|Still training, Colleen's Exposition II|
The silence of the mountain is something that after prolonged experience would unsettle even the most hardened being. A faint crackle of a fire is only of the few sounds as the two who have taken temporary residence here. Of course, Caliga being who he is, seems to thrive in the discomfort of others at times.
Only six days have passed, and seemingly to Caliga not much has progressed in his attempts. He grumbles loudly as he ponders things as he reaches into his jacket, retreiving a small device with a thin green piece of glass attached to it. He pushes a button on the side of it, causing it to humm and beep loudly, only to push the button a few more times silencing it. He throws the device to the catgirl. "Put that on. For the time being, this shall be rule number two. You're to wear that at all times until I say otherwise."
Tabitha catches it in a gloved hand and stares at it a moment before looking over her now tattered jacket. "Wear it or carry it?" It's a valid question. Her exposed skin is charred and bruised, but not as badly as it probably should be the way things have been going. Pushing some singed hair out of her eyes the nekojin exhales before putting it in her pocket, her hand brushing against the sheathed dagger for the briefest of moments, enough to make her eyes widen a little more as the tiniest bit of energy sparks into her. The girl then crosses her arms and yawns. "You -do- still know what you're doin', right? It's startin' to feel more like ya ran outta ideas an' are just making things up now." Oh no! His secret training technique has been revealed!
Caliga rolls his eyes as he moves towards the girl, and grabs the device from her pocket, attaching it over where a human's ear would be on the left side of her face. He presses a button on it, causing it to once again beep and cause the green glass to start displaying words, numbers, and even arrows pointing in different directions. "You don't need to worry about the communication portion of it.. and it shouldn't explode. Its one of the more recent ones made to put up with Kaldrath's antics.."
He moves to sit back down away from the girl, staring at her. "I haven't run out of training ideas. Far from it. You're just making it more difficult. Well, you aren't, but your tennants upstairs are." He idly drums his fingers on the ground, staring now at Tabitha's forehead, debating whatever it is inside that head of his.
Blinking her eyes several times, and squinting a lot, Tabitha tries to get used to the thing that's been forced onto her. Reaching up and pulling it off, she stares at the device a moment. "How th' heck does it stay on?" Frowning slightly she pulls her hair back and puts it more or less where Caliga had done so. Her eye still twitching slightly from the tinted lens. Her ears aren't on the side of her head! What is it - oh never mind. With that out of the way she frowns at Caliga. Her ears fold back in irritation. "Except for tha whole sleeping thing, I don't see what'cher complainin' about. They've been good, an' I've stayed away from the dagger." With a slight head shake she asks, "Are ya still mad that Sammy tried ta kiss ya to get ya to let us go home?" The girl yawns again, "We're tiiiiired. At least she didn't try ta kill ya."
"Magic. That's how it stays." There's a technobabble explanation, but Caliga never once learned to pay attention to those conversations from Vash and Cyan. Those went over his head for sure. "Push and hold the button on the side for a moment and look at me. You'll see some numbers pop up." He continues to tap his fingers on the ground.
"What I'm complaining about Tabitha, is how little /you/ yourself have come along. Tabmantha on the other hand.." He rises to his feet, removing the sheathed katana on his back, leaning it against the wall of the shack. Caliga then proceeds to remove his jacket, and tosses it to Tabitha. "Put that on, and whatever you do, don't take it off until I tell you otherwise."
If Tabitha had pushed the button like instructed, she'll notice the numbers flashing by as the device struggles to keep up, only to settle on a fairly large number. "I've never tried to do this..."
He takes a large breath of air, only for a vein to start pulsing on his head as he strains himself. Slowly two other bodies come into view and the number displayed on the device suddenly drops down to a third of what it had risen to.
The other two bodies stand there, formless and without thought, as if they were waiting for something.
Tabitha starts to push the button as instructed at least until the jacket is thrown at her unexpectantly and she nearly falls over. Scowling she puts it on and starts to try again as Caliga announces his inexperience. The scouter bleeps to life just in time to barely catch the division. Not that anyone can hear it but her, but there's a unified "Ooooh" in her mind as well as her voice as a new concept is finally introduced. Momentarily at least. "Wait, what'cha mean how little -I've- come along?" An ear twitches as she's quite bluntly told to shut up.
