FANDOM


Thole Man
Summary: Brandon undergoes some...interesting changes.
Cast: McDowell, Volouscheur, Jantine, Ace, Norton, Ruin, Leodhais, Justine, Bremont
Air Date: 2006.11.17



Dead Fish Tavern <Greenville, New Luna>
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A large, wood-floored establishment with dim lights, and faded leather-and-wood booths lining the gray brick walls, it features real candle-lit chandeliers made from old ship's tills, and new-looking square tables lining the edge of the room. In the center, a large, lit dance floor takes up about a quarter of the floor space, and is well-worn from use. A holographic kareoke machine, a raised band platform, and a small DJ's booth make sure that the building is filled with music at all hours of the day. A polished wooden bar sits at the far end, with a thirty foot long stuffed Washingtonfish mounted on the bar's back mirror. It has been named Herbert, and is dressed in a new hat daily by the barstaff. A sturdy wooden door leads outside to Birthright Parkway.

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Fri Nov 17 14:34:52 3006


"I don't care, personally," says Norton as he grins. "But I'm not the end all be all of the government. If you're that worried about it, clear it with someone who cares."

Jantine just keeps listening in on the conversation, not really interested in voicing his own opinion.

"Well if you are going to be blunt about it then. Than we are finished here." Bremont replies before looking away from Norton.

"I'm just saying for clarification purposes thatme saying I don't care what you do doesn't mean that some flunky might not say otherwise; although, from what I understand, you have amnesty so you can do what you want," says Norton with his grin still fixed on his face as he lights up a cigarette.

Jantine looks to Nort kinda funny like, then turns back to his beer.

"Then we're clear. I will say that if you know anyone wants to do something about that. Well, I am not going to be hiding until the next ship leaves for La Terre. But you can count on me being on that ship when it does," says Bremont without turning her head.

Norton gives Bremont a thumbs up and a big grin. "You go get them, girl."

Her head still turned from Norton, Bremont says quickly, "I will." And then....nothing. The woman pushes the empty glass away from her.

Volouscheur walks into the tavern, aura glowing green-gold - although there's strands of white around her midriff. She looks around, heading towards a table and, as she walks, she pulls a flask out and, flipping it open, takes a sip from it before closing it and putting it away again.

Norton's hand drifts from giving Bremont the thumb's up to drinking his root beer. He grins around the cigarette that dangles from the corner of his mouth.

Jan finishes the beer. Placing it down on the counter, he seems to consider for a moment, before shaking his head.

Bremont apparently has had enough. She pays for her drink and rises to her feet. Without saying any further words to anyone, Bremont heads off towards the exit of the tavern. A click clack can be head as her heels connect with the wooden of the tavern.

"Looky, looky, Osligoth," says Norton as he grins at Scheur. "We got another chick who has quitting as their claim to militia fame. A slightly less dramatic quitting but quitting all the same. At least she had her meal ticket pay her way out."

Volouscheur offers a feeling of greeting to Jantine and Bremont. Norton gets a look that a finicky housewife might give to something the cat dragged in and didn't finish eating. ~Actually, my claim to fame, as you put it, would be that I was one of the best marksmen you had.~

Silence from Jan "They made their choice sir, not our decision whether they stay or not" 'Scheur gets a nod, before Jan follows Bree out. The other pilot at the bar, well, seeing his fellow pilot leave, he leaves too. although neither of them seem to be leaving /with/ the other two, just at the same time.

"Maybe in some wild, outlandish dream, but you'd better wake up from the dream and shoot yourself before you go around spouting off at the mouth like that, honey bunch," says Norton as he grins easily. "You may have been good, you may have been the best, but you quit unlike the rest."

Scheur's action is enough to cause Bremont to look over her shoulder and offer a fleeting smile. The action is not enough however to get her stop as Bremont's mind is already set on getting out of there.

