|A Day in the Park|
"Ahhh, what a wonderful morning!" The mage sounds happier than she's been in ages despite the annoyance of being trapped here. But a break from being on the run is more than called for, and with a few friends gained already, she's really starting to become attached to this town!
Anne-Marie is far from the only person in the park today, of course. A glimpse of rainbow-colored hair is enough to inform any that knows or knows of her that Rayne is now entering the park, as well, large art pad and pencil case held under her left arm. With a light yawn, she looks around, trying to determine just where she should place herself this morning for a view of... whatever it is she's going to attempt to draw today. As usual, Rayne has come without a solid plan just yet. Finally, she decides upon a tree near where Anne-Marie happens to be. She walks over to the tree and carefully balances her art supplies on a low, sturdy branch, which she then grasps with both hands to pull herself up. Now balanced sitting on the branch, she moves the supplies onto her lap before scooting over and turnign to lean her back on the trunk of the tree. Spotting the nearby woman on the bench, Rayne offers her a nod. Sure, she doesn't know her, but she also appears to be well adapted to Twisted as far as Rayne can tell. She assumes the space-German is just someone she's never happened to see before.
While Anne herself might not realize there's a wave, or very odd hair from Rayne, thankfully she has her Device awake and paying attention. Her fingerless gloves glow briefly, the pair sharing a mental conversation, before a smile lights up her face. Hardly one to be an introvert, she walks right up after toweling off a bit of perspiration and taking another swig of water. Mussing her hair back into something akin to order, it's right up to the artist she goes!
"Well good morning there! Beautiful weather today, hmm?" She greets warmly, before she gets pinged about the art supplies. "Artist, I take it? Oh, yes, call me Anne-Marie Bathilda. Doctor, Device Maintenance Mechanic, and newly stranded idiot in this town! Nice to meet you!" Another winning, pearly-toothed grin. It's slightly shark-like when she does so. Well adjusted indeed!
Rayne blinks as the other woman walks up to her. "Oh! For someone new here, you seem to have adjusted well." She offers a smile back before introducing herself. "Rayne Hurris, second in command of the local police force, actually. Drawing is just a hobby. Lately I've been involved in creating a welcome center, so if you need any assistance that way, just let me know!" She just can't seem to turn off being on the job, lately...
Anne rubs the back of her head, giving a little chuckle. "Well, I've done some travelling back home. The first time the ship you are on crash lands and you get to spend a month on a prison colony with zero atmosphere surrounded by the worst scum in the sector? This is practically a vacation, if a little more permanent than I would like. Friendly people, free housing, a well equipped clinic for my work, and frankly Miss Serenity and Miss Silencia are adorable, lovely people that helped me get over the...initial shock." A little blush at the end there.
"Oh? TASK, yes? Well! If you ever get beaten up or need limbs stitched back together, come to me! A little bit of wire and I will have you back in one piece, Rayne!" That grin is more than a bit eager. Mmm! "So I've heard. So we have a flying fish-slug, an adorable priestess, and a warrior-artist and a...hah...Sun God as part of the local welcoming committee and police force. This place is a madhouse!"
Rayne lets out a bit of a sigh of releif. She's met Serenity already? Rayne doesn't need to play the part of welcoming center, then. "Oh, you've met them already? No wonder you're on your way to fitting in here so well. Yeah, I'd say this place is a mad-house all right. Ren's set you up in the clinic already? I'm sure Johann is glad for the help. And I'm sure Ren's glad to give Johann a bit more free time." Quite a bit more of a grin hits her face as she mentions that one.
The young woman gives a swift nod! "I was lucky, second day here? And who should I run into but two helpful ladies! I would not have even known there was a proper clinic without them!"
As for the good doctor? "He is certainly something! I could learn much from the man. Though a bit of a break really seems like it could do him well, he seemed tired when I met him." Cue a doctorly frown. She sighs, and then sits down at the tree right beside Rayne. "Strange that you need such a well organized force, however. I know of the 'Neo-Edo' city next door. Are they that troublesome? Or is this place less peaceful than first it seems?" She asks suddenly, realizing the slight oddity to it all. She crosses her legs as she stretches out, eventually deciding to just lean back in the gross and enjoy the sunlight.
Rayne frowns at the wondering if TASK is really needed. "Oh... They forgot to tell you to look out for the fog, I take it? It's been... on the decline lately, but if fog seems to roll in from nowhere... Find a good hiding space if you're not a good fighter. We also had an incident last month where a rift opened up pouring demons through it. TASK is definitely needed, trust me." She then shakes her head. "Neo-Edo isn't our enemy at all. I actually go over there when off duty fairly often." She then offers another grin down at the other woman. "They've got a decent mall there. That's where I picked up most of my clothes, since, you know, arriving with just the clothes on my back and whatnot."
Anne-Marie tilts her head. "Fog? Demons?" A deep sigh. "Madhouse. Definitely a madhouse. But what is so dangerous about a bunch of fog?"
