|Into the Wild Black Yonder|
As she arrives in Felicity's company, Gemma is fashionably late as would be expected. She was allowed to sleep in and after she got up and made herself presentable, they went out to brunch, one of the loveliest inventions of the modern era. After nearly a week of not doing much, sleeping much more than would be proper and having many a heart to heart with Felicity, Gemma finally feels more like herself, and a lot calmer and open to trying out new things. With some distance from their fight now, she is ashamed of having acted in such a beastly way, and to have harbored less than noble feelings about Felicity's situation and her new friend. Mimi no doubt saved their friendship and now that she has had a bit of time to get to know her and process it all, she is grateful indeed. "Good morning, Mimi," she says cheerfully as she spots the girl checking the outside of the aircraft. "Is it even still morning?"
"She is with her paramour," Felicity quips, a hand on her hip as she surveys the plane with no little pleasure. She may not have the connection that Mimi does to this magnificent piece of machinery, but she certainly appreciates the possibilities it affords her. To her, this plane is synonymous with the promise of adventure. Purpose! ALL of that is extraordinarily fun. "You'll be lucky to get two syllables out of her when she's in that mood," Felicity says with a grin. Yes, Mimi is generally very absorbed in her work. No question.
Mimi Valroon taps the radar antenna on the lower left wingtip, then looks back to the pair and finally nods. "Good... Well, I hope it's morning. I've got some sandwiches and sodas in a cooler inside if we're past there already." She steps over to the nose of the craft and pats it lightly befores asking Gemma, "What do you think of her? They didn't have planes yet in your time, right? Just airships?" Paramour indeed. Or perhaps it's better described as her baby? She's not arguing with Felicity's comments, at the very least.
"Right, though I have see airplanes in other places. Yours looks different though, less? polished I suppose. It looks closer to a war plane, not one for passengers. You've been talking about the great war, were you fighting in it?" Gemma asks, unsure how to feel about the craft just yet, and especially about riding it. She is ready for trying things, but is also very aware of her last ship ride and how she felt for most of it. Hopefully she can get her.. sky legs? Felicity politely allows for Mimi to fill in all of those little details for Gemma. She knows the story fairly well herself, by now, but is allowing the young woman to speak of her pride and joy. She likes watching her when she does. It seems to cast a whole new light on the funny little blonde's face - scar and all. Meanwhile, she contents herself to climb aboard already and go poking about inside, being nosey about just what kind of provisions Mimi keeps in stock now that she's had a chance to rearrange some things. Maybe getting a better look at its interior will also help them figure out how to organize for sleeping arrangements and such. Hah. A crew of three. Felicity is very prepared to make herself at home here.
Mimi Valroon shakes her head. "No, I was too young to join the WASPS... Halberd, though, she fought in it. She's a P-65b Crossguard... a night fighter. She's war surplus... though the military took their radar out. I've gotten a less powerful one to put in... good for spotting storm clouds in the dark. And landmasses out here, I'm guessing." She motions for Gemma to follow her on up into the side hatch. So far Mimi hasn't actually installed anything new just yet... she's holding off on that for now. But the hammock is gone now, and the containers on the wall have a bit less in them than before... as much of their contents have been moved to Fee's apartment for the time being. To the left of the entrance hatch is a raised seat hanging from the ceiling... clearly there for that gunner up top to sit in. To the right(or rather, to the front of the craft) is the cockpit and its two seats and myriad of dials and switches. Only three seats... definitely a crew of three. And yet, for a year, it had a crew of just one, Mimi. Also, the inside looks even less polished than the outside, with frame bracing clearly visible.
Following Mimi inside, Gemma finds that she is not reassured to see what it looks like. Surely if this belonged to the military it has to be sturdy and safe though.. But she will be a good sport and not complain about it because that is the sort of person that she is and it is what must be done. "Where am I going to sit, then?" She asks given that there are only three seats and the assignment has most likely been made already, one being obvious pilot and the second whichever Fee has set her sights on.