The words are enough to get more than just a nasty look from Scheur this time - she gives Norton a very /Human/ gesture, aura frosted with chestnut. ~You, "sir," are an oaf. A disgusting one at that. One who ranks lower than an amoeba.~ She smiles icily, ~And now that I'm no longer a member of the Militia, I can actually /say/ that. Isn't that /nice/?~ She inclines her head to the barkeep, ~I've changed my mind, sorry; I prefer the company outside - it's less rude.~ And with that, she turns and heads back outside.

"Have a nice life, sweet cheeks," says a still grinning Norton as he takes out a psi blocker and turns it on.

Volouscheur is just within the two metre radius when Norton does that. She turns and gives him a look that ought to boil lead and then leaves, pulling out a PDA as she goes.

(A bit later..)


Independence Harbor <Greenville, New Luna>
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The land and sea meet uncertainly, salty blue ocean water giving way to thick hummocky estuary mud in a whisper of spent waves. The silt-laden waters of the Washington River snake out of the muck, pouring a fertile brown stain across the ocean. Sea birds with enormous wingspans wheel and cry like calligraphy against the sky. The long light wooden finger of the Independence Docks stretches out through a clear stretch of ocean with several small boats tied along it. It leads to a broad wooden platform of roughly split logs that's set on a patch of relatively dry ground and tethered against the lift of the tide. Upon this are some few wooden sheds and coils of rope, half-repaired boats and sailcloth. Crisp ocean scents struggle for dominance with brown organic decay and the smell of fresh wood.

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Fri Nov 17 15:24:20 3006


Jantine is leaning up against the railing, right arm placed on it, left arm hung limply at his side. He's staring out into the waters.

Volouscheur walks down from the landing pad, moving, perhaps, just a /bit/ unsteadily. She spots Jan, offering a feeling of greeting and heading towards him.

"Hey 'Scheur" Jan says softly, not turning to look at the Vollistan as she approaches.

~'Light, Jan,~ Scheur replies. She moves to stand next to him, offering, ~I called Norton a rude oaf lower than an amoeba before I left.~ She sounds quite pleased with this.

Jantine nods "That's good, he needs to hear that" Jan says, still on the softer side.

Volouscheur nods quietly, ~I know that, you know that...everyone but he seems to know that.~ She considers, ~We could probably make /him/ know that if he didn't keep turning on the Volir-besmirched psi-blocker...~

"He wears a psi-blocker?" Jan asks, sounds only half interested though.

~He does,~ Scheur confirms. ~And he's turned it on around Iast and I once - and around me three times now, counting the time Iast was there, too.~

Jantine nods "Those things really...make you feel unconfortable, right?" he asks, still staring out at the open water, he hasn't acctually looked at 'Scheur once.

~...uncomfortable isn't the word I'd use for it,~ Scheur replies. ~It's like having white hot shards of metal driven into your brain. And if you're also telekinetic, you get the addition of having someone scream white noise into your ear at the top of their lungs.~ She glances at Jan and then asks, ~What's wrong, Jan?~

Jantine nods to 'Scheur's explanation. As he's asked the question, he begins to open his mouth as if to say something. Then he closes it. "It's nothing" he finally says, turning to 'Scheur with a rather phony smile plastered on his face.

Volouscheur peers at Jan for a couple of moments. Then she sighs, asking softly, ~Jan.../please/ don't lie to me. It makes my brain all itchy. So. Do you want to tell me what's wrong, or do I get to use empathy to find out?~ She and Jan are standing on one of the wharves, leaning against the railing and talking quietly.

And enter one Brandon McDowell, who's looking rather pale and sick at the moment. The skin under his eyes are dark, and his good eye is squinting in the afternoon light. The man makes his way onto the wharf from the research center, stumbling a couple of times.

Jan blows out. "I'm being left behind" he says, turning back to the open water "Everyone I know is leaving the milita. I don't have a reason to leave, nor do I want to, but I feel like I'm being abandoned." he turns back to the Vollistan "Sorry 'Scheur...I..." he turns back to the water "Didn't want you to feel bad about it."

Volouscheur pats Jan's shoulder lightly, offering a feeling of comfort. ~We're not abandoning you, Jan. We'll still visit - and we still care about you. We just don't feel like we can work for the Militia any more.~

Garbage can, horrah! The Faux's security detail quickly makes his way over to it, heaving several times, but only dryly. On the back of Brandon's neck rests a medium sized, mottled purplish-brown... fungus?

