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I don't know what I'm doing — Eridanus

I don't know what I'm doing

Started by Aren Lin at Dec 03, 2019 7:03 pm
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22 Posts

Aren Lin

22Years Young
11 Posts
We are buried in broken dreams. We are knee deep without a plea. I don't want to know what it's like to live without you. Don't want to know the other side of a world without you.

There was only but a glimpse of him, but he knew it was him. Nothing but a glimpse and a question from his beloved cousin and this was where Aren found himself. Did his training really prepare him for such a thing? People said death followed, that somebody like Aren, who lived relatively softly, didn't have it in him. If that was the case, would Jadyka let this happen? Maybe. It was... hard to tell. Hard to read the face of a mechanical dog-like face. Honestly, Aren was somewhat intimidated by his appearance alone, though they said he didn't always look that way. 

Aren adjusted his collar and cleared his throat, as if he was being choked to death by his own ramping anxiety. And how long had it been now? Too long. Years. For some reason, that made Aren twist his fingers together; he couldn't stop fidgeting with his hands, touching buttons, touching collars, touching his own hands. Gods, was his mouth dry or what? He wished he brought a flask of water with him. Why didn't he bring any water? Was he stupid? 

His heart beat faster than his steps as he arrived closer at the meeting place arranged by Jadyka earlier. Flexing his hands, he tried to ignore the tingling sensation that relayed his anxiety. Where...? Oh! There he was. Hard to miss a tall mechanical dog man. Gathering himself up to his best height, Aren smoothly strode over, belying the frayed nerves jumping wildly inside of him. 

"Master Jadyka!" he greeted him, lowering his head in respect. When he peered back up, he could feel the worry washing over him. Again, he found Jadyka so hard to read, so hard to tell what he was thinking. 

"Do you think we're ready?" he asked, then inwardly winced. "I mean, am I ready?" Of course Jadyka was. What kind of dumb question was that? 

 

(OOC: Let me know if anything needs changing/expanding. Still new to this world!)


Jadyka Maitra

78Years Young
8 Posts

It is not the honour you take with you, but the legacy you leave behind.


That could have gone worse. Jadyka couldn't think of how right now, but it didn't matter. The good news was, Suyis had decided to be the lone voice of reason (even if he was a voice of not so great reason), and managed to help the crazy kid get what he wanted. Jadyka had to wonder. Most people wouldn't fight over and for an alpha-rated anything that hard, especially not when it involved having to inadvertently sass the Primes, but what the hell did Jadyka know? He'd been a Gamma so long by now, Prime was synonymous with pain in the ass.

He did have to wonder if this particular Lin had any idea what he was getting into. Probably not. Maybe he was like the Caseys, and knew Axel before all this. Boy, his day was going to head straight into 'this sucks' territory pretty quickly, in that case. Well, he wouldn't be the one to bust his bubble. He's the one that wanted this so bad, and here they were. Jadyka's concern was whether this one was going to be a help or a hindrance. Likely, this was the last shot Axel would get; if somehow this went badly, that'd be the end of that. Boom, no more Axel.

Most would be pleased by it, because it'd mean one less thing to worry about, but Jadyka wasn't most people.

... that was quicker than expected. Jadyka snorted lightly, though it sounded weird around the metallic chassis. On his shoulder sat a violently-bright-yellow spider-looking creature. It was small enough to almost hide in his casing. "Just Jadyka is fine, Mr. Lin," Jadyka said, his tone its usual mechanical flatness. Master Jadyka, what even... the spider seemed amused at least, giggling a bit. Was he ready he asked. Well, being honest about it, probably not. It was unlikely the kid had any idea what he was getting into, but most greenies didn't. Everyone came into the tower with delusions of grandeur, ideas of making differences and saving lives, and that was never how it went. The Republic didn't want to save lives. What it actually wanted, that one Jadyka never did figure out, but if he had to guess it was something related to control.