Felicity comes up behind Gemma and gently takes her by the shoulders, steering her towards the front. "This is an experience to be relished in its full splendor! You simply must ride along with Mimi as I did." That means sitting in the front. The cabin offers up it's dizzying array of switches and dials of of which will surely reveal as much to Gemma as they did to Felicity - which is to say nothing at all. However, sitting in the front does give Gemma the perfect bird's eye view of the landscape. If she is to appreciate flying, she will have to see this for herself. Felicity turns her attention to Mimi, Gemma now deposited in the proper seat. "I shall sit up there." She points to the seat hanging from the ceiling and flashes a grin. She will want to be used to that, after all.
Mimi Valroon nods in agreement, then moves alongside Gemma to make sure she's strapped in... then looks back to the seat that Fee is clearly going to be sitting in. "Let me show you how to strap yourself in." She shows Fee the footholds to climb in, the straps and, yes, the controls for it. "When I've got the engines on, there'll be enough power for you to turn this around. There's no rounds loaded, but... still please don't pull the triggers while we're over the city." With that said, she makes her way on to the cockpit herself and straps in before she starts flipping switches and turning knobs. Sure, they're all labeled, but it's clear Mimi isn't looking at the labels. She's not even looking at the switches or knobs, but instead at dials that also seem foreign to non-pilots. "Put on the headset on the back of your seat," she says, pointing to a set of large headphones stowed there. No, she's not forgetting this time. She calls back to Fee, "There should be a set on your seat as well." With that said, her own is on as well and she flips one final switch. The engines engage, then roar to life. "Let me know when you're ready," she says over the plane's headphone based intercom system.
Headset on, wide eyed and gripping the seat, Gemma is as ready as she's ever likely to be. The roar of the engine reverberates inside of her and she cannot say she is fond of the sensation. "R-Ready," she says anyway, because it serves no purpose to delay the inevitable.
Felicity takes time to adjust to this new rigging. It's not like the seat in the front, that has that reliably stationary feel that simulates having one's feet on the ground. Literally, Felicity does not right now but the prospect is thrilling. She's got the headset on and her hands on the guns controls too, in spite of being cautioned. She won't fire, of course, though telling Felicity not to do something is as good as any dare. Still, when she made up her mind to invite herself onto Mimi's crew, she was quite in earnest about learning the ropes and therefore takes this privilege with the gravity it deserves. She won't do something stupid now. At any rate, the engines crank on and she can feel her heart begin to beat a little faster. The anticipation of that take off already has her buzzing with excitement. "Don't go easy on her, Mimi. Halberd deserves better! " She says with a wicked laugh.
Mimi Valroon glances back over her shoulder at Fee. "No, I think I'll be avoiding the more complex maneuvers. No barrel rolls today. Gemma, if you need it, I did get some bags for you just to your right." She's taking the possibility seriously that things can go very wrong for Gemma today. "Engaging Varytitite." She brings up a smaller throttle in front of the main one and there's a feeling of moving upwards... accompanied by the view outside, of course. No, it's not negating gravity entirely, just lifting upwards. "Defeathering the props," she announces, and the plane starts moving forward! Stable, simple flight for now, as she pushes the main throttle forward, then brings that smaller throttle back. "...We are now aloft entirely by our wings."
Gemma's heart leaps in her throat when the plane moves upward even though the maneuver is rather smooth. It's a feeling she's not accustomed to and given the extra measures taken by Mimi on her behalf, she hopes she will not embarrass herself today. When the plane moves forward, a quiet "Goodness" escapes her, her hands still clutching the seat. In truth, she's had much bumpier carriage rides than this so far, so it's much more the fact that she isn't yet accustomed to the feelings associated with being airborne in an aircraft and it is not like having control when she and her friends flew using magic. If only she understood the jargon Mimi is using then she might know what is coming next, but as it is now she has to experience it as it comes.