And theres no answer from Jan, he just watches the water, he doesn't even seem to notice the heaving McDowell.

Ruin comes headed down to the harbor with Leodhais in tow. They seem to be chatting. "...and I'd have been quicker if I thought you were going to get into *trouble*.."

Leodhais is just grinning, having to trot rather fast to keep up with the long legged Lunite. "Sorry?" he offers.

Volouscheur and Jan are down on one of the wharves, talking quietly. They lean on the railing as they do so, Scheur glowing pale green, with touches of white around her midriff. McDowell has just staggered in their general direction, heading from the research center. The Vollistan /does/ notice the heaving McDowell, looking over towards him and frowning, ~...are...no, you're probably not alright. Can I help you?~ She straightens, heading towards him.

With jagged breaths, Brandon looks up towards Scheur, looking at her for a moment. He doesn't say anything.

Jantine still keeps looking out towards the water, seeming really to not care about what's going on behind him. Eventually, he turns and begins heading towards the landing pad "Bye 'Scheur" he says, unemotionally as he begins walking away.

Which puts him in Ruin's path. "Hey - hi?" he asks, surprised delight switching in the space of a syllable to his default state of Jan-worry. "What's up?"

The heaving man looks towards the Vollistan, his mind reaching out in a way that a human mind shouldn't. "Will these people shut up? They're... They're flooding us."

Leodhais gives Jantine the customary, if brief nod, his focus more on Volouscheur and...McDowell? "...hn?"

Scheur spots: You notice a faint glow in this mans eye, but only for a moment, but only when the left side of his face is in the shade.

As Jan walks over towards Ruin, he returns the nod to Leodh, before whispering soflty to Ruin "Not now, later" before he heads out, walking slowly up to the landing pad.

Ruin frowns at that, but lets Jan go - for now. Turning to Leodhais, he looks where Leodh's looking and - finally - sees McDowell. "...Oh dear."

Volouscheur blinks. And then blinks again. Okay, that? That's not normal. Scheur offers a feeling of comfort and reassurance to McDowell, ~You don't have any mental shields, do you? Do you want me to show you how to build some?~

<Empathy>Waves of dislike concern wariness a touch of prey-to-predator fear. eminate from Ruin.

Leodhais continues looking at him, but aside from Scheur tending to him, he doesn't notice anything wrong. He frowns a bit. "Yeah."

Brandon kneels down beside the garbage can, sweat breaking out on his brow. "A... what?" he asks, looking up to the Vollistan. "M... Mental sheild?" A shiver goes through his body, before he turns to one side and purges his stomach contents for real this time.

Ruin frowns. "...Mental shields?" he echoes. "Scheur, I think he needs a doctor. Or two. Is this a psychic thing or a physical thing?"

Volouscheur offers a feeling of comfort/reassurance to the general area. To Ruin, she says, ~I'm not sure; I think he just became psionic. I'm going to help him stop crowdthinking, and then I'll try and find out what's going on.~ To McDowell, she nods, ~Mind-shields. You're hearing the thoughts of everyone in the area without a shield of their own, aren't you? Shields help keep their thoughts out.~

Scheur, Ruin, and Leodhais are standing around on one of the wharves. Brandon is nearby, currently emptying the contents of his stomach onto the dock. Leodhais looks at him, nodding grimly at Ruin. While he can't tell much aside from the physical effects, he does know that, yeah, the man needs help. "...maybe pop into the hospital, see if I can get someone out here?"

Justine waltz on down onto the scene from the Landing Pad. A cig placed in her mouth, Justine walks casually down towards the Ferry Post when the group assembled on the wharf draws her attention. She removes the cig and pauses, observing what she can from where she stands.

