The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Hitura Rael

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Sep 29, 2018
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#1
Discovering the Gunleon in it's current state was... something. James slipped his helmet off to rub his face with his left hand. His eye lids felt heavy and his mind numb. It had been too long a trip back, thankfully quiet after Merida had recounted the fight. She didn't need to tell him her suspicions of it's reactor type. Genion had alerted him the moment the power started to spike. Witnessing that blast made his skin crawl, the raw power enough to tell him exactly what drove the thing. And he'd have to report that to Selene... The thought of making that report lent the air around him enough weight to crush souls. He heaved a sigh and stepped out of Genion's cockpit onto the cat walk.

Merida soon joined him, the medical staff tending to her companion. She fell in beside James, one hand working at the hem of her shirt, "He's staying with us until he's feeling better."

"That's... fine," James sighed, he was not about to argue. "We can get the couch set up easily I guess. I don't know how we'll manage with privacy if he's out cold like this for days on end."

The eye roll could be heard in her voice, "Just use the bathroom to change. Or change in the living room. Not like neither Adrian or I have seen dicks before."

James stopped and stared at her, "... Merida, I don't have the necessary implements to explain you why I'm not doing that. Why do I have to change in the bathroom and not my room?"

She stopped several paces ahead of him and glanced back, that dangerous innocent wide eyed look on her face, "You owe me, remember? Selene stayed a few days in my room."

James groaned, "Thats-" He stopped himself. Did he want to argue that point? Did he really have the energy to stick his hand right in the bear trap she just set? "-fine. He can have my room for a few days."

Merida flashed a triumphant smile, "Good, I'll go ahead and get everything ready at the apartment."

She practically skipped her way down the cat walk and out the door. James groaned and scrubbed at his face with both hands. "Great... just... great."




When Adrian eventually did wake, he'd find himself nestled into an unfamiliar bed pushed up against the corner in an unfamiliar room. The smell of cologne lingered faintly in the air, a light spice that may spark a memory of the scent clinging to his sister on occasion. The grey-blue walls dimmed by shadows, curtains drawn, lights off. Of course, posters and other such decorative objects stood out against the light colored walls. Glow in the dark stars dotted the ceiling as well, patterned off of real world constellations that were visible from earth, not the lunar surface. The desk was clear of knick-knacks and memorabilia, a charging station for electronics neatly set up with multiple monitors. It was at least quiet, if one disregarded the noises from the apartment above and the soft chatter from beyond the door.
 

Theoran54

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#2
Adrian's whole world was pain for a few fleeting moments as his vision and mind filled with light and fire. Then it was extinguished just as quickly as it had come, leaving him cold and blind in the dark. And that was his perception as his body shut down from the sudden agony that he was forced to endure. It wasn't like he couldn't endure it. He was just unprepared and unexpecting. However the dreamless sleep (read forced unconsciousness) was probably the best rest he'd gotten in a long time. Hey, running your own business solo is tiring.

He awoke to darkness too though. Face pushed into a pillow he wasn't familiar with. Too bad for the original owner, he drooled when he slept on his stomach, as he was. The biggest change was the scent though. He wasn't familiar with the scent except when it clung to his sister during her visits. He had brushed it off and ignored it but this was impossible to ignore. "She put me in her fucking boyfriend's bed." He grumbled as he pushed himself up on a singular arm. He frowned at the mechanical framework and stump on his right arm, reflexively reaching up to rub it as he recalled the pain he had felt. He finally let his eyes wander the room though, glaring at all the knick knacks and decorations quietly. "I need to leave." He muttered to himself as he pushed his legs off the edge of the bed and got to his shakey feet, then started staggering towards the door.

He pushed the door open with no ceremony, maybe a bit too agressively as it bounced off the opposite wall with a thud. He cringed at the sound that announced his presence to the rest of the apartment. He took in a deep breath then let it out as he moved through the apartment in search for shoes and arm, abandoning any pretense of stealth.
 

Hitura Rael

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#3
In the hall, the smell of tomato and herbs hung heavy. It was decorated on the left side with pictures of James' family, newly including pictures of him with the Queen in casual, and to the right Merida's pictures of her family. The force of Adrian's opening of the door knocked one of the pictures behind it off the frame, one of James with both sets of his parents, Selene, and Gerart when the trio were much younger.