"I suppose you should ask yourself that," Jadyka said, instead. "But either way, you'd probably better be, cause this is it. The point of no return." Jadyka quietly handed him a metallic bracelet. It was a simple ring, with a dial and a couple buttons on one side. "This is the control bracelet. I'm sure you know how to operate it." That was covered in handler training, of course. The dial controlled the electrical charge's strength, the buttons turned the charge on or off; with it on, it sent a signal to Axel's control chip that generated and released an electrical charge of indicated strength. Of course, now there was a safety feature that turned it off automatically after a few minutes (some idiots got into the habit of turning it on and leaving it on, and had driven a few part-bloods and losrians to insanity - it was not a fun time and Jadyka had really wanted to zap them but the Republic decided that was an overly aggressive punishment).

In any case, they had to go downstairs, so Jadyka nodded for the kid to follow and headed that way.


Art by El-Grimlock. He actually looks like that instead, at the moment.


Aren Lin

22Years Young
11 Posts
We are buried in broken dreams. We are knee deep without a plea. I don't want to know what it's like to live without you. Don't want to know the other side of a world without you.

"Oh." 

Aren laughed nervously. Just Jadyka, then. He was accustomed to calling people Mister or Master when they were ranked higher than he was. If somebody was going to teach him, such as a tutor, it seemed good practice to give them a title. The problem was, Aren was still every bit as green as everybody thought he was. What did one call their handler trainer...? Not Master, it seemed. He flushed slightly in color at the amusement expressed by Jadyka's... friend. Was that amusement or...? Something else? 

"Jadyka it is, then."

Still, out of pure habit, he lowered his head again as he said it, then forced himself to straighten up and stop being so overly formal. It was another habit; to act overly formal when he wasn't sure how else to act. Were they ready, he asked, to which Jadyka responded with common sense. Yes... was he ready? Aren shrugged a shoulder, a gesture meant to be casual but which was actually a nervous tic of his. 

"Of course!" he blustered. Better to appear overly confident than under confident in his eyes. If he didn't appear even a little ready, Jadyka might turn him around and that would leave Ian without a handler! Or a terrible handler (never mind that Aren himself might be a terrible handler--he honestly did not know what he was doing or what he was getting into and the way people around him acted about his adamant choice to become Ian's handler did give him pause. Not that he was letting that get to him. Too much, anyway.)

The point of no return. Gulp. Did... did he have to put it that way? Aren slid his gaze sidelong and lightly rubbed his arm in deflection. Well, he was right, though, wasn't he? Aren couldn't turn back now, especially after that huge fuss he pulled in trying to get here now! Yes, he had to maintain the veneer of confidence. There was no other choice at this point. Squaring back his shoulders and raising up his chin, he took the bracelet from Jadyka and felt its weight, not only in his hands but in his heart. Here it was. There really was no turning back now. Nibbling his lower lip, Aren turned it over in his hands, reluctant to slide it on.

"...yeah," he said vaguely. Of course he'd been taught how to use it but... the idea of actually having to use it on Ian... seemed like such a foreign concept. He wouldn't need it, he thought. Why would he need it? That was just... He wouldn't. There wouldn't be a need for it. 

As he followed Jadyka down the steps, he could feel the pit of his stomach churning. Nerves. So many nerves. 

"It doesn't really need to be used... right?" Aren asked, then immediately regretted the asking. Gods, he was so green, he might as well paint it on his face. A big green target of idiocy. 


Jadyka Maitra

78Years Young
8 Posts

It is not the honour you take with you, but the legacy you leave behind.


What kind of a question was th - hmmmm. The one good thing about being a giant metallic creature, no one could tell when he was annoyed. The kid really didn't have a clue what he was diving headlong into, did he? Fortunately, Jadyka had been vaguely following Axel's progression through danger ratings since he got here four years ago. Mostly because it was rare to get a beta rated anything, let alone an alpha. As one can imagine, the alphas didn't last long, because sooner or later, but always eventually, they crossed the invisible line between tolerable and too much trouble. Axel had been on the 'too much trouble' side of the binary for a good while already, but he was a powerful losrian. The problem seemed to be Axel knew that, and attempted to use that to his advantage. It worked, for a while.

Now they were here.