"Spoil sport," Felicity says from her perch, and sticks her tongue out at Mimi - not that the very busy aviatrix will see this. And they're off! Once again that sensation of her stomach dropping assaults her and Felicity is forced to draw a sharp breath. Her grip on the controls tightens, though she's careful to not go pulling any triggers. It is such a rush to take off like this and she isn't quite accustomed to it yet, though to be sure she's enjoying it a good deal more than Gemma would. "Whoo!" Felicity gives a little war cry from the back, apparently thoroughly enjoying the half-uncomfortable, half-exhilarating sensation of being on this plane. "Oh it's bloody marvelous, isn't it Gemma?"
Mimi Valroon flips another switch and, after a few seconds, the ride actually becomes a little smoother. She banks a wide turn, flying around the gardens area, then up towards Mabase Drive and towards the park again. "It's actually a little odd for me having absolutely no air traffic control over a populated area. Do keep an eye out for anything in the sky, but since there's not even an airport, I'm not expecting anything. Just those flimsy balloons, and really, you can't miss those." They rarely are over the city, either, anyway. She lets the talk of the thrill of it go between the other two... To her, this is like cruising down a city street.
"I'm not quite there yet," Gemma offers Felicity, but at least so far she's not feeling sick. The feelings here are not like that of a boat on a rolling sea and that is something to be glad of. As the rode becomes smoother, she discovers that she is starting to feel more at ease and can actually start to look around without being distracted by her racing heart. "The view.. It's incredible! Things look so small from up here, the people.. They are like insects busying about, it's quite fascinating."
Felicity giggles from behind, "Some of them actually ARE insects. There are all sorts of beasties down there, Gemma. Not so different from the Realms in that respect. Oh Mimi! Do one of your tricks? Please!" Yes, Felicity is eager to have a little more of a dare-devil experience up here. Not that the view isn't incredible on its own. She does appreciate it, but she's also a thrill seeker so she tries to put the charm on her. "You're such an extraordinary pilot. Don't be afraid to show off a little. Your talents ought to be enjoyed by all...Gemma will mostly likely survive. If not, we shall pay a fine tribute to her whence she's gone."
Mimi Valroon says, "Being up here can really put things into a different perspective, can't it? What seems so big from the ground can feel so much smaller from up here. It can give you a different perspective on life entirely... And look at how little care most people put to the tops of buildings!" She rolls her eyes unseen at Felicity's request... and the wording of it. Well, this one shouldn't be too bad... She banks the plane a bit more sharply, but also pulls up more, putting them into a tighter turn that still keeps things feeling like the deck of the plane is down, and yet looking out the window it's plain and clear that they're tilted quite a bit. "Isn't that your apartment building to our left?" she asks casually.
"I suppose so. But even from the ground I've often noticed that some of the things people trouble themselves with is not at all worth all the fuss. Of course, given that everything is based on appearances where we are from and the fact that I do not share those kinds of concerns, I might not be the best judge," Gemma says, and just as she's starting to enjoy herself a bit, the sudden maneuver steals an unlady curse out of her. "Blast!" Gemma exclaims, though it's more the surprise rather than the fact that she is starting to feel sick.
Uncharitably, Felicity lets loose a raucous laugh at Gemma's expense. For her part, she let loose a small squeal as it was happening but then found that Mimi was clearly holding back. "Was that all," she asks, never feeling the need to hide her disappointment. She takes it sportingly enough, though. Mimi is the consummate professional and she will not compromise anyone else's comfort for someone else's enjoyment. Such a do-gooder. "Gemma Doyle! Do you kiss your grandmama with that mouth? Tsk. Tsk. America's had quite a de-civilizing effect on you." A pause. "I like it. - Mimi, how fast can you take us?" There's a devilish gleam in this girl's eye. She hasn't tired yet of pushing the envelope. You've got your hands full, Mimi Valroon.