"What I mean, is how little control you yourself have over your abilities and power. You lack mental discapline, you easily are overcome by the power dormant inside of you, and the ones living in your head can assert themselves whenever they decide they want." Caliga moves to pick up the katana, once again placing it on his back as he looks at the catgirl.
"The voices in your head will agree with me when I say this, but quite frankly Tabitha, you are too reliant on them to get you out of a pickle. The last one up there, I'm pretty sure none of you want coming out to play so this is why its essential I teach you this. You get in over your head, or all of you lose control, thousand years of darkness and pain comes out to kick over buildings. Now come here."
The man's hand points to the formless bodies. "I want you to touch these, and think of Tabmantha and Tabby. We're going to give them an external voice for a bit. Which is why you need to keep the jacket on. We're just going to amplify the voices from your head, into these."
Tabitha opens her eyes and steps back, blinking at the sight. Her ears suddenly droop and she winces as the other voice screams loudly in her mind. Holding a hand to her head as if in pain she walks over to the second copy and repeats the process. This time the copy of Caliga starts shifting from foot to foot like he's listening to a song playing in his head and smiling happily like he's about to start drooling on himself.
Tabitha takes another step back, watching the two in a bit of amazement. Then her emotions seem to vanish from her face. "...It's quiet." She turns and looks at the real Caliga with a hint of concern. "I don't hear them!" The first copy begins to laugh before flicking his hand back and drawing Tabitha's dagger out of the air. Abruptly it's body shifts and 'Tabmantha' is suddenly standing there looking smug. "Hey squirt? Your turn." She flings the dagger at feet of the other copy, nearly impaling it in the process. With wide watery eyes the copy of Caliga wibbels it's lips at the second catgirl before pulling the dagger out of the ground and instantly switching to the body of the young child Tabitha seems cursed to wake up as.
The real Tabitha's ears pull back again as she glares at them. "HOW CAN EITHER OF YOU DO THAT?"
Tabby shakes her head and shrugs, "I dunno?"
Samantha cackles again, taking the dagger from the little girl and offering it back to Tabitha. "Now what?"
The real Tabitha just sighs and resheaths it. "Where they supposed ta be able to do this?"
"They're not mine, they're yours. Did you tell them to behave themselves? Obviously you didn't, but hey. Here we are." Caliga moves to stand before the Samantha personality, and stares at her. "You are the second most problematic one up there. So I'm going to ask you. Is there any more left up there besides /that/ one? We don't need that one at all."
He then looks over at Tabby, stroking his chin. "Tabitha, in the top right pocket on the left breast of the jacket on the inside should be some candy. Get it out, would you?" He then circles around the Samantha personality, sizing her up. The air around her makes his eyes open wide in surprise.
"You little fucks, you've been holding out on me! Tabmantha, why the hell haven't you just told her what to do yet?"
The Samantha personality scoffs at Caliga, "Little miss amnesia, maybe. Sitting around in her straight jacket and cryin' about how she doesn't know anything." She watches Caliga turn and disregard her to ask Tabitha to find a piece of candy. Her eyes narrow as her ego becomes bruised from the lack of attention. When he finally does return it she simply crosses her arms and rolls her eyes. "FIRST of all, my NAME is SAMANTHA you arrogant little shit. SECOND, why should I? What do I get outta it by tellin' damaged goods over there how ta use 'her' powers?" She guestures at herself for emphasis, "-I- was tha first!! -I- should be tha dominant personality!" The woman then points angrily at Tabitha, "...not that fuckin' COPY."
Tabitha watches with awed fascination until being asked about the candy, and then sets to fishing it out. She finds it just in time to look up and see her older self... pointing... at herself. The girl blinks at the accusation, taking a step back automatically. "I-I'm NOT a copy!" Unfortunately she doesn't sound very sure of herself.