"Did you read his files?" Jadyka asked first. Actually, come to think, "Never mind, maybe the question is did anyone send you his files?" Because it'd be just like the Primes to decide it was Jadyka's problem and wash their hands of it, and Suyis was so busy it was amazing he had time to breathe, let alone send some green kid some files. The Republic kept well-documented reports of all their part-bloods and losrians. Axel's were a little thicker than most everyone else's, because he had a habit of letting his handlers die, abandoning his posts, and occasionally randomly lunging at very high-ranking officials. Jadyka wasn't stupid, mind, and had a feeling these incidents all had some logical reasoning behind them, but whatever that reasoning was, Axel wasn't sharing and the Republic didn't care to investigate.

"He's at the highest danger rating one can get," Jadyka went on. "You don't imagine they get up there for no reason, do you?" Of course, the walls had ears. Jadyka had to be careful what he said, and he hoped Aren was at least smart enough to keep his trap shut about certain things. "His recommended shock setting is full power, by the way." Whether he chose to heed that or not was up to him. At that high of a setting, it caused paralysis, which Axel was purportedly learning to fight through, so how long even that would work, that was in the air. Of course, the control bracelets didn't work in Suyis' tower. The tower's signals interfered with the Whispering Tower's signals and shut the bracelets down. So how useful this knowledge would even be later was in the air. They'd see, Jadyka supposed.

But if Aren decided to start relying on the shock chip to get anything done, Jadyka wasn't going to like him much.


Art by El-Grimlock. He actually looks like that instead, at the moment.


Aren Lin

22Years Young
11 Posts
We are buried in broken dreams. We are knee deep without a plea. I don't want to know what it's like to live without you. Don't want to know the other side of a world without you.

Did he read the files? Aren looked up, mouth half open to respond but it seemed Jadyka already knew where this was going. No, he hadn't read any files because what files? Nobody sent him any such things. Was he supposed to have files? Great, he was on even greener pastures than even he realized and that made him all the more nervous. But he was excited, too. Was that wrong? He felt like showing any sign of excitement was a bad idea, the way Jadyka looked at him. Not that Aren could tell what he was thinking but he still got the feeling that he was being babysat by somebody that couldn't believe they had been attached to him. Aren just wanted to show that he wasn't so bad, even for a greenie. 

"...no," he said quietly, but he wasn't sure Jadyka even heard him. It didn't seem to matter; Jadyka was keen and quick. He knew. Aren nodded as Jadyka spoke, revealing that Ian was rated as high as one could get. Danger-wise. Right. He was an alpha, yeah. But he frowned as Jadyka continued. How did they get up there? How dangerous was he, then? Not that dangerous, he still thought, as he clipped the bracelet around his wrist with an increasingly dry mouth. It felt like Jadyka was trying to scare him away like everybody else but this was still Ian they were talking about, wasn't it?

"...highest?" Aren looked down at the dials on the bracelet. The highest? No, he was sure. Jadyka was just trying to scare him, too. Like everybody else. He schooled his features into stone--or as close as stone as the far too readable Aren could make it.

"I won't need it," he said, and not out of arrogance--which was probably exactly how he sounded--but because he genuinely believed it to be true. 


Jadyka Maitra

78Years Young
8 Posts

It is not the honour you take with you, but the legacy you leave behind.


Of course. Why would anyone send the greenie the losrian's files? That'd almost be too much. It was almost like someone around here wanted Aren to fail this, and Jadyka wouldn't be surprised to find there were a few that did. That was fine. Jadyka had been here for over fifty years. That was almost the entire time the Special Other Forces had existed in the first place. Jadyka was one of the first handlers in the system, and was still here. Yeah, he knew some shit. Like how the upper crust of United Republican society loved to throw fucking wrenches in your well-oiled machine and then gloat about it when it blew up like it was your fucking fault. They'd ruined a few good handlers that way. A few good soldiers in general had gone out that way. And Jadyka knew better than to think all of their accidents were really accidents.

That was why, though. Why they were getting the fuck out of here as quickly as Jadyka could get them out of Eridanus. The walls had ears. The higher up guys had it out for them, and had probably tried to kill even Jadyka more than once, he wouldn't be surprised if that bomb that killed him was their fault. Unfortunately for them, Suyis had bigger guns. Or so he said. And Jadyka wasn't going to hesitate to run to him, not now. Especially since his other charge was his current assignments' biological father. Oh the Republic would love that.

Not.