Merida jumped at the unexpected bang then shatter, nearly jumping out of her skin. She lifted her magnifying goggles off to glance down the hall from her perch on the couch. She sucked in air between her teeth at the sight of the broken picture frame. "How are you feeling?" she asked loudly enough to carry down the hall. She set Adrian's mechanical arm on the coffee table and got up to move down to him. "You probably shouldn't be up and about yet. James is making dinner if you're hungry. He's... a decent cook."

"Excuse me but I am a GREAT cook." He called down the hall, giving Merida an exhausted glare. There was a reason he didn't want to sleep on the couch. Hell, he'd have risked sleeping on the floor of his room or in the bed WITH the stranger rather than sleep on the couch. Merida didn't sleep at reasonable hours and she didn't have the room to work in her room. He'd just... have to deal with that. He could perform his duties on half sleep, no problem.

The living room connected to the kitchen, separated by a half wall. A three seat couch and an arm chair filled the room nicely, a coffee table with Merida's tools scattered about the surface between them. A large TV was mounted on the far wall. Decorations were a clear compromise between the two, a rotation of flowers and landscape paintings. It was unclear which of the two had done the decorating, if either.
 

Theoran54

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#4
The shattering of the picture hitting the ground caused Adrian to flinch and step away from the wall. Then another flinch from Merida talking to him. He couldn't quite order the words right in his head as she spoke rapid fire to him. And with the smell adding on it gave him a sense of overstimulation. He halted when Merida approached, reaching a hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose and leaning into the wall for support. Head throbbing, throat parched, stomach growling but also threatening to come up. He took a deep breath as he waited for the talking to stop.

As soon as his body allowed he opened his eyes to look at his sister. "I...just want to go home. I want my arm, my shoes, and my mech back in my shop. Im going to have to close up for a while longer. Its going to be hard on my wallet considering we're coming back with what I'm assuming is nothing for scrap or salvage." He spoke slowly. Deliberately. But every word took energy he didn't have to spare. He took another shaky breath and moved to stand up straight but the motion caused his head to think he was spinning and he used his hand to steady himself this time.

Hopefully she wouldn't argue with him. She had to understand. Unfamiliar and unknown location, exhaustion and discomfort. Her of all people had to know how he was feeling. He tried his best to give her a pleading look, but it would not be beyond him to just force his way out. He has been known to do that sort of thing when he's extremely uncomfortable. Fight or flight is a hell of a thing.
 

Hitura Rael

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#5
Merida knew that look. She moved back against the wall carefully and waved her hand past him at the broken frame. She lowered her voice, speaking quietly to him, "It's a little late to go tonight, and you still look disoriented. I'll take care of this. Let's go to the couch, your arm's on the table." She gave him a small smile and gently laid her hand on his back. She applied light pressure to guide him down the hall to the couch, dimming the lights as she passed them. She released Adrian to sit down on the couch or in the chair, then moved the tools and Adrian's arm toward him, letting him have at them to finish up maintenance if he so desired. Once he was settled, she moved around to dim the rest of the lights.

James watched Merida curiously, though with something of a stunned expression. He had NEVER heard her talk quietly before in the years they had been room mates. Was this even really his room mate or did she get body snatched out there and replaced with one a little more quieter and considerate? Nope, that was Merida. That warning glare she shot him said it all. With a sigh, he dimmed the lights in the kitchen and fumbled about in the dark to finish with the pasta. He grumbled, "Dinner will be done in five."

Merida nodded and slipped into her room, fetching a few of her fidget toys for him to set on the table. "Take your time, relax. We'll stay quiet and go at your pace. James, this is my twin brother Adrian. Adrian, that's my room mate James."
 

Theoran54

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#6
Adrian let his sister guide him, chewing his lower lip lightly. The apartment was small it seemed, not much room to sneak out so he accepted his fate. He kept his eyes squinted, glad that Merida was taking the initiative of turning down the lights so that he wasn't as overwhelmed by stimulus. When he was put on the couch, he glared quietly at his arm on the table. He wanted to grab his arm but he didn't know if anyone had done anything to it. "No...no one adjusted anything on my arm did they?" He asked quietly, examining it from a distance.