From the sound of her voice, it seems like she has a feeling she won't like the answer. Another swig of water, and a shrug. "Well, at least it does not get boring here, it seems! I was honestly a bit worried. Nor will I be without work. Oh? I had heard the inhabitants are a bit more wild, but I admit I have not gone yet. A mall you say? Oh thank goodness! I have exactly one set of clothes right now, and had to borrow these! Really should go shopping soon." Frown!
Then, concentrating, she lets magic flow from the Device on her hands, little blue lines of magic flowing past Rayne as she tries to get a good mental 'picture' of the woman. "Where are you from, by the way? A very wide assortment of people here. A scientific and medical treasure trove! Some of the scans the doctor gave me! Ahhh, I am going to be going over them for months to learn how to fix you all up properly!"
Rayne laughs a bit weakly at the question of how fog could be so bad. "Well, there's normal fog, of course, but if you get fog really suddenly, the area's probably going to start crawling with undead-looking demon things." She shakes her head, then tilts it at the question of where she's from. "Well, initially I'm from Avia, where I spent most of my childhood... but I did... move to Italy on Earth when I was a teenager. I've kind of been all over Tyrian space after that, though, and a little into Sidran occasionally. If any of that means anything to you." She shrugs. Really, she'd be surprised if it did.
Anne's still laying out in the grass below Rayne, though she stiffens at the mention of the undead! "Wh...what!? Those are just fairy tales! People do not get back up after they die!" She implores, though there's also a bit of intrigue in her voice. Hopefully curiousity won't kill the space-mage-doc!
A wave of the hand. "Only the 'Earth' bit. Some big-shot TSAB mage comes from there. Unadministered magicless backwater from everything I've read, though it sounds as though things might be different in your neck of the woods. Who knows! Universe back home is massive, some analogue of the places probably exists somewhere! I stick to the eastern parts of the universe. Much more friendly to those with...well, peculiar notions on governments and how they should be ran." Shrug.
One should not dismiss fairytales so quickly. The proof of that walks into the park, a cheery hum signaling her arrival. Silencia seems to be in a great mood, the plants and flowers she passes all flourish and bloom when touched by her presence. It doesn't take her long to notice Rayne and Anne-Marie, so she waves and approaches the two. "Hey there! What're you two doing? Both of you look very comfy!" Silencia, of course, is in the park for her usual training, but the girl welcomes any distractions from that goal.
Rayne laughs at Anne's reaction to the undead. "They aren't actually undead, I don't think. But really, you should get used to the concept of fairy tales around here. Especially here. There's a dragon nearby that sometimes flies over the park. And even with people that look normal, they might not be. For instance, I'm a phoenix. So... yes. Some people do get back up after they die. Though in my case I burn to ash and erupt from the ashes as a flaming bird." This all was said in a completely conversational tone. "Yeah, Earth was a bit backwater when I first went there, too. But the Terrans really caught up fast in the past few centuries." She looks over at the sound of the humming and easily spots Silencia with a grin. "Heya, Sil! Just chatting a bit." She has her art pad with her, but it doesn't look like she's done any sketching yet.
"Dragons, fairies, flying fish, fine! But...it just medically doesn't make sense!" She protests, then sighs. Anne-Marie shakes her head. A brow rises. "...No kidding? Well, in my expert opinion, I would suggest avoiding the necessity. That cannot be healthy, resurrecting bird on fire or not! Though if you have scans of the process, well...all for science you see!" Nod nod nod. A shake of the head. "That sounds a bit difficult harder to believe than the whole burning bird thing, but whatever. Anything is possible I suppose."
The gloom of plants, the whistle of a friendly voice, and in comes a living fairytale! "Ah! Good morning Silencia! You should have told me you would have been in the park, I would have packed cookies or muffins or something for breakfast! Chipper this morning as well I see! Good to see you. Oh, yes, the good ladies settled me into an apartment already. I did not know there were cyborgs here as well." For some reason, she seems particularly happy about that last notion.
"Though one of them really needs maintenance I think."
Silencia smiles brightly at the two, moving to sit next to the lounging Anne-Marie. "No need for that, sweety. I'm here almost every day, because this is the best place for me to train." Silencia taps the ground and daisies surround the blonde, popping up rather quickly. Silencia giggles lightly as she continues talking. "I'm glad you got settled, don't go sleeping everywhere, it's not good for you!" She then perks as she remembers something. "Wait, give me a moment, sweeties!" She gets up and runs off, finding a certain tree. The tree that Torr had almost snapped in half to be precise. She had left her roots and vines around it so they could support it while it regrew what was broken. She checks on the tree and nods smilingly before removing her roots, allowing the tree to stand on it's own. She returns to the two with a happy smile and settles back down. "I needed to check up on that tree.."
Rayne laughs. "Oh, trust me, there's no need to suggest I not die. It all still hurts, afterall, and I'm not exactly one that thrives on pain. Just assume that if it can be imagined, it probably exsists around here. Ren and I have a co-worker that used to be a unicorn, actually, and I understand there's an undead... gnome, I think it was, that does some odd work in a shack on the beach." She watches as Silencia runs off to check on the tree that... well, let's face it, Torr all but destroyed when he jumped into its upper branches. "Hey, I spent my first week sleeping in trees here. It's not that bad! How is that tree doing, by the way?"