And this one. Jadyka wasn't sure, but he had a feeling this one knew Axel before he was Axel. Which meant he might be able to help Axel remember some things, and they certainly wouldn't like that. The spider on his shoulder snorted. "So confident," it said.
"This is Panikos, by the way," Jadyka said, gesturing at the spider. "I have another Other that hangs around, a tiger-like creature, by the name of Ponos." Ponos was with Suyis, though. Panikos and his innately excitable nature got on Ponos' last nerves, and it was better to keep them separated sometimes than deal with their constant bickering.
"Ponos doesn't like me, he thinks I talk too much, I don't talk too much, I don't know what he's on about, nice to meet you, you're little, are you male? I think you're male. I'm not good at telling human genders apart, they look the same to me, and then there are the individuals of the human species that are and are not male or female or are both or neither or something and it gets even more confusing, do you have any food? I like food. I like berries. Berries are nice, do you like berries -"
"Panikos," Jadyka ground out.
"... sorry." Maybe Ponos was right.
"I'll send you Axel's files when we're done," Jadyka said, for Aren. "I think he might be behind on his euphoria shot, though, so this might be unpleasant." That was a word.


Art by El-Grimlock. He actually looks like that instead, at the moment.


Aren Lin

22Years Young
11 Posts
We are buried in broken dreams. We are knee deep without a plea. I don't want to know what it's like to live without you. Don't want to know the other side of a world without you.

"Not..." Aren started to dispute the "so confident" remark but he supposed he really did sound pretty cocky. That came from his upbringing. When one grew up with a silver spoon in the mouth and the ability to get what one wanted with stubborn refusal to be denied... well, it did come across as quite cocky. Aren still wanted to dispute it, though. He wasn't confident about this. He was, at one point, but the more he heard from Jadyka, the less certain he felt about what he had chosen to do.

Yet... He couldn't deny that pull. Ian was still out there. He was so close that Aren could practically taste him! How was he supposed to ignore that? He couldn't, that was what. Knowing that he was still around and in a bad position only heightened Aren's determination to do something about it. 

Besides, was it really that confident to think he wouldn't have to punish or hurt Ian? As soon as Ian saw him, surely he would be happy to see him! After so long apart, he would be happy to see a familiar face! And what part of that scenario entailed Ian doing anything that warranted Aren paralyzing him? (Even the thought of it made him sick--that anybody would want him to do such a thing.)

"Hello, Panikos," Aren said properly. He had been quite curious about him since laying eyes on him but he wasn't sure how to broach the topic. He was pleased that Jadyka brought it up on his own. It seemed, however, that Panikos had a lot to say in a short span of time. How he kept chattering on without taking a pause was a mystery to Aren. He tried to keep up, nodding when it seemed appropriate. 

"Ah, I'm..." He didn't even know when to interject with the barrage of questions thrown at him. There wasn't time to get a word in edgewise and he ended up sort of spluttering out nonsense as the Other continued to spout out questions. None of which ended up answered because before Aren could gather himself, Jadyka was telling the Other off. 

"Oh no, it's fine," Aren said with a wave. No need to be sorry for talking a lot. Aren had always liked people that had a lot to say, but he never met one that spoke as much as this one! He brightened at the revelation that Jadyka would send him the files. 

"Thank you!" It seemed important and maybe he would understand things better once he got a hold of those files. He did, however, pause as Jadyka mentioned euphoria. 

"...is it necessary?" He heard about the shots but he didn't fully understand the reason for it. To keep them... complacent, maybe? 


Jadyka Maitra

78Years Young
8 Posts

It is not the honour you take with you, but the legacy you leave behind.


What kind of a que - hmmmmmm. He was thinking this a lot. Unfortunately, the walls still had ears. He'd mention this, but the walls also did not know Jadyka knew they had ears, and he'd much rather they remained unawares. What the Republic didn't know, might just kill them, but hey. That was none of Jadyka's business.

"Of course it is," was what he said. And to be fair, it wasn't a lie. Euphoria, at this stage, was necessary for Axel because without it, he'd die. That simple. There were ways around that, however, and Jadyka happened to know a particularly effective one, and he intended to use it, but not in Eridanus. The walls had ears in Eridanus, and the labbies were more likely to pay too close attention to the particular ratio of euphoria versus saline in a shot around here. No, they'd worry about that in Pyxis, where the shots would be administered most likely by Suyis' daeni, and they had no problem fudging ratios, and the Republic currently didn't question Suyis too hard.