"I didn't become psionic," The downed man grumbles, while beads of sweat trickle from his brow. "This... This Thole has always been like that... But not me." The man motions to the purplish-brown mottled fungus on the top of his neck. He raises his head, looking towards Leodhais and Ruin, then squints with his good eye. "Don't..." Another heave follows, dry again. "They'll only observe us and expirement... No hospital, right? They say that they were studied before and they don't want it to happen again." His voice isn't a whisper, more determined.

Not far behind Justine, Ace wanders down, the panels of her gray longcoat snapping around her knees as she walks. She slows her pace as she sees Brandon, then breaks into a trot, heading for his side.

"...I think he needs Voliast," is Ruin's verdict, "If that's what's wrong. What's that -" he stops with evident surprise as Brandon speaks. "...O-kay," he says slowly. "But you're really not well and ...um... whoever you are right now, the vomiting is not a good thing..." He looks at Scheur. "Do you know anything about the - whatever that is on his neck?"

<Empathy>Waves of concern and sudden what-the-fuck? wary surprise with a degree of skepticism. eminate from Ruin.

Volouscheur shrugs to Ruin, ~Yes, but Iast's asleep. We need another solution until he wakes up.~ After this, she returns her attention to Brandon, briefly offering a feeling of greeting to Ace.

Leodhais kneels down a bit, peering at Brandon carefully. "They wouldn't do that here," he says quietly. "They'd help you. Brandon...?"

From Volouscheur to McDowell: Scheur offers a memory of the training session she went through to learn how to do shields properly. ~See?~ she says, ~Put the wall up like /this/, support it from the inside...it'll shut the babbling out. It'll help.~

"Simple... I'm different to what they're used to. But I think we'll be fine without a doctor or anything, we don't need any help" Brandon states to those that are listening, before he pushes himself into a kneeling position once more. At the mention of Ace, he turns his attention towards the Ungstiri woman who's approaching. "Kapitan... H... How's things?" That's before he glances towards 'Scheur, and slowly nods.

"Shit!" Justine mumbles to herself when she finally recognizes the hunched over individual. The Lunite quickens her own pace, following Ace over towards the scene. She uses a hand to block the sun as she continues to try to see what is going on.

<Empathy>Waves of concern and confusion and still the nervy/anxious eminate from Leodhais.

From McDowell to Volouscheur: Brandon sends a weak reply to that. ~I'll try... Thank... Thank you... Can't concentrate, hurts.~ You do pick up on something else in the back ground, another sentient mind.

Ruin purses his lips at that. "Leodh, I think that depends on which 'you' you're talking about," he says slowly, but greets Ace's arrival with a nod of relief. "Kapitan," he greets. "Brandon's...um. Hit on something new, is the short version. Do you know what a 'Thole' is?" He seems hopeful the word makes sense to someone.

"What trouble have you gotten into this time," Ace says, her tone gently chiding as she drops to one knee beside the downed man. She opens her mouth to say something else and then stops, looking puzzled as she looks from Brandon to Scheur and then back to Brandon again, "Who is this Thole?"

~Or something new hit on him,~ Scheur offers helpfully. She shrugs to Ace, ~I'm not sure. There's not just him in his mind any more, though. I felt someone else in the background, when he spoke to me.~ Everyone's down on one of the wharves, focused on Brandon. Scheur glows green, streamers of apricot spinning around her quickly.

Down Jan comes from the landing pad. Seeing everyone still there the word "Great" escapes his lips, but he still walks slowly down towards the wharf.

"This thing on my neck is /a/ Thole," Brandon grumbles. The man puts a hand to stabilise himself and motion to the purplish-brown mottled fungus thing on the back of his neck. "They used to be numerous... A lot of them." More sweat drips from his brow. "They helped the ferretmonkeys." Brandon's pretty much kneeling down in front of a garbage can, looking worse for wear. He's sweating, shivering slightly and a small crowd has formed around him. He then slowly turns to look towards Scheur. "I'm still here, it's still there. No changes going to happen."

Leodhais blinks several times, standing straight, frowning. "...I think I'd better try to find that doctor," he says to no one in particular, and heads off.