Suddenly, flowers! She snags one, and sniffs it, tucking it into her top. "Well then! Perhaps I shall observe your training! ...What are you training in, anyway? Of course, I do encourage exercise daily!"
"Bah! I can sleep nearly anywhere! You should try sleeping in a..." Then Rayne suggests just that. "Exactly! More comfortable than you would think." See? Treebros, Rayne and Anne, really. But off Silencia goes. Blink.
"...Does she often run off like that? She is a good woman, cheerful. It seems energetic too." Shrug.
"Oh. A bit of a naturalist, Sil?"
Nod nod! "Yes, please, that sounds rather unpleasant. Especially the burning part. Not fun! Worst kind of wounds, burning. What is a unicorn? And a gnome? Wait, do you mean that really short woman? I think I've met her! She...that is pretty lively for a corpse!"
Silencia crosses her arms and raises an eyebrow at Anne-Marie, just barely holding back a smile. "Oh, if you're that comfy sleeping everywhere, I won't bother you by carrying you off to more comfortable sleeping quarters then!" Silencia motions to the tree she visited and smiles at Rayne. "The tree is doing much better, it can stand on it's own now, though it is not a good idea to climb it yet." Silencia chuckles at Anne-Marie's offer to observe her training. "It's not like that, I'm simply training my magic! And of course I would be a bit naturalistic, given my connection to mother nature..." Silencia winks and then lies down as well. The comfortable and peaceful atmosphere of the two made her not want to train at all and she simply followed that sentiment. Her long, black hair is tied in a braid, much like when she met Anne-Marie. There's a golden rose tucked in the braid, it glows very faintly with magic powered by the sun.
And thus, Anne-Marie goes utterly straight! A look of horror crosses her face! And a blush! "N...now, now! Let us not be so hasty! How silly of me! Bad on the back and all! I will be a good girl and sleep properly! I...if I get snuggles anyway!" She dips her head, trying to hide that blush!
Pause. "Wait a minute, I realize you have more...natural magic, but you can sense the health of local plant life? How? Is it simply a natural sense? Do you require a focus or something?" There she goes, back into magi-science interest! Of course, with the woman laying down like that, it's a good time to use that moment of weakness! Out comes a brush, and poor Silencia will suddenly get gentle hairbrushes! Need to keep that hair and braid in order!
"We cannot let you come home looking out of sorts! It will not do!" Nod nod!
Rayne tilts her head, pondering. "Like... under a meter tall short, yes. Blue glowing eyes, bright green hair. If she were taller, she'd be harder to miss than even me. I'd avoid her workshop if I were you. Last time I was around when she was working, a jet engine flew out and exploded over the water. But yes, Sil's a bit... like a butterfly in that regard." She nods to Silencia, then. "I'll keep out of that one for a good while, beleive me." She then blinks and looks down at Anne-MArie with a quirked eyebrow as she mentions sleeping properly if she 'gets snuggles'.
"Definitely her then! ...Well, clearly she has little idea of things like 'safety requirements' in a workshop! Nnn, I should probably give her a talking-to! But best not to make enemies in the first week." Frown! Clearly the good doctor takes workplace safety seriously!
A butterfly. The mental image causes a laugh. "Oh, my, all she is missing is the wings! Maybe I should get her a butterfly-winged dress, hm?" Wink! But then there's that look, and Anne is looking away! "Nothing! You heard nothing! I...I like being carried around, okay? It's comfortable, you should try it! And Miss Sil is stronger than she looks!"
Silencia grins victoriously at Anne-Marie's reaction. She giggles and reaches out to pet the blonde lightly. "I was just kidding! As if I can refuse cuddles!" Silencia enjoyed pampering others as much as Anne-Marie seemed to enjoy getting pampered. The question about her magic causes Silencia to hum thoughtfully, shifting to look Anne-Marie in the eye while speaking. "It's a bit difficult to explain... I have a deep connection to mother nature, I've had it as long as I can remember. The connection allows me to have some influence over the plants and nature itself. This connection allows me to be more sensitive to the plants around me and vice versa. I can choose to focus to deepen the connection though, that allows me to do a bit more than usual." Silencia blinks when Anne-Marie moves to brush her hair, the girl rising instinctively. "Oh, thank you... I'm not used to being the one who gets pampered!" She smiles and allows the friendly doctor to continue. As the conversation turns to her butterfly-ness, Silencia smiles and cups her hands. She slowly opens her hands and a small flock of colorful butterflies dance out from between her fingers, sticking around and fluttering about, making the view that much more pretty. She grins mischievously at Rayne and nods lightly. "Indeed, Rayne, you should try getting carried around! I promise I won't drop you!"