"I've got one more that's not as upsetting to the stomach as you might think." With that said, she does bring it up to full throttle, then pulls back on her control yoke. With that done, the plane climbs for a bit... and then she fully yanks all the way back. They're going up, up, vertical... beyond that! They've gone upside down, but there's still a feeling of gravity from the plane's motion. It's over quite quickly, however, that odd sensation of the ground above one's head, and they're leveling out again... a bit lower than they were before, granted, but it's there. Where were Mimi's eyes during this? On one of her gauges. Watching that airspeed indicator was important when they were vertical. The throttle had gone back down when they were diving, of course, as well.
"It is something I learned from my brother, sadly, not America. I've been called uncivilized many a time before though, Cecily comes to mind as does Mrs. Nightwing, or have you forgotten?" The plane suddenly lurches and Gemma grips the seat anew, feeling the change in pressure and her blood move to her head. "Goodness, goodness, goodness?" she mutters the whole time until they are finally back to normal and then a nervous giggle escapes her. "T-That was quite something, I can't decide if I've liked it or not.." So far so good though as far as her stomach holding onto its content.
THIS time, Felicity got what she asked for. It may not be a death defying feat, but its certainly a feeling altogether alien to her. The plane goes vertical and already Fee is feeling its effects. She lets loose with another "WHOO," and then dissolves into laughter that sounds almost half-crazed. Nervous energy. Even more peculiar is the sensation she gets when realizing that down is up and up is down. "Oh!" She says, for a moment a wave of something like panic gripping her, but it quickly passes and the result is a much, much happier Felicity than when the flight began. Felicity howls, yes, howls from the back and showers Mimi with cheers. "Oh how sublime! Mimi that was extraordinary! WONDERFUL! Again! Do it again!" But now she's only being greedy. "You MUST teach me to do that when I learn to fly. I shan't give you a moment's rest until you do!" She won't either.
Mimi Valroon offers a quick grin to Gemma as she explains to them both, "I figured it's nice and dramatic without actually being too gut-wrenching. I figure I should get you guys more familiar with how all this feels before I start doing rolls and stalls." She glances at a gauge, then adds, "Though you always lose altitude when doing that." Indeed, they're currently climbing again, getting back up to their original altitude. "Baby steps, Fee, baby steps. If you screw that up, you can stall out, and getting out of that is not as easy."
Gemma shakes her head for Mimi's benefit and looks at her with wide eyes while mouthing "Don't". She's not eager to get in peril again just yet and the thought of being at the mercy of Felicity and her enthusiasm is not a welcome one as she needs a lot more thrill than Gemma herself.
Felicity may be a bit of a dare-devil, but she certainly isn't fool enough to try and play with things she doesn't fully understand...at least, not just this second. She says nothing to Mimi, but nods her assent. She accepts this explanation and seems to be enjoying herself regardless of the lack of loop-de-loops this outing has afforded her. "When can I shoot something?" Ah there it is. This is the question she poses after only a few moment's peace. Ms. Worthington has an itchy trigger finger.
Mimi Valroon gives Gemma a quick nod, figuring what it is she's saying the 'don't' to is to do it again. She of course can't see Felicity's nod from where she is, but neither can Fee see Mimi's eyeroll. "When we have something to shoot at," she says. "So not here. Maybe when we get to the next island out next flight we can have some target practice?" She takes a deep breath in, then out. "But... my next question is, are you ready to see what's out there beyond the sky? Both of you?"
Despite having willingly traveled between worlds for years, Gemma's mouth seems to dry up at the question and she swallows. "You mean the void?" After what she's seen from that, there are many things she'd rather do than to plunge into it. The combination of the dark swirling vortex and its unknowns do not seem to be the kind of place one wishes to go on vacation that's for sure.
Felicity feels none of the hesitance that Gemma seems to convey. "I am, " she announces, sounding unwaveringly resolute. It is not unlike Felicity Worthington to plunge headfirst into the unknown. To this end, however, it should be noted that her determination in this task is equal to the faith she puts in Mimi's skills as a pilot. In anyone else's hands, she may not be so trusting of her own fate.