"...Which says you spend all day every day heaving and dry heaving onto the pavement?" Ruin asks mildly. "When would you ever get time for all the other trouble you get into?" He looks to Ace. "Kapitan, he won't agree to go to a doctor or hospital, which'd be my first choice. You're his captain - any ideas what we should do?"

Norton surveys the scene on the wharf once he comes into view of it on his way from the landing pad. He grins and lights up a cigarette.

"Have you tried speaking with it, Scheur?" Ace puts one hand supportively on Brandon's back as she looks over at the Vollistan. "And first we need to find out why it has decided to attach itself to Brandon. A hospital, it may not be the best plan right now."

Justine doesn't know what to make of the sight before her as she slows up to join the crowd and her face reflects this notion. She flicks her cig out away from her and tries to nudge in to get a better view of the man in front of the trash can. For once, Justine is at a loss of words.

From Volouscheur to McDowell: Scheur offers a feeling of comfort, although concern leaks over as well, ~What hurts, where? Is there anything, besides the mind shield, that you think will help make it stop hurting?~

Volouscheur shakes her head at Ace, ~Only just sensed it. I'll try if/when he stops hurting though; I'd rather not cause more pain.~

Jantine doesn't seem to be too interested in the goings on at the wharf. As such, he begins walking slowly past the group towards the boardwalk.

Norton spots Jantine and grins, "Hey, turbo, what's the deal over there? Another drunk sailor puking his guts out into the trashcan usually don't attract that much of a following, you know."

Ruin sighs. "And Leodh's just run off to get a doctor," he says. "Thank God the man's short, I should be able to catch up and stop him." He gives Ace a quick bow. "Kapitan, I leave this to you and Scheur, but I'd love to hear about it after I've caught up to Leodh and gotten him sorted out, okay?" With a quick wave, Ruin takes off at a respectable run after the miniature Sivadian.

"Would you all just stop bloody thinking! I'm growing tired on the inane and ridicious thoughts that's going on!" Brandon yells, before shivering once more. "First thing... We need to get away from here, otherwise the researchers are going to take us back. We know what it's like, to be prodded and probed by... Them." The man slowly pushes himself to his feet with a great effort. His sole eye flickers towards Norton and Jantine and he studies them intently. "I'll explain more later."

Justine backs away slowly from Brandon and crew as the man rises to his feet. She observes the figure once more, frowning slightly as she shoves her hands into the pockets of her jacket. The Lunite contiues to remain uncharacteristically quiet in all of this.

Ace offers her support as Brandon stands, still frowning as she looks at the 'fungus' on the back of his neck. "Think the best bet is to get him somewhere quiet," she says to Scheur, looking back to Brandon, "Somewhere where there is not so much thinking, da?"

Volouscheur nods to Ace, ~My cave should work; it's nice and quiet there this time of day, and the mufflers I've got put up won't hurt either. And Iast's gone to sleep at a friend of his, who has some nice herb cuttings he wanted, so that'll cut down on the noise, too.~ She moves to offer Brandon some support too, if he wants. She glances around, frowning faintly as she spots Norton.

Jantine shrugs "Dunno sir" is his response to Norton. McDowell simply gets a strange look before Jan continues on towards the boardwalk, passing by the group.

"And /no/ ferretmonkeys," Brandon states, using the support that Ace and Scheur offer to him. "The researchers still think that we're... um... They're their property, so away from here, too." Sweat continues to bead on his brow and run down his face.

Norton just grins and delivers a salute of the single finger variety to Brandon. "Smooches, buddy. Luv ya. Invest in a psi blocker or hang out with idiots." Looking to the Vollistan, his grin grows wider, "Wait, wait, you got that angle covered already." He nods to the departing pilot.

Justine backs up and helplessly moves out of the way, standing at the edge of the dock. "Shit McDowell..." Justine mutters as she procures her pack of cigs from her jacket and proceeds to light one. Nothing else is said as she focuses in on her cig and getting out of the way of business.

Ace looks at Norton, his round face reflected in her mirrored sunglasses as she pauses for a moment, assessing the marine before she apparently finds him wanting. Letting Scheur help Brandon, she takes one wordless step towards the newly-made Captain...
And delivers a right hook, straight for his jaw.