They should be. But while they weren't, Jadyka was going to take full advantage of it. Sooner or later, that fortune would end, and unfortunately, it'd likely mean they went to war, and Jadyka knew it. And yet he knew what all this was for. He knew what Suyis was planning and he knew Suyis knew he knew. Still he went along with it. But it was perhaps high time most of the population stopped being at the Republic's mercy. They were long past due for a civil revolution.

"Euphoria prevents them from losing control of their powers," he explained. That wasn't quite true, either; losrians and perhaps part-bloods didn't seem to need them. Certainly Others didn't, and it worked sort of like a crueller form of dysphoria. Whittling away at their magic until they couldn't control it anymore and it consumed them. But that was the dogmatic lie they spread, and that was the dogmatic lie Jadyka parroted when in the Command Tower. "Without it, their magic just does whatever it wants." A side-effect of withdrawals, not a natural occurrence.

Jadyka turned a corner, and paused long enough outside the door they came to in order to scan his security badge. The red light above the door turned green, and Jadyka held it open for Aren first, then followed and headed for the security booth, and Panikos interestingly scurried underneath the metal around his collar, hiding from sight.

"Axel," Jadyka said to the front security guard, "1192-29-8927." They never remembered their names, and by now, Jadyka had memorised Axel's number.
"Oh, good thing you came personally," the security guard said. Surprisingly, said guard was currently puffing on a cigarette, and Jadyka would have made a very displeased expression, had he the capabilities.
"Why?" Was Axel actually being problematic, or were these guys just refusing to do their jobs? Great questions.
"He's being a right pain in the ass," the guard answered, his face screwing up in annoyance. "Leakin' fire everywhere."
Well, that did figure. "Euphoria withdrawals," Jadyka said, leaning down toward Aren and lowering his voice. "Just give me the key then," he said, louder for the guard.
"Your funeral, Jady." The guard did hand him a key, though. It had circuits running through the metal. Keys around here were partially mechanical, and partially technological. For added security, so they said. "'e's in the isolation side, cell nine."
"And quit smoking," Jadyka added as he headed for the isolation cells.
"Fuck you," the guard answered behind him.

Well, that one definitely was that guy's funeral. Maybe not right this second, but eventually.


Art by El-Grimlock. He actually looks like that instead, at the moment.


Aren Lin

22Years Young
11 Posts
We are buried in broken dreams. We are knee deep without a plea. I don't want to know what it's like to live without you. Don't want to know the other side of a world without you.

"...oh."

It was necessary to drug him? Aren's expression softened, concerned. That didn't sound like a life to him, to have to be on drugs. Did he... was he okay with it? Although Aren tried his best to school his features into something unreadable again, he still wasn't that great at it. There was a difference between concealing true concern and faking a smile for relatives in order to be polite. A huge difference, actually. 

Aren waited for more, a better explanation but it seemed as if Jadyka wasn't in a sharing mood. That or he didn't feel it was Aren's time to learn more. Fair enough, he guessed. Jadyka knew all of this better than Aren did; he honestly didn't know what he was doing. He was basically just doing his best to pretend that he knew something. With Jadyka, he didn't feel like he had to, though. Jadyka already knew he didn't know jack shit; he was here to help him and despite the somewhat intimidating appearance, Aren trusted him. 

Oh! Aren looked up eagerly when Jadyka continued. So he did have more to share! Aren clung to the words like a lifeline. Euphoria, it seemed, made them less dangerous. An alpha, they called Ian. That meant... he was really dangerous, didn't it? Did that mean he had to take more of the drug than most...? Aren swallowed hard and tried not to show his concern, still trying to put on some kind of show for an audience he didn't even know might be there. Jadyka could probably see right through him, anyway. No point in hiding things from him. 

"Oh," Aren said quietly. "That sounds awful."

