|A Need to Find One's Place|
After opening the door suffciently to slip the disc of the forcefield generator in, Ren slides into the restaurant. Ren doesn't seem content to wait until reaching the dance floor before taking an imaginary partner in some tango steps along a path to the other room, making turns before touching tables. Spotting Rayne at the bar, though, Ren stops and takes a simpler flutter over in her direction.
Zelgadis will wander in shortly afterwards. He's not following Ren, whom he knows but not super well...it's just a coincidence. He glances about, offering the 'usual' staff a slight smile and a nod. He notices Ren but ALSO notices her moving over to speak to someone she obviously knows. He'll leave them alone for the moment and slide into a seat at the bar instead, ordering a sake as he's prone to doing. He brushes the hood off his head as he settles in, having long realized that no one in Twisted is going to bother him over his looks.
With as bright a display as Serenity makes, Rayne quickly spots her. "Hey Ren! Here for more take-out today?" she asks cheerfully. Her eyes do catch the unusual appearance of Zelgadis, though when compared to Ren, he's downright ordinary looking, and her attention remains focussed on her coworker.
"Hello," Ren hisses amiably in reply, pouring into the space between her seat and the next (putting the next underwater rather than risk dunking hers). "Not at the moment," Ren explains, motioning a pair of right fins toward the dance hall door. "You know I don't need any excuse or special place to be dancing, but I thought I'd aim for the communal sort just now." Ren glances back to the door as it opens again and offers a smile and polite nod to Zelgadis. Ren then gestures to Rayne. "I take it that you are not expecting trouble today?"
Zelgadis returns the smile and offers a slight wave hello. He finally gets his sake delivered and offering a thank you and paying, uncorks it. Taking a small swig straight from the bottle, he seems content. He settles back and watches everyone mill about and do their thing. He does enjoy 'people watching'.
Rayne says, "Wellll, I figured I need to semi-literally get out of my shell. I need to be ready if called upon, hence the weapons, but most people seem to do just fine without armor, so I figure I need to relax that side a bit. Doubly so as I'm doubly harder to actually kill." She motions with her head towards the dance hall. "I might just join ya when I'm done eating, then."
Serenity nods at the explanation. "Hh! That would be great," Ren remarks at the last. "And another activity easier when you are not using quite as much armor." Ren adds thoughtfully, "Sometimes it seems as though a significant part of the population is hard to injure permanently. Travelling to another planet, I was expecting to be around humans- internally armored, yes, but not overal amazingly tougher than I was accustomed to." Ren gestures fin edges out to the sides. "Here, though, I have seen people take serious strikes and be no worse for wear." Ren smiles and adds, "But maybe that perception is just the company I keep."
Zelgadis doesn't have much to say or do at this point. He sips at his sake and glances around the restaurant. He doesn't want to bother the two who seem engrossed in a personal conversation.
Rayne says, "Well, to be fair, you do know Kotal, who is a freaking god in his own world. But really, the only reason I'm any tougher to kill than anyone else is because they'd have to kill me twice. I'm not actually any tougher, I've just got normal flesh and bones, unless you're trying to hurt me with fire. No scaley hide, no stones embedded in my skin," as she says that she motions towards Zelgadis. "-no supernaturally toughened physique. Stick an axe in my side and I'm going to be as incapacitated as any regular schmoe." At the mention of the axe in her side, she does put a hand at her waist. Looks like that example might be from personal experience.
"I see," Ren comments, frowning at her gesture before looking back up. "I may need to slightly revise my opinion of your work for TASK, as I thought that, like Dante, you might be leaping into harm's way with some physical insurance policy and not only the strength of your many years of training and experience."
Zelgadis offers a slight, embarrassed smile and curt nod at Rayne's notice. He doesn't try to comment his way into their conversation, however. It's nice that folks here can notice his differences and even make them out to be an advantage, though. ... He never noticed, but they did that at home too. Ah well.
Rayne gives Zelgadis a quick grin as he acknoledges her acknoleging him. "Well, they'd have to kill me twice, to be fair. If they kill me the first time, I'm bugging out by flying as I'll sort of default back into bird form anyway." She then frowns. "Still, I kinda got the feeling I was in over my head when we went on the offensive with the fog stuff." She takes another bite of her burger as she ponders this.