Mimi Valroon she glances at Gemma again. This is more up to her at this point. She reaches over to the console in front of the redhead and flips a few switches. The circular viewscreen in the center of the panel in front of Gemma hums to life showing a few vague shapes. "That's the radar screen, Gemma. It lets us see in the dark... and there's a lot of darkness out there. It's part of how we're going to plan on finding the missing landmasses out there. And... did you ever learn any orienteering?" she asks somewhat doubtfully. The last was more or less directed at both, however.
Seeing in the dark sounds rather nice but isn't a concept Gemma has had the pleasure to play with really and it sounds more like wishful thinking, but Mimi knows what she is talking about and she is also from another era. Gemma has seen many things in other worlds and isn't a complete stranger to some forms of technology, but she can guess that most people would not need such things in everyday life even in more modern eras. "I cannot say I have. My amulet doubles as a compass at times, but I doubt it works in a similar fashion," she says, pulling said amulet up and slightly towards Mimi. "Plus, I don't think it serves any purpose other than those that are Realms related."
Felicity doesn't much enjoy the prospect of being left out of anything remotely interesting. From her perch here in the back, and with nothing to shoot at, Felicity is forced to third-wheeling it. That's simply unacceptable. She begins to undo her harness, "Hold on, if you're going to explain how to read the radar, I'm coming too!" Surely she doesn't HAVE to be seated, right? Well, she's about to find out because she's unbuckling herself as she speaks, and is very prepared to climb down.
Not to worry, Fee! If this were an airliner, the 'fasten seat belts' light would not currently be on. Straight and level flying for the moment. If Mimi turns, it's a long, slow one that is easy to compensate for. "Well, compasses get a little screwy out there. We're gonna have to rely on gyros and will need to calculate distances from airspeeds... we may all need to study up more on that if we're going to do this?" It's actually vocalized as a question. She's not sure what Gemma is thinking for now. "So the necklace... only works in the Realms?"
As she listens to Mimi, Gemma nods her agreement. Yes of course, it makes so much sense to learn on this subject before jumping into the void, and she's fine with that. Instinctively, she looks down at her amulet when Mimi asks about it and her fingers caress its side for and instant, a memory of her mother passing by in her mind. "Well, more or less," she replies. "It can work outside too, but as far as I know it is only good to find your way back there, or inside to find certain places - it glows when you are on the right path. It's rather simple to use yet easy to miss as it can be subtle at times. Depending how close you are it's glow will be weaker or stronger."
By now, Felicity has made her way to the front of the cabin, her post abandoned for the time being. She leans against Gemma's seat, craning her neck slightly to get a good view of the radar screen. This is the first time she's really paid any attention to something like this. Her father's ships never had this kind of technology, so even her brief visits - the once or twice she had them - wouldn't have lent her any inkling of what this is or how it works. She's going to have to strain to hear, but she's game all the same. "That's it there?" She points to the screen. "This will show you objects up ahead? How?" She all but shouts her question.
Mimi Valroon nods to Gemma as she looks back forward. "I see. Sounds like it could be really useful in the right circumstances, but..." 'Not this one' is what goes unsaid. "Oh, uh..." She glances back at Fee again, then lowers her mic so as not to blow out Gemma's(and her own) eardrums as she shouts, "It's like... you know how when you yell in some places you can get an echo? It's kinda like that, except it's light instead of sound, and it's a kind of light we can't see." She hopes that makes sense. "It's pretty blurry, though... I mean..." She noses down a bit so that Integra Arms shows up, but it's a fairly vague blob instead of the boxy building it should be.
Casting a doubtful look at the radar, Gemma says, "I see that this is as cryptic as my visions. And that helps you navigate? Because as far as I'm concerned they do not and most of the time I end up realising what they mean when it's too late, so hopefully this isn't the case."