Tabby perks up at the mention of candy, at least until everyone starts yelling. The tiny girl just ducks down, hugging her knees and tries not to listen. The louder they get, the more her eyes begin to water. At least she's doing a good job of staying quiet.
Caliga's hand flies out and grabs Samantha's face, squeezing her cheeks ever so slightly. "Remember what I told you back in Hell? I'm the motherfuckin' Captain now. Not you. Me. I'm the one running this trainwreck of a show. If I want to call you Bug, I will call you Bug. So nod your head and understand that if it wasn't for me, you wouldn't even be here bitching about how you deserve being in charge. You'd still be up in that noggin' of Tabitha's getting slapped around because she can't understand the basics of Ki. Got it?"
Dropping his hand, Caliga turns to look back at Tabitha. "Candy for the small one please. I'll have a chat with her in a moment as well." He moves a few feet back, staring at the trio of Catgirls now. "So far, I guess the /four/ of you, yes, even that one upstairs I didn't know about, have made an uneasy truce to keep the last aspect of Tabitha in check. Correct? Lets put it like this. I know what happened to that world, and this whole thing right here? Well, its to prevent something like that from ever happening again. None of you will want something like that to happen again, because that means you're a threat that needs to be removed from play for good. So I suggest you start sharing everything."
Sammy glares at Caliga, barring her fangs as he grabs her face. It takes all of her effort not to go off on him but somehow she manages to keep it together until he backs off. After that she glances at the other two - but only to see where they are before locking her glare back on its target.
Tabitha has walked over to hand Tabby the candy while listening to Caliga ramble on. Giving her a slight hug first, she stands and turns to face him. Tabby rises as well, keeping behind her older self as she munches quietly on the candy.
The trio nod more or less at the same time at the mentioning of the truce, although Tabitha looks very confused about the mentioning of 'that world'. The Samantha personality however gives a gleeful smirk, at least until she's threated to be removed.
The silence that follows over the next minute or two is finally broken by the little girl. "Does this mean we have to go back?" She points up at Tabitha's head, her eyes still a little watery from before.
A loud sigh escapes Caliga's mouth as Tabby goes right for the throat in her own way. "You, are the most important facet in this right now Tabby." His right hand idly goes to reach into his jacket, as he suddenly remembers that 1.) He doesn't have his cigarettes, and 2.) Tabitha is currently wearing his jacket. The hand drops back down his side as he now starts to carefully chose his words.
"All of you are one being. And that is Tabitha Li-Bogard. And before you open your wicked little mouth, you are not Samantha. So don't get smart with me." He now moves towards Tabby, and kneels down to her level, looking directly into her eyes. "Yes. It does mean you have to go back, but I'm hoping that piss face over there reigns it in, and will treat you better. I can tell she's not that nice. Hell, she looks like thrice vomited roadkill. Its obvious there. However, you will have an important job while you're there. I made this mistake once with my own child, so I'm going to word it differently. You represent the need for control and optimisim. To see the world with a different view is what Tabitha will always need, and thats a very important job for you. Vomitface, will now take the role of ability. She can fight, she can control ki, and she can survive. Do you think you can do that?"
The daggers in Samantha's eyes seem to sharpen as she's pointed out for who she isn't. In reality she only clings to that name because she hasn't been given another one. The specifics will have to wait until Caliga can actually knock the other three out at the same time.
Tabby listens while still clinging to Tabitha's side, her small head nodding as she understands most of what he's saying. Not entirely sure of the implications she agrees anyways with an "Uh-huh" that sounds a bit forced. Oh well, she's a kid.
Samantha scowls again, looking at her hands suddenly. With a slight whimper she mutters aloud to herself, "...but I haven't even started decayin' yet..."
Tabitha suppresses a laugh at her 'sister' and puts a hand on Tabby's head. "We've talked like this before. I'm not sure what happened in Hell, but they're all usually pretty good."
Samantha speaks up again, deliberately making herself sound like she's reading from a script for Caliga. "The dagger was reactin' to tha natural negative energies in Hell." She sighs, "Ya coulda felt it if ya payed any damn attention." A moment later she adds, "Which was a REALLY STUPID plan, ya know." The other two take the opportunity to glare at her for a change, making her take a step back herself. "...it's true."