He wasn't aware it was so serious. Aren had nothing more to say--he was still all nerves and anticipation--so he was silent as they passed clearance. However, he did notice that Panikos disappeared and that gave him pause. Aren rather liked the little other and the fact that he went into hiding worried him. Before Aren could ask more of his barrage of questions, though, Jadyka was speaking to the nearby security guard. Anxiety mounted and Aren couldn't help wringing his hands as he stepped closer and listened. 

They kept calling him Axel. Curious. Aren knew him as Ian. It made him wonder if perhaps he'd been wrong or maybe Jesse was wrong when he said that it might be him. Well, he was this close now. He was going to find out for sure now. 

Euphoria withdrawals. 

That didn't bode well, did it? Did they have any on them? Aren nodded slightly, then did his best to look capable, tall, and worthy of handling somebody who apparently leaked fire when he wasn't on Euphoria. Aren had nothing to say about the rude guard but once they were no longer within earshot and heading to the isolation cells, he stepped closer to Jadyka so he could speak quietly without being overhead by other guards that might be lurking nearby. 

"If he's supposed to be on it--the Euphoria, I mean--why is he having withdrawals?" Aren asked. "Are they withholding it?" 


Jadyka Maitra

78Years Young
8 Posts

It is not the honour you take with you, but the legacy you leave behind.


Well, no. And yes. It was complicated and the particulars of how the other departments operated wasn't spoken about at length in handler training, so Jadyka actually put thought into how to explain this. The walls didn't care about this, or it'd have been fixed a long time ago, so fortunately, this was one of the things Jadyka didn't have to lie about.

"Not exactly," Jadyka answered. "When a losrian or part-blood gets closer to the time they need another shot, their powers start going out of control. Most of the time, if you catch it quickly enough, it's not a problem, but in situations like Axel's where he's been shuffled between cells and on and off the termination list repeatedly, things get lost in the shuffle, and the next thing anyone knows he's leaking fire everywhere. No one gets paid enough down here to mess with getting a euphoria shot into an alpha-rated losrian leaking fire everywhere. He's likely not to have eaten for a few days, either. Down here, in isolation where everyone here is probably down here because the Republic's stopped caring if they live or die, no one cares if they don't make it back out. That's the job of guys like us, not them." It was a simple fact of life here. No one reprimanded the guards here for not doing their job, because their job was actually just to make sure none of them escaped, not keeping them alive.

Wasn't that nice?

Jadyka raised a hand and tapped his ear. A coloured screen materialised over where his eyes should be, though whether those glowing blue orbs actually worked like eyes or not, that was debatable. (Jadyka didn't think they did, from what he remembered of being fully organic.) "I need a euphoria shot sent down to the isolation cells yesterday please," he said.
"Isolation cells?" a voice answered. "Why the isolation cells?"
"These dingbats haven't been keeping up with the shots, why do you think?" Jadyka answered. It was always the same story. The guards up here had perfect excuses decided, arranged, and rehearsed constantly to neatly side-step ever having to do any real work. Of course, they also got to listen to the sounds of varying individuals slowly losing their minds in isolation, and that was ostensibly worth the generous pay.
"Well Mr. Maitra, according to the database, there should be about seven spare shots available in the isolation cells storage holds anyway," the voice answered.
"Oh. When are they dated?"
"From the last week."
"They're good then," Jadyka said, and then swore under his breath. "Alright, thank you."

Another tap at his ear, and the screen vanished again. That was the InVisor system, connected together through the Republic's Whispering Tower. No one had ever seen this tower, so everyone assumed it was a colloquialism. Jadyka made a sudden right turn, and then stopped a few feet in beside a series of metal cabinets, and then pulled the hinges off one of the doors. A few moments of ruffling through the boxes in it later, and he came out with a bottle of something and a syringe, put the hinges back on the door, and then went his way again.

"Because of how the collars work," he said as he went, "there's a direct line to their nervous system through the rating collar. The fastest way to make a euphoria shot start working is to administer it through the collar, but most of the time the arm's fine." If he remembered Axel's files correctly, he had a bad reaction to euphoria, too. "... now we gotta get through the wall of fire he's likely to be leaking without frying so um, you stay out here. I'm a bit more fire resistant." Actually he was quite notably fire resistant. He considered handing Panikos to Aren as well, but he should be fine behind the metal.


Art by El-Grimlock. He actually looks like that instead, at the moment.