Rayne gives the two a rather wary look. "Uhhhhh, no, thank you. I think I'll just walk myself. We could, possibly, put in a request for that armor Muradin's building for you to include butterfly wings, though. Might make for an interesting look... though I do kinda wonder at how artistic he can be... He's a bit... gruff? Is that the word?" She then frowns. "Considering his wife is now pregnant with their first child, I can't help but wonder at just how much time he's able to put on the armors, anyway."
Leeeean! Anne can't turn down a pet or a smile it seems, with a contented little sigh! When she switches around the pampering, though? Those pets are returned! "You deserve it! Always good for a change of pace and all that! Ah, I see! In my universe, there are people born with natural elemental affinities, not unlike your connection to nature. Molding elements without the use of Devices. Very efficient! Have you ever tried the same thing on a person?"
Ooh, butterflies! She reaches up, and one lands on her hand. It's quickly deposited atop her head!
A shake of the head! "You do not know what you are missing! Yes, yes, I'm sure you have 'big tough military officer' reputation to keep! But it is nice to relax some times you know? Very good for the stress relief! A big part of overall health. You are getting regular checkups, yes?" Peeeer! Physician stare!
"Armor? I thought you were all about the desk job, Sil."
Silencia laughs lightheartedly at Rayne's obvious discomfort. "Ahh, your reactions to physical contact are always so very interesting, Rayne! And no, please don't include butterfly wings on my armor, I have a feeling that would look ridiculous!" She accepts Anne-Marie's petting with a giggle. "I haven't tried it on a person, but my connection to nature is really all about the plants, I think..." The butterflies seem to gravitate towards Silencia, but she waves them away, allowing a couple more to land on Anne-Marie's head. Silencia shakes her head and smiles. "I never said I had a desk job! Like I said, I mainly support Kotal, that usually involves me coming along when there's an emergency and helping however I can while Kotal and the rest fight. The armor is more like decoration, because I am the priestess of a war god."
Rayne deadpans, "Beleive it or not, I do not pride myself on a 'big tough military officer' reputation." She climbed a tree wearing heels so she could draw. That is not the action of a stereotypical tough military officer. "By molding elements, you mean spells? Doing that without a... device isn't that uncommon out here, actually." She holds out a hand, and in her open palm, with a minimum amount of concentration, produces a flame from nowhere. "Okay, fine. We'll just make sure you get a good copy of Kotal's helmet, then." She laughs a bit, the image of Sil in Kotal's helmet not meshing for her.
Tap tap of the chin. Hmmmm. "Oh, I don't know! If you made them out of steel or some lightweight metals they might look intimidating. Though more like gargoyle wings! Maybe not your style though." She finally admits. Drat!
Quickly, Anne has a crown of cute insects! She stays as still as she can while brushing away at Sil's hair, eventually just laying back and enjoying the company of the other two women. Yaaaaawn.
"Oh! Then you are a field medic! You should have said so! If you ever need any advice, well...I've been there. Or a stand-in. I have several years in the occupation, and all of the equipment I need. Send that to your 'Sun God', hmm? I want to see you lot in action and judge for myself."
"Bah! The officer protests too much!" Retorts Anne, sticking her tongue out at the other woman.
"Correct! Ah! Interesting! And that is not taxing on you? To think that so many would be born with such an ability! It is very, very rare on my universe. Most people who possess it are considered geniuses."
Then, she chuckles. "Somehow I do not see Sil as the helmet wearing sort!"
The thought of wearing copy of Kotal's helmet makes Silencia burst out in laughter. It takes her a moment to recover, wiping the tears from her eyes. "I think Kotal would love that... oh please don't suggest it to him, I'm sure he'd insist I'd actually get one!" The laughing Silencia definitely is not an intimidating sight, nor would the word intimidating ever suit her. "Oh, I'll come to you if I need help then! And as payment for the help, I'll give you lots of cuddles!" She lightly tickles Anne-Marie's side with a soft giggle.
Rayne laughs slightly again. "'Field medic' suggests that she's practiced in normal, surgical style healing. No, Sil channels Kotal's ability to heal wounds in a more magical method. But while I'm a pretty rare sort myself, being a phoenix, and that does make the whole fire spells thing easier for me, I'm actually a pretty unaccomplished mage. The old coot I learned it from could do a lot more than I think I'll ever have the patience to learn to do, and he didn't have any devices that aided him other than a spellbook. Just a difference between the universes, really." If it were possible given her current position in the tree, she'd back away from the two slightly as the tickling commenses, but as it is, she just looks somewhat uncomfortable.
The fluorescently marked mollusc meanders down the park path in a slow glide actuated by undulations of aquamarine muscle in the suspended water. While the path is free of pedestrians, Ren takes the opportunity to make a few dance steps (which are actually rather challenging when one doesn't have any feet). Ren makes a spin on a vertical axis while extruding portions of trailing fin edge to suggest clothing swishing at the ends of nonexistent legs. Before shifting back to ordinary swimming, Ren makes another move, this one definitely not copying humans. The helical twist looks something like wringing out a (garishly colored) washcloth, complete with twisted wrinkles where hints of a spiral-wrapped muscle layer show through the skin. On the way toward the waterside, the spotty slug spots Silencia and Anne-Marie, and then Rayne in the tree, and lifts a 'wing' from the water to wave.