"You've talked, sure, but have you ever actually touched eachother? No, I'd say this the first time you've truly Interacted with eachother." Rising to his feet, Caliga walks away again, this time moving to sit back on his rock. "No, I didn't notice because I wasn't paying attention to /his/ memories of what that fucking thing is really capable of. Then coupled with the fact my other half went and got himself killed, well. It was the perfect storm for me to pretty much nearly get offed. And if that never happened, you wouldn't be here being a smart ass, so once again, you need to be a bit more thankful for me."
He watches the trio now, only to turn his gaze to Tabitha. "You have one more personality in you besides Queen Doom, right Tabitha?"
Tabitha chimes in for all three of them at the moment, giving Caliga's back a shrug as he walks off. "Actually, yeah. We have. Xue let me go into my head an' meet all of them. It's how I know what Diablo did ta me." She takes a moment to think and adds with a gesture to Samantha, "Matter of fact, it was after THIS one managed ta get Xue mad enough to attack Tabby here that I started waking up looking like her because she can't make it through the night without nightmares." She gives a very justified scowl at the older nekojin which only serves to set her off laughing again.
Since they're both distracted the little girl chimes in to answer Caliga's question. "Uh-huh. There's me, and them, and our other sister." Tabby shakes her head, "But last time she came out she set Sun's curtains on fire and burned the clown lady." Leave it to kids to say something like that and somehow make it come out cheerful and happy. "She doesn't like to come out."
Tabitha starts to step over to Caliga before it dawns on her that he's talking about the kid. He does tend to call her that a lot after all. Tapping her on the head she points over to him and the little girl nods and skips over to him. With a stretch the nekojin simply sits down where's she's standing, ignoring Samantha as she eventually does the same. "So what's this coat supposed ta do anyways?"
The elder nekojin chimes in, "Smell like old smoke and body odor. He's markin' us as his territory."
Tabitha flails her arms dramatically. "THAT HAD BETTER NOT BE TRUE!!!"
Tabby giggles at them as she sits down next to Caliga's rock and yawns.
"What else does a jacket do? It covers you. It keeps you warm and safe from the weather." Caliga's voice lowers, almost as if it were a welcoming song. The air surrounding the group slowly starts smell sweet and comforting, as if its sole purpose now was to be a wonderful pillow to carry one off to the best of dreams.
"But all good children should understand that, shouldn't they?" There's a faint energy to his voice, merely intended to make the effects that much more potent. "All good children should go to sleep now." His reaches forward, gently patting the smallest one on the top of her head. "All of you, sleep now. It'll be okay.."
The youngest, of course, is the first to fall victim, laying her head down and blacking out promptly with a heavy yawn. Samantha becomes the last to go, glancing around the group before shaking her head weakly, "...you dick." She's gone at that, slumped off to the side on an outstretched arm. The only one not laying down, oddly enough, is Tabitha who is still sitting up and staring at Caliga with dull, vacant, empty eyes. Her body has gone slack, like someone in a deep trance, but those vacant eyes won't stop looking directly at him. After a long, uncomfortable moment life returns to them and the nekojin's body tightens up once again. The girl blinks and looks around at her sleeping sisters. "Clever." The girl reaches up and hugs herself, or so it seems. For some reason she just seems more comfortable with her arms crossed like that. "Caliga, I presume?" One ear twitches as she takes an inventory of her thoughts. "You cheated, you know. You first met us in Devi's apartment and you already knew our name."
Caliga smiles. "No, I knew the bodies name. I however, do not know what /you/ are called. You're not Tabitha. However, it is my hope that she survives to continue having that name. I also know this one is named simply Tabby, and /that/ one calls herself Samantha.. Which makes a part of me quite sad. Already your combined history is a tragic one.. but I'm getting ahead of myself."
He doesn't move from his rock, but its obvious he's staring intently at the newcomer, trying to decide how this one deserves to be treated. "What is it you have been named?"