When it didn't seem like it'd fall apart if he picked it up, he sat back on the couch and put an arm over his eyes while Merida introduced him to her...roommate. Right. Roommate. He didn't know if he bought that. He didn't even respond with a wave. Rude yes, but technically Adrian was being encouraged to stay here instead of being let to leave, so prisoner in a fashion.

After a few moments of quiet and eyes covered he finally sat up and grabbed what looked like a large fighter carrier but was actually a stress ball and squeezed it until his hand crampped, causing him to his and loosen his grip. He repeated this process quiet a few times. "I can...still feel it." He muttered, referencing the pain in his non-existant arm and by extension the burning in the rest of his body. It wasn't as though he was actually in pain, but the memory was so intense and fresh.
 

Hitura Rael

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#7
Merida glanced up from the pile of stimulation toys to stare at her brother for a moment. A strained look crossed her face as she picked up cube that clicked when the button was depressed. She rapidly clicked it while glancing down at it. Only a hint of snark bled into her tone at first, "No, it didn't look damaged when I took it off you so I didn't bother it. I figured it was less dangerous to you if it was off."

"She'd stab me with a fork if I even looked at it." James chimed in from in the kitchen, clattering plates and glasses around. He set everything up to plate effectively once everything was done. He just had to toss the pasta in the sauce. In the dark. Without making a mess...

Merida stopped clicking after a moment and set it back down on the table. She sank into her chair and leaned forward, rubbing her hands over her face. What a mess. She tensed at the sound of her brothers quiet voice, "Yeah. You always have..." She remembered the after math of his accident well. The constant pain, the drug addiction, nearly losing him... Well this was definitely not something she wanted to talk about, let alone with James in the room. It was a family matter. She reached over to pat her brother on the leg. "I don't have anything that would help I think. We barely keep anything for headaches in the cabinets."

James dished up the two plates and brought them out to the front to set them as quietly on the table as he could. "We might have something in the first aid kit. Pretty sure I just restocked that before the ZONE imploded."
 

Theoran54

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#8
A flare of anger went through him, but quickly doused itself. She doesn't understand, and she wont ever understand...unless she lost a limb herself. "It's not the same as before. It feels fresh. Like it just happened. And my body feels like it was burned from the inside." Adrian let out a shuddering sigh. "And what do you mean the zone imploded? I don't really remember anything after that machine caught Gunleon's arm. I think that's when I blacked out." Adrian looked between the two of them, squeezing the soft stress ball in his one hand.
 

Hitura Rael

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#9
"Uhh... a while back. Don't worry bout it." He wasn't going to step up and remind anyone of the ZONE incident. Less flack from associating with Enfield that way. He wasn't ashamed of the man, but boy he did not feel like dealing with that today. James returned to the kitchen to fetch drinks. "So, water? soda? milk? ...Beer? I think we still have some from game night..."

Merida sat herself up, picked up her fork, and moved noodles around on her plate through the sauce, "We should but you'll be the one replacing it if he wants it." She frowned and sat back, dropping the fork to her plate. "You activated something within the Gunleon, and I'll bet it was the sphere. When James taps into the one he has, Genion gets stronger and can do weird things."

"Like blow things up snapping her fingers." James beamed, "I'm thinking similar to you Merida. Except instead of getting bigger and faster, Gunleon turns into a mini nuke. Which... brings us around to something I didn't want to press on you yet. I'm going to have to report this to Selene." He mentioned the queen's name so casually, it still felt weird months later. He'd never get used to that he wagered. "There's not much I can do to mitigate that, I kinda have to explain that energy signature. But... I can fudge the truth a li-" He frowned at Merida as she coughed on her food, the sound devolving into a snickering laugh. "Hey, I can omit the truth just fi-" He cut off again with a glower, Merida's laughing growing louder.
 

Theoran54

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#10
Adrian just quietly let them talk, eyeing the food disinterestedly. He wasn't familiar with the event to be fair since he'd rather keep his head down and not get involved in anything. He waved off James with his offer of a drink. Merida started talking about what ever happened with Gunleon. "Am...I supposed to know what a sphere is?" It was a simple enough question right? Probably not, but Adrian didn't know that.