"...Why am I now imagining a massive helmet in the shape of a pig?" Griiiin.
She claps her hands! "Wonderful! One cannot lose their touch, very important! Ah! What heavenly payment! Truly, I am blessed!" Somehow, even more than money, that sounds like wonderful payment!
Turning to Rayne, she nods! "Well, I can hardly complain. So long as it works! But I do suggest learning a bit of field medicine at least. Magic, at least for most of us, runs out. And when your comrade's head is attached by slivers of flesh, well, best to know how to sew them back together normally. Prepare for the worst, and all!"
A chuckle. "Well, that does sound rather annoying! I suppose the upside of having a sentient partner to assist is that you spend less time going over spell formulas, and more time practicing how to use the things." And then, tickles! She's rolling on the grass, curled up, squealing like a little girl! Shame, you and Anne-Marie are not acquainted! Poor Rayne!
Unfortunately, this all means that Anne's Device misses the whole display by Ren, and can't describe it to her! A pity! But eventually, there's the sensation of water moving through air, and amidst her laughter, she calls out!
"Reeen! Ahhh, no, not the belly! I give, I give Sil! I am defeated!"
Cheerful laughter escapes Silencia as she continues to tickle Anne-Marie. She seems to enjoy the reactions she gets, Anne-MArie's helpless squirming and squealing only spurs Silencia on. Silencia stops tickling when she sees Serenity approach, waving smilingly. "Hello Ren! Wonderful day, isn't it?"
Rayne waves to Ren, then blinks and reaches down into her pocket. Pulling out a phone, she looks down at the message on it and sighs. "Well... It's been a ball, but I'm afraid I've got to go now." She puts the phone away again and drops gracefully to the ground. Well, less graceful than usual, as she's wearing heels today. "It was a pleasure meeting you, Anne-Marie. Hi Ren, bye Ren," she greets the sea-dancer with before saying something into her phone and vanishing a few seconds later.
Serenity shifts direction toward the group. "Hello, all, and goodbye Rayne," Ren hisses amiably in reply. "Indeed it is a good day here." Ren circles Rayne with a smile and a swish of fins but no contact and continues over to those on the ground. "It certainly looks as though you have developed a close relationship very quickly," Ren notes with an amused expression.
With a breathless sigh, there's a wave from Anne-Marie! "T...take care Rayne! No getting yourself hurt out there, understand?!" She calls out as the woman finally heads out.
Reeeach, poke! "You are silly, Sil! Hah hah hah!"
But Ren quickly has her blushing again! "W...well Sil is just very personable you see! I am surprised she is not being followed around by a gaggle of well-wishers!" Nod nod nod. "How are you doing today, Serenity? All goes well with this 'Welcome Center' opening?"
Silencia smiles brightly at Ren, the girl always cheerful. "Yep! Would you just look at how adorably she reacts?!" She does pause and imagines being followed around by well-wishers. She is unsure if she would like that. She slowly rises as well, peeking at the trees. "I should probably get some training done though..." She stretches lazily and grins. "I'm sorry to run off after you've just arrived, Ren..." She ruffles Anne-Marie's head and waves at Ren before finding a quiet place in the park to train. She would need to be able to concentrate, so that's why she had left the company of Anne-Marie and Serenity.
Serenity regards Anne-Marie with an inquisitive cant of the rhinophores as she explains. "I certainly agree with the 'personable' part.. But true well-wishers would know when it does a person good to be followed around, no?" Ren remarks. With Silencia's leave-taking, though, Ren offers her a nod. "Until later, then." Ren takes her spot on the ground by 'kneeling' but doesn't attempt to continue tickling Anne-Marie or to get close enough to dampen her. "The Welcome Center is progressing," Ren replies thoughtfully. "If we had more resources, we might be delegating some tasks like graphic design and sociological surveying to specialists. As it is, it looks as though I may need to take care of some of this myself."
A nod in agreement. "That would get annoying! Sometimes peace and quiet is best, as rare as it seems to be. Even someone like her can get annoyed."
Eeee! Head-ruffles! Blush! "I swear, that woman knows how to make almost anyone smile!" Yup, Sil may have gained a friend for life, here!
But Ren has a more difficult problem at hand! "Hmm. Well, if we are to compare Twisted to a remote mining station, such things are hard to come by. Alone and out of the way, cut off, well...about all you can do is hold on to the skilled workers that you have. Perhaps you could outsource the work to that other city, Neo-Edo? Surely between the two places someone has such a skill and would be willing to take on the job?"
Serenity keeps most of the body prone atop the side of the forcefield generator while upper portions are vertical and turned toward Anne-Marie. Ren isn't limited to bending at a certain place or in a certain direction, though, like a human sitting on the backs or side of the legs. "It will take some additional work to find people in the newly-connected city who can help and would like to," Ren remarks thoughtfully. "But that is a good idea. The main limitation is that TASK needs to be a less quick to hire new people without thorough evaluation than it has been in the past. Perhaps if I describe it as 'outsourcing' and 'contract work' that will alleviate some fears." Ren then adds, "Are you familiar with operations at a remote mining station?"
