up, tugging at her sister's sleeve before beelining toward the other girl and fwumping to sit on the ground beside the chair. "Oh no," is the first thing out of her mouth, "whole time here I was just thinking, thank God they don't got the rest of you."

Kelawini, dressed much like the other two girls, trails her sister into the room. Her hair is a loose tumble of curls, her eyes a little red, and she moves with a kind of sluggish reluctance. She does not look at the television, does not look at any of the other inmates, does not seem to register anything about her environment at all until Nanami tugs on her sleeve. She does follow, now, though she's slower to sink down to the floor beside her sister." she adds. Her eyes take in the cuts that cover Astrid, and life seems to return to her in an abrupt sweep. "They wen hurt you!" She practically bristles, trembling with fury. Then, uncertainly, "Or uh...did you..." She mimes an explosion with her hands.

Astrid’s attention is jerked from the book shelf as the sounds of a familiar, yet unexpected voice reaches her ears. At first she just twists her neck, looking wide eyed at the teen that just plopped onto the floor beside her. “You aren’t supposed to be here.” She says flatly, twisting around now so she’s facing both Nanami and Kelawini. “Neither of you.” She takes her glasses off, placing them down onto her right thigh so that the arms pinch both sides of her leg to stay in place. Her head drops as she begins rubbing both eyes with the heel of her palms, taking several seconds to soak in the ramification of what exactly has unfolded before her. Glasses are replaced as she nods to the hand gesture of her exploding. “Just you two or did they get…” Her words trail off.

"Gae here. Somewhere here." Nanami's shoulders sag at this. "Why, Ionno, he's not even one of us." She breathes out quick and sharp, pulling her knees to her chest and wrapping her arms tightly around her shins. "We wen found it. The way home. On our way to tell you all but boom -- well." She's looking at Astrid's cuts now with a small grimace. "Not like that kine boom. Just some big bots, snatch us all up. They get --" She's hesitating now, eyes flicking around the room before returning to Astrid. Cautious, "You here alone?"

"Fakkas lock um up for helping us, too, mebbe," Kelawini says darkly. She tugs at her hair, twisting a lock of it between her fingers. "None of us should be here," is a little louder, a little more vehement. She drops her hair, her hands balling into fists. But then all at once the fight seems to leave her and she slumps again. "You think by now--" This cuts off with a frustrated shake of her head.

Astrid’s head starts nodding, bobbing up and down in a slow, lethargic rhythm. “It makes no sense. This place makes no sense.” She looks between the two sitting on the floor. Lips begin to part, but immediately close as both shoulders slump down and she sinks into the metal folding chair. “Got everyone in the pizza barn.” There is a minute pause. “They were safe.” She begins, head shaking back and forth. “I’m not sure what happened, but they were safe.” Her words begin to speed up, heading towards a frantic pitch. “I swear I didn’t know it was coming… I swear…” There is a heavy tone of exhaustion in her voice and an overwhelming guilt. “I am so sorry they got you too.”

"Oh no," Nanami's expression falls in time with the slump of Astrid's shoulders. "Oh no. I tink mebbe..." She shakes her head hard, glancing towards the jarringly not-quite-correct television and then back to Astrid. "No sense. We wen got so close, we found it, we found help, but -- but." Her chin digs hard against her knees. "Didn't know what? How you gonna know those fakkas coming for you? Or -- you mean --" Another glance to the other girl's face. Her brow knits deep. There's a stretch of quiet. "Were safe," she says finally. A little numbly. "Are -- did everyone -- they all make it?"

Kelawini seems to hold out some small hope until Astrid actually confirms the entire group with her had been captured. Then she groans and slouches harder. "If we stay togeddah we coulda protected you," she grumbles, her eyes staring daggers into the dingy floor between them all. "Mebbe..." If she was about to elaborate on their chances of coming away from an encounter with Sentinels she's quickly sidetracked by her sister's question. Her eyes go a little wide and focus on Astrid, frantic. "What wen happen?"

“Yeah… they’re safe now.” Astrid’s volume dips low, almost dropping the last word entirely. Her response doesn’t fully answer their questions, leaving much open for interpretation and whether or not everyone is ok. She sits back up, mustering a modicum of energy. “So you saw it? The way home?” Her eyes flit around the room, frantically searching for some sort of window or hole she can see the outside world from, but of course she knows there is none and slumps back down in defeat. “Do you think we are really safe here?” She says barely above a whisper.