The Captain takes said punch like a pro and goes down like a sack of potatoes. The cigarette falls from his mouth.

~The ferretmonkeys' property or the researchers',~ Scheur asks as she starts to help Brandon in the direction of the landing pad. And then Ace punches Norton and knocks him out. The Vollistan pauses, shifting so that she can support Brandon and get both hands together.
The next sound from her is quiet applause. ~He's deserved that for a while now,~ the Vollistan notes to Ace.

Brandon just gives Ace a long look, and then shakes his head. "Well... Our profile can't go any higher," he mutters as the Captain takes a dive and continues to use the Vollistan support. "A prudent cause of action may be to leave this scene as early as possible," he states to those that are listening. Then the answer for 'Scheur. "The researchers, or perhaps the government's."

Justine blinks and cringes as she witnesses the blow being administered. Justine nearly loses her cig in the process and mumbles something under her breath. She gives a glance over the scene once more before giving her head a shake at te all the crazy developments she has witnessed in such a short amount of time.

"Will probably get arrested for it," Ace says, turning her back on the fallen Norton, "But it will have been worth it. For now, though, let us get Brandon out of here."

Norton is still kind of sprawled out awkwardly on the ground.

~Can we wait a moment longer? I have a theory I want to test, involving psi blockers and water,~ Scheur asks. She considers and then adds, ~Psi blockers don't...explode or anything when they're submerged in water, do they?~

"Nah... I think they shit themselves unless they're sealed," Brandon remarks, but he doesn't say where that little bit of news is from. He closes his good eye, letting his head hang down. He shakes his head for a moment, before raising it and looking towards Justine for a moment. The man remains quiet, sweating and looking like hell.

The scene is finally too much for Justine. She can't decide what the hell just happened and is happening to everything , but has apparently decided that sticking around to figure it all out is not a good idea either. She takes a quick puff of her cig and heads for the Ferry Post with a shake of her head.

"They are fine in the water," Ace nods in agreement, looking back to Norton as Justine beats a hasty retreat. "But...you wish to do this now?"

~/Good/,~ Scheur replies. ~So far, it sounds like my theory is sound, then. I still want to test it though.~ She nods to Ace, ~He's unconcious now. I can get the psi blocker away from him without him turning it on or resisting. Besides, it shouldn't take more than a couple of moments.~

The off duty marine is still pretty much out for the count.

"Let's just get out of here now," Brandon remarks, as he looks towards the landing pad. "This isn't the time to being testing out theories, let him have his toy." He sighs, and then shakes his head not seemingly able to make his way on his own.

Justine turns towards the arrived Ferry and takes a step towards it. She halts and turns back towards McDowell and the rest. A frown creases on her face as she almost starts to head back towards the group. This notion is extinguished by a shake of her head and a puff of her cigarette. Justine turns back towards the ferry and moves to step on board.

"Have a psi blocker if you need to use it, but later, da," Ace nods in agreement with Brandon.

~It's not a toy if it causes pain,~ Scheur argues. Just the same, she sighs, seeming to have given up on testing her theory for now. ~Let's go to my cave, then.~

Norton's head rolls a bit to the side as he remains on the ground.

Ace nods and moves back to Brandon's side to help him, "Need to get him settled somewhere quiet and then see what you can see, da? Can experiment once we have a better idea of what is going on."

"Lets get out of here," Brandon repeats, shaking his head. His eyes still settled on the landing pad, even as Ace moves back to his side to help him. He takes a step forward on uncertain footing. He appears to be sweating more than before.

New Luna Transit Ferry toots a loud, cheery horn, and begins to chug away from the dock.

~You might have to punch Norton out again first, before I can try that experiment, though,~ Scheur notes. She starts to help Brandon make his way to the landing pad, streamers of cyan wrapping around her.

Norton moves one hand towards his jaw.

Ace shrugs, "If that is what you need..."

Brandon's pretty much ready to go, even in his weakened state. He's using Scheur and Ace as supports as they move off.

Norton is currently sprawled out on the ground with a good sized bruise forming on his jaw.