There's an affirmative sound from the young woman. "Definitely bill it as contract work! That way, if they turn out to be useless or worse, you can fire them easily! I can understand the security issues though. Just be careful. Make sure you only give them access that they need to do their jobs. If it's a graphic artist, you don't even need them to come to your base!"
A vague wave of one hand. "A little bit. I did a stint for about five months back before...things became complicated during my military service. Very tight place to work, and never a shortage of injuries. You would think that after countless years people would come up with a way to make perfectly safe mining operations, but no, sadly my skills are always in demand. You do not want to see what magically-radiated ores do to people when their environment suits get punctured. Nasty business!"
"Mining for magic-radiating rock?" Ren repeats with a frown. "That sounds t me like a task better suited to autonomous and telepresence robots. But one might say the same of the task of destroying the monsters leaking in from the Wastelands outside the city barrier, and that hasn't stopped us from sending out teams to deal with them in close combat. Apparently I don't understand all the limitations to dealing with those problems from afar." Ren motions toward Anne-Marie and mentions thoughtfully, "I'll certainly take the security suggestion seriously, even if we do want to operate with transparency and the trust of residents." Ren then remarks optimistically, "I certainly hope that your experience with medical emergencies in difficult situations will be useful here. I'm afraid that Johann is so busy dealing with strange situations that he doesn't have the free time to even tell me about them."
More safe, certainly, but you don't get nearly the output as having a mage or two along. And as always, greed counters good sense. A.I's, even something very advanced such as a Device, has its limitations.
She smiles just a bit Anne nodding. "Well, I do not have many orders for my other skills, so I have a feeling that will not be a problem. And I fully expect to see odd cases. I mean, we have living corpses in this city! Medical impossibilities just carrying on like it is not a problem! Truly it is a madhouse here!" She laments, shaking her head.
But yes, trust me. I've seen what happens when security goes wrong.
Serenity nods at her exclamation and smiles. The latter remark gets a more serious look. "We have been operating under the assumption that Christabella is responsible for both the fog and the monsters, though our resources for testing that assumption are still rather limited. The recent addition of a magic scholar to the team may help." Ren motions out to the sides. "I'm afraid that approaching the problem scientifically is a luxury we just can't afford while trying to protect lives, however much that might benefit everyone in the long run."
Anne considers it, but nods finally. "Well, that much I can understand. Combat is chaotic, and if they are in great numbers and your forces small...difficult, yes. Still. If Sil ends up calling on me, I shall do what I can. If you are quick enough, easy enough to tie up some struggling thing in the middle of combat. It just takes the right equipment and skill!"
A laugh. "But the lives of the defenders here are of course my priority!" She then reassures the slug-fish, smiling warmly.
"Of course," Ren agrees, then looks thoughtful. "I'll ask Dorian about the possibility of setting up a trap... with some sort of means for preserving the sample. It wouldn't be right to risk anyone's safety if the monster were to turn to mush upon being captured." Ren gestures an upturned fin edge toward Anne-Marie. "Doctor Windhoek could certainly open up access to the scans, though, if the team did manage to preserve something." Ren adds curiously, "You do have some experience interpreting 3D body scans, yes?"
Wink! "A good idea! I like it. Body scans? Of course! Something of a collector of them, really. You see, my partner acts as a database, and can display such things once uploaded in ways I can make sense of for my work. Blitz is very useful! I swear, I have no idea how doctors worked before the time of advanced A.I.! Utterly terrifying!"
A shrug from Anne. "But there is something to be said for a regular old autopsy, but we should take what we can get, yes?"
"A collector of body scans?" Ren repeats a bit skeptically. The sea slug is still lying mostly horizontal next to the lounging girl in the spot recently vacated by the fae, though keeps a little more distance than she so as not to dunk the new person in the suspended column of water. "The doctors where I am from seem to get along quite well with their own intelligence and interpersonal skills... and copious amounts of diagnostic data." Ren seems to consider a moment before adding, "I suppose artificial intelligence of a sort is embedded in the equipment, but nothing that might be called a personality. My culture in particular prefers 'working' technology to be subtle and hidden, while experimental and entertainment technology can be as flashy as their designers like."
What? Even if you're working on the same species, depending on what planet they are from, you can never be too careful! Slight variations in form due to atmospheric and gravity conditions can cause a wide variety of appearances and even extra organs!
Well, to be fair, we do have a lot of that. All three. But when you have a Device looking over your shoulder, you tend to make less mistakes. And the high capacity for data uploading with their owner helps in surgery.
Shudder. "Ugh, why wouldn't you? It makes life so much more better! Partner, business associate, and friend all in one! Don't believe what those anti-A.I. backwater idiots believe! They do not want to take over any worlds. Too many built in failsafes for that. Besides, a Device needs a mage to be truly useful, and vice versa."