Felicity gives Gemma a haughty little smile, "Hopefully Halberd will not be informing you that specters lay in waiting within the void, eager to devour our flesh and suck marrow from our bones. Too bad, Gemma. It appears you won't be able to rely on your third eye this time around." She rather likes this prospect, she and Gemma on a level playing field. She may have grown in these last few years but she is not above being just petty enough to give her friend a playful razzing. "There." She points to the odd amorphous blob on the screen. "That is Integra Arms?-- Are we meant to be able to decipher this? It's only a shape. IT looks like a blob." She scrutinizes the image thinking it quite crude indeed.
Mimi Valroon sighs and nods. "It was hard for me to get even this outdated radar. If I could have gotten my hands on the radar Halberd was built to house, well, we'd be able to pick out things a little smaller than Halberd herself. Buuuuuuut.... that's still considered too 'secret' to be able to just hand out to civilians, unlike the rest of a Crossguard." She looks back at Felicity to say, "But the important part is it will show us when we're coming up on a landmass. It's dark out there." She looks ahead and says, "And if it looks darker, kinda like an actual cloud? It's lots of small things. Like rain."
A finger on her lips and looking to the side in a thoughtful expression, Gemma says, "Yes, I see, but that was there, was it not? Maybe it would be possible to get something better here, something that might not be as good as military grade, but that would still be even better than Halberd's original radar." Suddenly, she turns her head round to face Felicity. "Fee, you've been here the longest, do you think that we could get our hands on something like that?"
Felicity arches a brow. It's an unexpected question but she rather likes the way it was posed to her. She really has been here the longest, hasn't she? "Hmm," she says, considering. "Possibly. I know there is a great deal of technology and magic too that can be found in Mabase. I've not seen any other planes here, though. Only airships...and that was some time ago. Nothing since my return." If some of her old traveling companions were around, they certainly could help but as they are not she does not bother to mention them. To Mimi, she says, "I want to see the void. Will you take us, Mimi." That is really going to be the only way to get a sense for how difficult their jobs will be.
Mimi Valroon winces at calling some other more modern radar 'better than Halberd's original' as 'not being military grade'. It's that reminder again that, to a lot of people here, everything about Halberd is outdated. "I've not seen anything in the markets I've been to," she shouts over the noise. "But I'll keep looking around." She looks up at Fee in surprise at the request to see the void, then gives a quick glance to Gemma. There's a quick nod, then she banks the plane to head to the southeast again. "Okay. We'll make our way," she says grimly.
A sense of foreboding gnaws at Gemma's insides as the plane turns to head towards the void. She keeps her eyes trained on the radar in an attempt to familiarize herself with it for the short time that they can still actually see where they are going and what the blobs on the radar might look like when you set eyes upon them. "Have either of you gone into it already? Are you certain it is safe?" It wouldn't do to make all her way up to here only to croak in the emptiness.
Felicity gestures vaguely with a nod towards Mimi. "Mimi has." She does not, however, set Gemma's mind at ease regarding the dangers that may or may not lay in wait in the Void. If there were nothing to fear, navigation wouldn't be as critical as it appears to be. There is a very good reason for Mimi to use a second with their eyes trained on the radar. Felicity is dying to see what is out there - or rather, what isn't. It sounds deeply disturbing and yet there is something to be said for staring directly into the darkness. She is brave, yes, but her lips are a tight line as she grips the back of Gemmas chair.
Mimi Valroon nods silently. There's a breif moment of silence as they pass over the edge of the land, then she says, "It... disturbed me. But this is something I can do for everyone. Find those landmasses out there. Maybe there's people out there. Maybe there's things out there that can help people here. But most of all, I don't want to forever just pretend that this sky above us is the real thing. I need to go out there." And soon, it's suddenly there. The edge, the blue light of the simulated sky washing over them and then... nothing. There's no more sun shining light down on them. Mimi reaches up and flicks a switch that turns on interior lighting, something she'd forgotten to do ahead of time.