Volouscheur glances back briefly as Norton starts to stir. She keeps moving, helping Brandon to move as fast as possible.

As fast as McDowell can go, well, that's pretty slow and average. He keeps his head down, and moves in silence.

Well, unless Nort's about to get up and charge Ace with assault, Scheur and Brandon probably don't need to be moving at Road Runner-esque speeds just yet. So it's probably safe to say they make their get-away to the landing pad and onwards.

(Ace peels off to go deal with something on the Faux mid-way, but they make it back to the cave safely.)


"Volouscheur's Cave" <Greenville, New Luna>

The cave is middling-sized, about the same size as a bungalow. The entrance has a metal double-door across it, with a keypad on the left-hand wall beside it and a manual lock installed in the door closest to the keypad.
In the eastern side of the cave is a large pocket, with a curtain across it; it serves as a bedroom. There's a futon-like bed on the floor, large enough to hold three or four people comfortably, In the walls of the pocket, shelves have been carved to hold books and a small clock, while a lower shelf holds boxes of neatly folded clothes. There's a couple small lamps, lit by candles; they're usually kept unlit unless there's need for them.
In the northeastern end is a second pocket, somewhat smaller than the first. This contains the bathroom, and is also covered by a curtain. There's a ridge across the doorway, just before the curtain, to keep water from spilling out into the cave-proper; the floor has been finished, with green tiles, and there's a number of small drains unobtrusively placed around the room to catch any spillage.
There's a bathtub to the left, with the tub having been dug both deep enough and wide enough for at least three Vollistans to stretch out comfortably. There are holders for votive candles set into the tub's rim, and there's a shower nozzle set above the tub. The sink is to the right, with a mirror-door cabinet set above it; basic bathroom necessities are contained within, including large fluffy towels. Two candle-lit lamps (usually kept unlit) are stationed on either side of the cabinet. The toilet is between the sink and the bathtub, snugged up against the wall.
There's a small kitchen set up in the northwestern side of the apartment, although there isn't the kind of facilities one would expect to store much more than a couple of days' worth of food. The counter is made of a piece of flowstone, with a small nest of cave pearls half buried in it.
A flattened stalagmite serves as a table, the stone formation coming up to a Vollistan's knee. There's pillows strewn around it, serving as seats. A lap harp sits to the right of the door, alongside a full-sized harp. There's a stool near them and a wooden music stand with a full-looking leather folder sitting on it.
The walls are hung with tapestries that depict scenes from Vollistan folklore; most of them have been treated with a liquid that causes them to glow gently, lighting the room. Noticably, however, there are no tapestries that show Nall, either alone or interacting with Vollistans; the owner of this cave, it seems, has decided to exclude these scenes from her tapestry collection. Besides being lit with glowing tapestries, the cave is also lit with cave clouds that have been treated with phosphoresence-inducing products, causing them to glow a light blue-green.

Sat Nov 18 00:30:53 3006


Finally, Scheur and Brandon make it to the cave. Once she's helped him to a pillow and closed the door, it's...almost blissfully quiet, to a telepath. The psionic noise from outside is still audible - but it's like a radio that's been turned down low and placed several rooms away.

Brandon visablely relaxes as the noise is shut off. "Quiet," he mutters as he opens his good eye. That glow from his eye is more pronounced in the dimmer area. "Silence... I thought I was going to go crazy out there." He's still sweating and still looks nardo warmed up. "Mind shielding... How's it work... I don't understand anything that's going on."

~Too long out there and you might've,~ Scheur answers. ~Or you might've gone into overload and gone unconcious for a while. One of the two; generally back Home, it's overload, if someone's shields aren't working right.~ She sits down across from Brandon, ~Okay. Mind shielding...well, it's a shield - or usually, a series of shields - that keeps noise out. The stronger the shields are, the more you can keep out.~

The Thole carrier leans forward, resting his forehead in his palm. "I feel like shit... Is this part of not having shielding?" He starts to shiver again, even though he's sweating. "I feel different."