And with a sparkle of light, TASK's teleporter deposits someone in the park. Someone rather identifiable as Rayne Hurris, though she has changed clothing to her regular leather armor. She looks over to where she had left the others earlier... and yes, they are indeed still there. With a wave of her free hand(the other is currently holding what looks to be a disposable coffee cup), she starts walking over to the two. "Sorry about that. Even on my off days, work calls." She does manage to catch the tail end of what they were talking about, though. "I can't speak for other universes, but in mine, most planets are terraformed to near-optimal conditions, so there's not a lot of mutations of that sort. And even when terraforming isn't complete, no one really goes for living outside of artificial gravity and radiation shielding and whatnot."
Serenity listens thoughtfully as Anne explains but doesn't look entirely convinced. "It does sound very plausible that an artificial personality might be helpful in surgery or in magic," Ren allows, motioning toward her. "I'm afraid that sort of thing is not what I've grown up with, though, as I'm not a doctor and we have no magic in my universe. Now, I certainly appreciate a water jet that knows how to adjust itself from bathing to bidet mode, but I'd be rather perturbed if it then interrupted to ask me whether the temperature was satisfactory and whether I thought that children nowadays were getting adequate fine arts education." As Rayne announces herself, Ren looks up and waves a 'wing' to her. "Perhaps Anne is referring to natural traits evolved by native people?" Ren suggests in response to her explanation before looking to the other woman.
Ahh, welcome back Rayne. Nothing too horrible I hope?
Blitz Razor, set up!
Magical energy flows through the young woman, and after a magical circle appears under her, a flashy series of magical lines enveloping her. When it all fades away, she's dressed in her coat and slacks. Then, blue magical lines flow over to Rayne, checking her over as Blitz runs a medical program to scan her for injuries!
Terraforming is...possible in mine, but very, very expensive. Only rarely useful, mostly for new colonies or TSAB outposts. Most worlds have had populations for thousands and thousands of years, anyway.
Serenity has her laughing though! "Oh, no, no, nothing that common! There are a few methods of hooking a Device into one's home appliances, but few go that far. If I need a conversation in the shower, then I just leave Blitz somewhere nearby."
A shift nod from Anne. "Correct! Long exposure to such conditions makes very interesting changes to biology over enough time."
Rayne shakes her head. "Nah, nothing too bad. We've got a vendor near the beach that seems to think everyone's out to get him." She holds still as the lines of magic run over her, but watches them as they fly about. "Ah, well, there wasn't a lot of colonization among humans until there was terraforming tech. Only Avia, Tyria, and a couple other worlds that were pretty much already ideal. Do you have multiple planets with the same species occurring naturally? That sounds... really weird, but then again, I met a guy whose sun fell from the sky on his native realm a few days ago. No one in my native universe seems interested in coming up with a full on really thinking for themselves AI. Well, except the..." She scrunches up her face, apparently trying to remember something. "...The bug people from the other galaxy. Damn, I can't remember their name now. I've never actually seen one."
Serenity 'blinks' eyes inward as the magic circle appears, rippling backwards a bit while retaining the same posture. Ren glances up to Rayne to see her take on this, but avoids any drastic action after seeing Rayne remaining calm. "Hhh... I see," Ren eventually responds to Anne. "Well, I'm afraid I don't have much knowledge of terraformed worlds or large numbers of intelligent species, other than the abstract notion and recent experiences." Ren motions 'wings' out to the sides and smiles. "I have an easier time wrapping my mind around such, though, than magic and actual physics that allows a sun of the 'heavenly lamp' variety."
Anne-Marie slowly relaxes as she realizes Rayne isn't injured, and with a wave of her hand, the magic disappears. "Interesting order of events. Yes! Or, at least, so we can assume. Or simply there have been enough civilizations that humans spread so far, civilization dies, then springs up again, et cetera et cetera. You see our historical records are very, very slim prior to the foundation of the Time Space Administration Bureau and the Saint Kings."
Shrug. "So for all we know terraforming rose and fell with the ones who invented it, only to be rediscovered later." She mmm's. "Interesting, I would like to meet one of these bug men!"
Ren's words does have her squinting. "Frankly I find it terrifying that a planet can survive a sun falling from its heavenly perch! Old suns going supernova are bad enough!" Smile. "It seems we will all be learning new things, hm?"
Rayne says, "Aaah. I see." She nods. "There's generally good records after the Tyrian Exodus all those millennia ago. Only a few dynasties in the empire, but they've kept things at least culturally stable." She tilts her head, thinking on the subject as she finally sits down in the grass nearby. "Well, evolving. No cultural revolutions or anything, at least not on Tyria and Avia. Some of the other worlds, who knows? I can't keep up with history everywhere. That's a lot of planets." She then laughs. "I've gotten to the point where I just smile, nod, and accept that some worlds just don't have the same laws of physics as I'm used to. It beats getting massive headaches.""