Serenity looks over thoughtfully to Zelgadis before returning eyes to Rayne. "It's too bad that the default form is not also the one you prefer. But I suppose that is as much as result of the lack of bird-people, bird-weapons, and bird-dining-utensils as it is your nature." Ren then asks, "Was it this choice between powers in favor of war or powers in favor of oblivion that had you feeling inadequate? That certainly made me uncomfortable."
Zelgadis flushes as he's noticed, especially by anything female, and with a polite nod returns to his drink. He sips at it thoughtfully. He tries not to eavesdrop of course, but one can't quite help demon-enhanced senses. The whole situation that's developed on Twisted has certainly left HIM with a few opinions. Of course, we all know how chatty Zel is.
Rayne says, "Let's not forget the lack of bird speak and lack of bird hands." She shakes her head. "The only advantage I get is speed and flight. I'd not even say I'm really any better at dodging, since I'm kind of used to dancing around in a battle." The she thinks on the question. "Actually, no. I mean... I grew up in a military family. My mom's an admiral, so it kind of... doesn't feel quite as evil to me, I suppose, as it does to you. When given the choice of war or oblivion, I feel like I already made that decision long ago. I might not get along with my mom the best, but, from an intellectual point, I'd never say she truly made a wrong decision to take her place at the command of the Wings of the Dragon."
Serenity acknowledges the correction with a nod. "Wings of the Dragon?" Ren comments inquisitively as Rayne explains. "Actually, I wasn't speaking of the philosophical point, though I certainly don't like that choice either. Rather, the characterization of the parties involved as legendary gods and the oblivion as, perhaps, the civilization-ending sort. That is the aspect that makes me feel helpless."
Rayne says, "Oh, that's my mom's flagship." She listens to Ren's explanation and frowns. "Yeah... That part? Yeah. I don't quite feel helpless, but... Sometimes I wonder just what Kotal thinks I can actually do at that scale. My mother? My father? They probably could have. Heck, I bet my father could even give Kotal a run for his money if they really went at it. But me..." she shakes her head. "I'm not quite the warrior I think Kotal thinks I am. It's... It was a hobby for most of my life. A hobby that was needed and honed on Cevernal, but a hobby none the less. I'm not even Urus, the finely honed mercenary berserker. That night, I felt like I was barely holding on. Like I wasn't really able to do much more than hold my own or be anything but a minor nuisance."
Serenity 'blinks' at the description of her parents, but nods at she goes on. "I'm hardly a military expert, but is it not true that wars have been won by the sustained and strategic application of 'minor nuisance'?" Ren continues, "Maybe guerrilla war doesn't work on gods, but it seems to me that you could arrange circumstances or ask Kotal to arrange circumstances that more closely match your prior experience."
Rayne says, "I... guess? I don't know. Most of what I know on war I picked up from my mother and... A three click battleship with unique energy weapons and its entire battlegroup don't exactly do guerrilla war. You might be right on asking Kotal advice on that... I'd assume a god of war would be a god of tactics, as well. I guess... Maybe I need him to test me. To have him see what I can do, so he knows how best to use me. That night... I felt like I was just defending myself for the most part. There's got to be a better use for me than to just draw a handful of the enemy." She sighs.
"Three-kilometer interstellar ships?" Ren repeats, looking past the ceiling as if picturing how tall that is. "That sounds like quite a few apartment buildings' worth of resources..." Ren returns eyes to Rayne, "I would have imagined that you already knew your capabilites, but I suppose showing is better than telling when the cost of a misunderstanding is so high."
Rayne says, "Well, it IS a flagship... But..." She sighs again, looking up at the ceiling. "I know my capabilities... But I don't know how to effectively use them. And I don't know how they... scale with what we're up against. I'm not used to working as a unit, I'm just used to fighting one on one, or against a small group. I don't have a picture for the larger field... which is why I'd need Kotal to know what I can do. I can't just describe it... I don't think I have quite the words to fully show." She frowns. "Then again, he did see my duel with that tuuk. I just feel like... like he expects more than I can actually do."