The girl just smiles as he names everyone off finally responding with, "What makes you think that the others were /given/ names? They were not given. They took them. Tabby for being a cute version of Tabitha and Samantha because that's what Johnny made her to be." Just a wealth of knowledge, this one. Her expression fades as she adds, "Do you know what happens without names? We die. It just ends. I had to beg for mine." The girl stiffens up. "Xue named me Colleen, and you'd best never speak of me before them."
Relaxing again, but only slightly, Colleen gives more exposition. "Ability? Control? I am the one who remembers what was forgotten. Normally I am almost nothing because of these three." The girl pulls her legs up and hugs her knees. "That's why they can't know. They would take it away from me."
"...I see now." Caliga rises from the rock and steps towards Colleen, staring at her. He stops before her and stares. "You represent the fear. You were forgotten, and alone. No one was ever coming for you."
Holding a hand out towards the girl, he shows no emotion on his face. "She was already broken by the time Diablo first asked me to train her, wasn't she? The beast had done its damage, and the solitude took care of the rest.."
Colleen nods her head and lets a sigh escape her. "The dagger burned as soon as Johnny threw us out. He said he did it to protect us, but he never should have let us keep the dagger. It magnified everything and in a short amount of time we snapped." The girls eyes begin to water. "There was no mercy. We saw them all as monsters. We did to them what we wanted to do to Johnny." Tears begin to freely flow down her cheeks. "There was no one left when they finally came back for us. It made Samantha's words all the harder to swallow. That's why we took her life... That's what Diablo tried to take away from us - and I can never tell them." She wipes her eyes on the back of an arm. "I suppose that's also what keeps me here. I don't want to die, Caliga. It's not fair..."
Caliga doesn't move, but keeps the hand extended. "Tabby is the innocence that was never had. Sammy, is the anger of her origin and being thrown away. You are the fear of what comes after. All of you represent a part of Tabitha.. Which means I was right." He now kneels down, and places the hand on the girl's head, gently patting it.
"I was right in the fact that you are not a monster. If Tabitha is to be healed, then that means you all must become whole again. Would that really be considered death? I don't have the power to give you all your own form, so each of you can chose to have a life of your own.. Even then, I don't think you would take it Colleen. Which is why I need to do this, so all of you can be given a chance at obtaining something that none of you have ever had. Being a person of your own."
The girl slowly shakes her head, reaching up with both hands still crossed as if she were handcuffed. Assuming he's offering she'll rise up to her feet, but those wrists will remain 'cuffed'. "Your assumptions are right and wrong. Samantha as she calls herself was first. Johnny created her to make Sun follow his orders. Tabitha was second. That's who Samantha became when she was given a chance to be her own person. That's why we're all copies to her. Tabby was next when Oblivion offered to let her live a real life instead of the one that was created for her. Parts of them will always be here inside her, but I'm a fluke." She drops her arms over her lap. "Diablo tried to take it all away and I was what was left behind. When they wake up it'll all be gone again and I'll just be a mess of broken thoughts and powers I can't control."
Taking a moment to catch her breath, she looks up into Caliga's face with all the severity she can muster. "We are all real. We're just the Tabithas that where forgotten as she changed from one of us to the next. Except me." The girl pulls her arms up over her chest again. "Johnny made us. We could probably make each of us real if we tried, but then we'd stop growing. That's all that uniting us will accomplish, the ability to grow again - and likely into yet another person who isn't who we are now." Colleen lets out a heavy sigh. "...and that for me is death."
"As it stands, if something isn't done, then you will all die. You, Colleen are as close as it gets to what the /real/ Tabitha could be. I will not tell you that you have to die, because it is not something I would chose to willingly do. However, if Tabitha does not learn how to control her powers, and unite the parts of herself against the Beast.."
He turns his head to look at the sleeping forms of Samantha and Tabby, only to slowly start to release the energy that holds the temporary forms together. "You have time however, to think on this Colleen. When you are ready to speak to me again, I'm sure you will find a way to make it known, and I will find a way to speak with you again. Until then.. Like the other children.. Its time for you to go back to sleep..."