Nanami doesn't look entirely reassured, shoulders still tense, arms still tight, gnawing at her lip and looking between Astrid and her sister with a deep frown. "Here? Safe? Fff. Back home I heard some nightmare stories, what happens in prison to us, I don't think it'll be better in mutant genocide land." Her voice drops lower, hushed. "You think Gae he tell it true? Even home they been doing us lidis? But quiet, like?" Though even after this question her expression just crumples into something flatter. "-- guess it don't matter. We not getting there. Die in prison most like... and even if we get out, what we found --" She hesitates an uncomfortable moment. "The way home, they got it guarded good-good. So many dem bots."

Kelawini doesn't look up. She just nods along with what her sister says. Eventually, "Gae, him I believe. It no true what he tell us fo? He also wanna go home." She doesn't sound as confident as her words, though, curling up on herself. "Most like," she agrees, her anger returning as quickly as it had gone before. "If we no fight um we die here fo sho."

Astrid just shakes her head, remaining quiet for several seconds. She shifts around on the metal chair, trying to find a position that will feel remotely comfortable. The fact that she immediately starts shifting again proves it’s still yet to be found. “Honestly? I have no idea.” She lowers her head again, this time pressing the heels of her palms into her forehead. “Faaaack.” She exhales. “Wait?” Head snaps back up as she looks back and forth between the Mahoes, clearly not tracking. “What did Gae say?”

"The night we decide to split up, I mean --" Nanami chews at her lip again. "That our government been rounding mutants up. Into lockup for years. Doing experiments. All kine things. Like there's no safe to go back to." She shrugs, small, dropping her chin to her knees. "Rather be unsafe with family, though." Her fingers pick twitchily at the coarse fabric of the beige pants. "We found his family. His -- not family. Other family. They were gonna help get us home. Maybe --" There's a small glimmer of hope blossoming again in her voice. "They knew we wen go for you. Knew we come back bumbye. Maybe we done come back, they'll come looking."

Kelawini gathers herself at Nanami's realization about the Tessiers. "Yeah! They know, but..." A little skeptically. "What they gon do? Not like they some superheroes." Her frown is suddenly thoughtful. "Back home, Mister Te--" She catches herself. "Gae his brother back home--I hear he mebbe...is some kine superhero." This is, admittedly, extremely skeptical. Even more skeptical, "So, what, we just--wait?"

“Oh.” Astrid more mouths the word than speaks it. Clearly she was expecting something else, something that may have proved revelatory since the second group split even further. “Yeah, I was… I… I’m not even sure what I was thinking.” If she could slump down any further she would. Then she starts thinking of her own not-family that could possibly exist in this world. Wondering if there is another version of her out there somewhere. Slowly, she begins to straighten herself out, sitting upright. Maybe it’s that spark of hope in Nanami’s words, Kelawini’s skepticism, or something else entirely. “Wait… so you’re saying the Tessiers of this world know we are here?” She sits up straighter. “Do they know we are here here?”

"I don't know." Nanami's voice has grown smaller. She turns her head down, forehead tucked against her knees. "I don't know. Maybe they just know we gone, and not come back. We wen..." She hesitates, looks back up, takes a deeper breath. "We went to their house. Tried for get some help. Then gone back to get the rest of you but got caught before we could..." She examines Astrid's face again uncertainly. "We been quicker, maybe, we all be eating birthday cake at home by now. I'm sorry."

"How they know we hea?" Kelawini asks, though this sounds less like challenge and more like wondering. "Gae say they got some connections." Her shrug is jerky and exaggerated. "Quicker, slower, no way we know," she says dully. Tries for levity next, though she doesn't quite make it, "At least I catch you up again. Don't need no cake fo get older."

“You’d be eating birthday cake.” Astrid corrects, looking to Nanami while trying to force out a smile and a choked laugh. “The rest of us would still be here because of -“ She holds up a balled fist before quickly splaying her fingers out. “Sorry we are here for your birthday.” Absentmindedly, she tilts her head forward and starts scratching at the base of her neck. “Sorry we are here at all.” She bites down hard into her bottom lip, eyeing the depressing room they occupy. “They probably don’t know we are here then, right?” She leans forward, digging elbows into knees. “So we shouldn’t wait for them. Not even sure what we could do, but anything would be better than waiting around to die.”

"Don't go getting all high maka maka just 'cuz you have a birthday now, I'm still older." Nanami is trying to sound cheeky here but the humor, too, falls a little flat. Even the attempt at levity seems to perk her up a little, though. Sitting up straighter, shoulders squaring out of their slump. "Yeah. Yeah. We see the oddas, we talk to them, yeah? We got this far. We can get farther."