"Working as a team is very different from working alone. I'm sure that's true of any field," Ren remarks with a nod. "Working together in a training session does sound like a good idea-" Ren amends, "with Kotal taking a step back and just observing, that is." Ren then offers a smile and motions to Rayne. "As for reaching expectations higher than your current capabilities, isn't that called learning?"
Rayne says, "A training session... might be good for me, yes. A sort of group excercise of some sort?" She smiles weakly. "And... I don't think this is a good situation to be a failing student." She then frowns again. "But yeah, the training. I guess something between us and the TASK regulars? I've seem them operate... I think I could take most one on one, but I think five of them could probably take five of me. They know how to operate as a team."
Serenity nods at her initial question. "If you are going to fail at anything, better to get that out of your system before battle, no?" Ren observes. "And while I don't know anything of tactics, I can note that saying 'we' rather than 'they' would be a good start." Ren offers a damp pat on the arm before then asking, "How would you split the team, Kotal not included, to make two groups with even odds?"
Rayne says, "I... uhhh...." she frowns. "We're a small group. We, uh... If we include Urus, and I doubt he'd bother with this kind of training thing, then we've got what, three fighters? And that's including Minu, who really isn't. Which would put it at maybe just me and Minu against Urus and I don't think that would be fair against him. I'm not TOO far behind him, and even just fighting my usual lone style I don't think that's enough for tactics learning. That's why I think we'd be better off working against the regulars in an exercise, rather than just DMCers against each other."
Serenity looks puzzled by her conclusion. "You said that Urus was a soldier. I'm sure he has taken orders he disagreed with before," Ren points out afterward. "But who are you referring to as regulars? Regular fighters in the current cleanup efforts?" Ren asks. "And what about Twilight? Teleportation and telekinesis would surely have some - missle-like? - application."
Rayne says, "I mean like the... DMC's just one branch of TASK, right? There's the rest of TASK as well. And with Urus, I feel like we'd have to pay him special just to have a training session, that's more what I was getting at. As for Twilight... I guess I think of her involvement more along the lines of yours. I don't think of her as a combatant, even though on paper Minu shouldn't be, either."
Serenity nods as Rayne explain. The comment on Urus gets a frown, but Ren doesn't remark upon it. "Actually, I was very surprised that Minu was intentionally in the more dangerous part of the fighting. I would have imagined her doing scouting or dropping weapons from high above."
Rayne sighs and leans back on the bar stool. "And yet she was probably the most crucial person there. Urus and I might as well have been cannon fodder, it felt like. So yeah. I need to find my place soon, I think. Or I might not last long." She blinks, realizing how what she said might sound, and sits upright again. "Oh, uh, by that I meant I might be drummed out, or drum myself out. Like I've said in the past, I'm pretty non-committal. I meant if I don't have a place I might... yeah."
Serenity looks uncertain as Rayne shares her conclusion, then nods as she clarifies. "Given his leadership role, I think that it's fair to expect Kotal to help you 'find your place'." Ren motions to Rayne, "If it's not one you can tolerate, then maybe assembling spaceship components would help as well. But it would be a terrible loss if you were fighting, but only doing so for individual self-preservation."
Rayne says, "Yeah, that's why I wanted him to test me, so to speak. See what I can do for my own sake as much as his... But I've not seen much in starship components around here, at least not that I've noticed. Heck, do we really know space exists in Twisted like we're used to? Maybe it's like Twilight's world, where there basically is no outer space, just the one planet with the sun and moon going around it." She seems to be attempting to change the subject.
"Hhh... I can't say that the topic of geocentric universes is something that I've given much thought to," Ren remarks with a confused note. "When I heard someone plausibly propose that time passes at noticibly different rates according to the locations of people... that was when I mostly gave up on attempting to construct a coherent picture of physics here." Ren adds thoughtfully, "That said, do you suppose that you could coordinate a satellite launch, assuming that gravity behaved as you expected?"