Volouscheur considers, ~Part of it might be not having shielding, yes. Part of it might be your body trying to get used to the Thole, though. Or trying to reject it; I'm not sure, exactly, what's going on there. And you /are/ different, now; you're psionic. Do you know if the Thole is boosting your natural abilities, or if this is part of its' natural abilities, or a result of symbiosis, or something else?~

"Back before the humans came... A long time ago, the Thole used ferretmonkeys," Brandon comments, as he shuts his eyes. "The labratory bred some of them... It's ironic, they won't make specialists, but another sentient species is a viable target."

~Not right,~ Scheur says, frowning. ~It wasn't right when it was Vollistans being used by the Nall. Just because it's not-Nall, not-Vollistans, doesn't make it right. What are they doing, in the lab?~

"Prodding and probing them in the labs, speeding up the breeding cycle," Brandon replies, slowly shaking his head. "But, the Thole didn't use ferretmonkeys in the way that the Nall used the Vollistan. They made them sentient."

Volouscheur nods, ~They.../feel/ like they could be, but aren't quite.~ She considers, asking curiously, ~Is their having to be in groups all the time a result of not being with the Thole, or is that something the ferretmonkeys have always had to have?~

"It's something they learned from the Thole," Brandon says, rather distastefully. "The Thole, while they can operate alone, they operate more effectively when... What's the best way to explain this." He pauses, taking deep breaths before continuing. "When they're clustered, think about a computer system having different nods. There isn't any particular controller, it's like a hive, but not."

~Groupmind,~ Scheur supplies. ~I think we have something similar, back Home. Lots of us, working together, are more powerful than just one alone. We can get messages cross-planet, that way, without having to use technology.~

"Groupmind," Brandon agrees, slowly bobing his head in agreement. "Simple term for what I was attempting to get across." He raises a hand up to wipe at his brow. "It is the more effective way of doing it, though I doubt your species and the Thole would mesh very well."

Volouscheur tilts her head to one side and blinks, ~In general, or the way you're meshing?~

"It's hard to explain, the Thole is pretty much using what I'm familiar with... You lack the... The abilities to take on a suitable host?" Brandon shakes his head, looking slightly confused. "The Thole is a collective. A true collective group mind, where all the individuals operate as one but still remain seperate."

~Ah.~ Scheur considers and then asks, ~Would it help if all three of us talked? Then the Thole could explain directly. Or does it have to talk through you, to be heard?~

"It can talk either way," Brandon comments, raising his head looking to Scheur. "But... Taking on a new host has worn it down a bit. Different bodies to what its use too."

~Would talking directly, with telepathy, be easier? Or is this easier,~ Scheur asks. ~I'm not going to ask it to do something tiring, if this is easier for it.~

"Give me and it some time, and we'll be able to help with further questions," Brandon remarks, with a tired smile. "We both appreciate what you have done for us, but I think my body is fighting at the moment. At the moment, there is much for both of us to learn about this changes."

Volouscheur nods quietly, ~If you need to rest, or food and water, you can rest here - and I will share what's here with you.~ She smiles back, seeming a bit tired herself.

"Thank you," Brandon replies, with a slow nod. "Let us know if you need anything to cover it. We have enough money to cover such trival things. But now, I think I'll rest and when I wake, hopefully I'll feel better."

Volouscheur nods quietly, ~I'll let you know, yes.~ She stands, ~I can lay out a pallet for you; I'm not sure if you'd be comfortable sharing or not.~

"I would, but my wife would complain if she heard the faintest rumour," Brandon comments, before laughing faintly. "She's going to kill me and it when she finds out what's happened."

~Pallet then,~ Scheur nods. She heads over to the bedroom 'pocket,' retrieving a smaller futon and dragging it out to the living room area. Some sheets, a pillow, and a blanket are also retrieved, and Scheur makes up the bed.

And by the time that Scheur returns, Brandon's already off in what could be a slumber. Rather fitful, but still silent.

Volouscheur gently moves Brandon into the bed she just made up. And then she packs herself off to bed as well - although she retires to the bed 'pocket,' rather than giving Solace something to complain about.

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