Adrian sighed, putting down the stress ball then rubbed his face before single handedly removing his shirt and grabbing his prosthetic to put it on with a few deft tweaks and clicks. It could be heard powering up and activating. While it did that though... "If you tell the queen am I going to get dragged into something I don't want to be a part of? Am I going to have to forfite my mech? Should I just sell it now and take off?"
 

Hitura Rael

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#11
James sighed and sat down with his food, leaving three bottles of water in the center of the table. He almost missed the edge of the chair, occupied with staring at Adrian's shirtless form. Thankfully, the darkness probably hid the blush of embarrassment on his face. "Well, knowing Merida's obsessive nature with Genion's maintenance and you also being a mechanic in a family of mechanics... I assume you looked under the hood at the engine?"

"The giant glowy green ball. And I promise his foods not going to give you the shits like mine." Merida said bluntly, calming herself down with a shit eating grin plastered on her face. She knew full well James was probably staring at her brother. She'd purposefully kept pictures of him hidden just for the eventuality they'd meet. She could only fend the family off from visiting the apartment for so many years. Just wait til he met their parents!

James shook his head at Merida and focused on trying to eat. And sneaking glances up at Adrian. "I don't know what she'd do. If you asked me before ZONE if she'd stab me in the back I'd tell you no. If you asked me after ZONE I'd say yes. Now I'd say maybe and that's why I don't turn my back on her." He shrugged, "It's a gamble. She could try to conscript you, she could leave you alone, she could try to take it. If your hyena of a sister didn't laugh her ass off every time I say I'll fudge the reports you'd have probably heard over her snickering that I am not above lying to her."

"Except he couldn't lie to save his life." Merida chuckled again.

James flicked a tortillini off his fork at Merida, "I'll do what I can to protect you, but I'm not very good at direct lying."
 

Theoran54

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#12
Adrian wasn't particularly hungry, eyeing the food more and not touching it. He crossed his arms, trying to restrain his glare at them. How was he supposed to know about some...what did they say, green glowing ball? There was no glowing ball, but there was an orb of some sort. He just assumed it was a fuel source and he hadn't had it long enough to actually do too much research on it with his busy schedule. With a sigh he leaned back into the couch and closed his eyes, just letting them talk about things he had no idea about. That was until the end. "Protect me from what?" Simple enough question, right?

What in the entire universe would he need protection from? The queen and the government? Probably...but if Merida was right this was the queen's brother. If Adrian's arm had speakers on it they'd be playing proximity claxons. He didn't like this now...things were getting to close to being on a watch list and he didn't like this idea. He'd rather just stay on some obscure resident's list and taxes. He had a business to run, he wanted to keep a hold of his freedom. He couldn't afford, or allow, himself joining the military.
 

Hitura Rael

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#13
"I can double check and make sure it is a sphere," Merida sighed. The look on Adrian's face said everything she needed to know. He didn't know what she was talking about.

James shrugged, "Trouble. But the trouble I've had might just... you know-"

"Be entirely on your own head, Mister run-away?" Merida smirked at him.

James nodded and shoveled food into his mouth. "Some asshole tried to kill my brother for the sphere in Genion and us by extension. I'm told I gave him quite a beating before Gerart snapped me out of my little red space." He swallowed his food and hung his head slightly, cheeks going red. "I'm sorry, I'm the reason Merida has issues right now. I went completely off the rails with her in the cockpit and traumatized her."

"I still haven't beat your ass for that either." She huffed, "But it's not necessary. You did your best in an extremely stressful situation and we just... got caught in the crossfire of a fugitive being apprehended. The psycho wasn't after us and his damn escort didn't give two fucks about our own colonies."

James nodded and set his empty plate down. "Yeah, working to purge people like that from the ranks. Anyway... I don't have to be specific enough in the reports... and I doubt Selene would do much more than keep an eye on you. Hell, if you're as good as Merida with repairs... might even be able to get you some work. There's still so much to fix. She's really not as cold and heartless as she appears... most of the time. I just have to be very careful and pick proper times for stuff. Like not pranking groups of nobility. Stuffy boring people I tell you, no sense of humor."