Gemma clenches her jaw when the light disappears for an instant before it's on in the plane. There's nothing reassuring in what she hears, other than the fact that Mimi is still alive and breathing despite having gone there, so there's that. "It seems highly unlikely that there would be people out there. Leftovers of past civilizations maybe, but we cannot see a thing here, how do you suppose anyone could live?"
"We're here, aren't we? We had to get here somehow. Who's to say that there aren't other pockets of reality out there. " She nods toward the absolute pitch black as they venture towards it. "You know what I've seen, Gemma." She goes a little more quiet, "Anything's possible." In spite of the calm in her voice, Felicity's own pulse is starting to quicken. Being marooned in an unknown reality is disorienting enough without being completely cast out of anywhere material. She draws a breath, straightening as one might when facing a firing squad. It's all gone. Just like that, vanished. Now she sees precisely what Mimi meant. There is nothing to see. Nothing at all. It is the most disconcertingly isolating feeling. "Dear God..." She mumbles under her breath. "You came here....alone?" She asks Mimi, in wonder.
Mimi Valroon pauses, then admits, "Well.... if nothing else, yeah, we might be able to just find some interesting stuff." There's a shrug, then she looks over at Felicity. "Yeah, though. There might be. Maybe some other setup. I dunno. But I know some others have found some places out there. Next time we go out, I want to go see one of the ones they've already found. See what it is I'll... we'll be finding out there." That said, she brings the plane around in a wide turn to face Mabase again. There's the landmass, floating in the void, lit up by its artificial sun. The projected sky behind it. The... floating mass above it? Whatever that is up there, it's not visible from the city itself.
As Felicity, Gemma is quite rattled by the experience and the idea of going back there isn't appealing in the least. However, seeing what Mabase looks like as they go back, she can see that there is a false sense of safety in it as well. Anything could happen. Nothing looks stable even though it might feel this way while being in the city. And last but not least, Mimi has a mind of going back there either way, and Gemma has no wish to let her, or Felicity as she very well knows would follow, go back without her. "You won't have to go back there alone again, Mimi, unless that's what you wish." They're friends now, and she will not leave anyone behind, not ever again.
Felicity remains rather silent, taking in the whole of the experience. It's true what Mimi said- it's indescribably upsetting. It isn't only the void that has her feeling odd, though. It's seeing Mabase for what it is that has her perplexed. Until now, she'd taken it as any other city, though a bit torn asunder by fragmented realities. As it turns out even this sense of reality is a ruse. She draws a breath, scowling at the city as it comes slowly back into view. "None of its real, " she mutters bitterly. The landmass comes into view and her eyes flick to its looming shape there and then the radar. "I don't understand any of this."
Mimi Valroon nods absently, reaching over to pat Gemma's hand once. "Thanks." She then looks up at Gemma and shakes her head. "The people are real. They're just all trying to get by. We're all just trying to get by." She then looks out again, then at the radar. "Oh! Well, see there, how the large mass is... hold on, let me widen the scope..." She reaches over to the radar to adjust a dial or two, and then there's an outline of the approaching land ahead of them. "See, here is the land up ahead. If it weren't for the light, this would be the only way we'd know it was there, right? That's why the radar is going to be invaluable." Wait, did she think that was what Fee meant by not understanding? Or is this just her sense of humor?
Gemma offers Mimi a smile then looks at the radar as well as Mabase in turns, the gears turning inside her mind. "Maybe it is possible that some landmasses would have cities like Mabase only the? shell? Maybe the shell would be opaque and then we would never know it is there is no light comes from it," she says. Count on a master of illusions to think of such things.
Felicity looks at Mimi as if she were concussed and speaking absolute nonsense. "I know what it is! I can see that, and the blob!" Felicity's existential crisis has put her in a prickly mood and she retreats into herself, folding her arms across her chest, glowering at the instruments and all of bloody Mabase for messing with her sense of security. Even so, by Felicity standards, she is showing reasonable restraint here. Funny, it isn't the void she finds unsettling after all, it's Mabase. It's Gemma's question that begins to pull her back out of herself. "It's like...something shattered into a thousand pieces and we're all just scrambling about trying to hang onto whatever fractals will have us. We could change that...If what you say is true."