Rayne says, "Uhhh, coordinate? I dunno. It'd depend on what kinds of tech I could find. If we could find tech of the level I'm used to working with, it'd be a peice of cake. The stuff I've mostly been seeing around here? It'd go beyond how I know to work on things. I mean, I heard that the Terrans first got to space on giant explosive powered rockets or something... I don't think I could pull that off without it basically being a giant bomb. Not without a LOT of help. It'd be a lot of construction alone, I'd imagine. I'm more used to using fusion engines powering antigravity drives to get into orbit."
"You did say that you were more experienced in assembling ready-made components," Ren acknowledges. "What if you found technology as capable as you were accustomed to, but of an unfamiliar type? I don't think that I would trust technology here to always conform to my pre-existing notions of 'levels'."
Rayne says, "If it were of an unfamiliar type, then I suppose I'd be unfamiliar with it. I don't think I can speculate to such an open end. I'd have to see it in my hands, see what it did to even start to have a clue with it. Maybe I'd figure it out, maybe now. Though I'd agree with you on not trusting pre-existing notions. I've had THAT thrown in my face innumerable times since I've gotten here. Like, before I was here, had I seen someone like that guy, I'd assume he was just some alien whose species I wasn't familiar with. Now my guesses would go from that to some magical hybrid between an elf and a rock or something. This place is just the paragon of unpredictability."
Serenity smiles at Rayne's tautology, then nods as she explains. "In fact, he told me that he was born human," Ren offers, "and I'm certainly in no position to be skeptical about that." Ren then smirks and offers, "It occurs to me that someone who was in the habit of telling fantastical stories and not averse to deceiving people might have some fun saying absurd things that could not be disproven."
Rayne says, "Oh, like I could claim I was the daughter of Kotal's doppleganger in my universe or something. Could I actually prove it? Nope. But noone could prove I wasn't, outside of the fact that I'm not a shade of blue." She laughs at the absurd idea. "Personally, I'd rather downplay how important my actual parents are, but I do have a tendency to blab a lot, don't I?"
"I am glad that you feel comfortable sharing your history with me," Ren remarks with a smile, patting her arm with a fin edge extended from the water. "If you were being threatened with assassination, then perhaps you might avoid speaking of your abilities in public. But I can't see that it does any harm to speak of your parents in any case." Ren motions inward, "My parents work as a professor of mediation and a manager of apartment superintendents." Ren grins and adds, "Unless they failed to mention something about being international spies."
Rayne says, "I'm not... hrm. I guess I WASN'T worried about assassins. But really, I'm completely unimportant. The bastard daughter of an adopted member of the noble house isn't actually really entitled to much, and certainly isn't in line for anything. I'd really be more worried about your parents' secret life." She winks to Ren. "Perhaps they encoded state secrets into your DNA, and there are people out there now looking for you to dissect that information out of you."
Serenity listens curiously to the description of her situation, then grins at the latter remark. "I don't imagine that those villains will be hard to elude. They can't be terribly well-connected spies if they think that DNA samples are obtained by dissection."
Rayne says, "Just like the assassins after me for my ties to House Hurris. I hear they plan to kill me by setting me on fire." She laughs, this somehow amusing her. "Anywho... what were we talking about?" she asks before stuffing her face with another bite of her burger."
"I believe we were speaking about how it's not a terrible thing," Ren offers, gesturing to Rayne, "to share personal information with someone interested in hearing it. Or perhaps how it's rude to prevent a hungry person from eating by insisting on a conversation."
Rayne says, "I can talk and eat at the same time! Well, okay, not at exactly the same time, but you get the drift. But yes, it can be quite interesting, especially when things are so different between... well, everything. I mean... professor of meditation? What exactly is that?"
"I see now," Ren remarks with an amused tone, gesturing to Rayne's mouth while she's taking a bite. "In fact, there is a downside to being able to chew." Ren then corrects, "That's professor of mediation. My mother teaches those who are studying to become professional mediators, those who keep disagreements out of the punitive side of the legal system, or those in other fields who may need to keep disagreements civil."
Rayne says, "Oh, that makes a lot more sence then what I thought I heard. And yes. Being able to chew comes with that horrible downside of HAVING to chew. Though if the food tastes good, that means you get to taste it more. I think there's probably some evolutionary thing where you can taste if something's bad and can spit it out if you're chewing it, as opposed to if you just gulp everything down."