Serenity looks from one to the other as they trade stories of civilizations. "Indeed we will all be learning new things for as long as we live here," Ren agrees. Motioning inward, Ren mentions, "I don't collect medical scans, but I do collect dances and their accompanying cultural contexts. I don't think I'll lose my wonder for them, but my sense of awe for alternative physical laws may be eroding just a bit. Like Rayne, I don't always question whether someone is perhaps mistaken or joking about the world that they come from. In fact, I would venture to say that I have more critical questions when the described place seems more similar to my own." Ren adds with a grin, "Unfortunately, I haven't any of my own stories of great interstellar civilizations to share, as my people can only lay claim to such accomplishments as interstellar cruises and squeezable pouches of filter-feeder protein hydrolysate."
Far too many planets, hmm? You can never run out of cultures when you have space flight!
Anne leans back just a bit. "Well, that's probably for the best. This place alone gives enough headaches! Though for me they are the good kind, borne of medical necessity! I do so love puzzles like that!" She gives a long laugh.
The woman perks up just a bit. "You don't say? I have a few videos of dances from a few worlds I have been to. I will send you them if you want! Uhh, just ignore any antics. Social lubricants and all! ...And I had nothing to do with the toga party in that one video. Definitely." Cough. "I can understand that. I certainly pester other mages more than enough on their magics, I can see it would be the same with planets! Your kind seems peaceful. Much better than we humans I think."
Rayne gives Ren a grin. "Don't knock those interstellar cruises. I had a honeymoon on one with amazing views of a nebula." She raises an eyebrow at Anne, however. "Toga Party? And... what, pray tell, is that, exactly? And surely, you can't actually expect us to ignore any antics." She gives a bit more viscous of a grin than usual.
"I would love to watch those videos," Ren cheerily rasps, Ren and rhinophores leaning forward attentively. "Indeed, it's hardly a proper sociological study if one ignores 'antics' and focuses only on the scripted performances," Ren agrees with Rayne's remark, smiling. "That said, I would certainly try to understand the social context properly and not try to draw unwarranted conclusions about the how the culture or individuals normally act."
Urk! "W...well!" Bluuuush! "Basically you dress up in the equivalent of a white sheet and little else, then get very drunk and dance around! ...It wasn't my idea, I swear! Oh Saints, here!" At the very least, Ren will get a sudden video sent to her, of a bunch of military looking cadets at a party. As it turns out, Anne is a horrible dancer while drunk! There's way too many horrible songs being sung too, and Anne being tickled by her friends.
Her head hangs just a bit, Anne sighing. "That's very kind of you to be so...tolerant! But I assure you, drunken stupidity is the same no matter where you go. Feel free to watch. Oh, here, and have some formal dances from the TSAB. Far too many of those things." Send send! Ren will have quite the trove to go through!
Rayne says, "Hah! Okay, yeah, I'll give you that. Drunken stupidity is drunken stupidity." She then frowns. "Never been one much for formal dances, though. The only good part of them was the excuse to wear the super-fancy dresses." She nods to Ren, with whom she'd had that conversation before."
"I can't say that I have ever overused the incense... while at a party, but that is hardly a strange notion to me," Ren remarks amiably, extending a 'wing' to offer Anne a pat on the shoulder. Ren looks up as the messages somehow arrive at the computer, but Ren doesn't check them while conversing. "Thank you," Serenity says cheerfully to Anne. "Are you saying that we wouldn't be surprised by anything at all," Ren asks Rayne with a grin, "if you happened to be in the middle of some intoxicated revelry?"
Anne bleh's! "I hate formal gatherings. Too many stuffy coats and people full of themselves!" Huff! It seems Rayne has a partner in that!
To Ren, she blinks. "Incense? Well, I suppose any species has its intoxicants!" Mental note, find these incense. Sigh. Leaning into a fishy pat, she grins! "I can see it now! So very scandalous! NO doubt you were the talk of local newsnets after your legendary parties!" She teases Rayne right along with the fish.
But then her Device beeps, and she frowns. "Bah. Excuse me ladies, it seems like an idiot broke his leg. I should get going. See you two soon, hmm?" A little wave, and then she and Blitz are off to the clinic!
Rayne smiles a bit sheepishly. "Weeeeeell, you missed me at that one Christmas party, Ren. I managed to get a little drunk there... I don't know if I have a high metabolism or if it's somehow related to being a phoenix, but I get drunk pretty easily, but don't stay that way." She nods to Anne. "The people most often involved are the biggest problem with those kinds of dances, typically... well, the slow music doesn't help, either." She then blinks as the other woman suddenly gets up, and laughs. "Work calls, right? Sucks to have a job where you're always on call." She grins and waves at Anne as the doctor leaves, well aware that Rayne herself had done the same earlier.
Serenity grins at the teasing from Anne, then nods to Rayne. "I suppose that I'll need to wait another year to see the like of that," Ren says, motioning toward her. "But I imagine that dull people will not be a problem around here." Ren looks up curiously as Anne rises. "Congratulations on getting involved so quickly," Ren remarks approvingly.