Mimi Valroon nods absently. "Well, only one way to find out." And with that, they're back inside the simulated sky of Mabase once more. There's a slight wince as a hand comes up to shield her eyes from the sun for a moment. "And that's to go out there and see what we can find. Maybe just shattered peices, but maybe whole cities." She glances around and spots the lone tower of the Gardens and starts heading in, reaching around to flip switches and turn knobs as she does so. And one of those switches makes the flight a little less smooth. "Oh, uh... might want to take you seat again, Felicity," she says a slight too late.
"Well, for some people it isn't only about hanging onto anything that will have them, I think for some people Mabase really is home, and the only one they have ever known. Like Mimi said, the people are real. The buildings are, and the lives built there. Even the city itself is real. The only thing that isn't is the sky, the night and day. But in the end, as you get to know people, they all have a different opinion on what is real and what isn't, what is truth and what isn't. Maybe it's all just an illusion in the end and none of us really knows the real truth of it all because we are all blinded by our own perception," Gemma says with a faraway look before the plane shakes and she turns to find out about Felicity's fate.
Felicity makes a face. "Well there's a cheery thought," she says deciding once and for all that she's had enough of this topic of conversation. Best to look forward now. Gemma's right, of course. At least, it suits Felicity for Gemma to be right because it validates the life she has built for herself here. It's precisely the vindication she's been needing just now. As if the Heavens themselves saw fit to shake things up, Mimi absently goes on about her business without sparing a thought to Felicity's lack of restraint. The result is that Felicity loses her balance and tumbles slightly into Gemma's lap. "Warn a lady," she snaps, trying to remove herself from Gemma's person as delicately as possible without so much as an 'excuse me' as she does. She cannot be blamed for any gropings that occurred in the process. In any case, she manages to get herself towards the back and climbs into her seat. She doesn't bother with the headphones this time. They're almost there anyway.
It's as if everthing from the start was going in reverse. Knobs turned, throttles adjusted, switches flipped, just this time Mimi doesn't narrate it. "That... is a bit more existential than I would have put it, but I suppose so, yeah." She then calls back behind her, "Sorry!" She reaches the point where the plane is hovering over the platform, then glances back to make sure Fee is strapped in. Finally, she sets the plane down, far more gently than the last time Fee flew. Sure, it's noticeable, but nowhere near as jarring. "...Thank you for flying Valroon Air."
"Thank you, madam commander." Gemma offers a slight bow and smiles, happy to be on the ground again despite her earlier speech and whether or not it is real or not. After taking off her headset, her fingers work the straps as to free herself from their grasp and, while doing so, she glances back at Felicity then whispers to Mimi, "I'm sure it'll come to no surprise to you that she can be quite moody. I'm not sure what it is that cheers her up nowadays, do you have any idea on how we could improve the situation?"
Felicity also works herself free of her bindings. More than before she's eager to learn how to fire those guns. At the very least, she will feel that she's done something useful. She has had her first taste of the radar, at least. It seems much simpler than Mimi made it sound, though. You look for blobs. How hard can it be? She's starting to climb back down from her seat as she catches Gemma's head bent in conference with Mimi up in the cabin. "What are you whispering about up there?" Surprisingly, she does not go to the front to join them, but rather turns her attention to business. She saunters towards the space cleared away for the bunks and tries to visualize just how to organize the space in a way that will be both practical and comfortable. She holds her chin, scrutinizing the seemingly cramped dimensions.
Mimi Valroon grins slightly while she shuts off the engines, then looks back to Fee as she undoes her own straps. "Oh, no surprise at all. I've not known her nearly as long as you and I've already discovered that one. But the happiest I think I've seen her, short of your arrival, was the shopping trip she took me on that one time." She stands up and steps over to where Fee is looking things over. "Oh, nothing~," she says. "...Trying to figure out how to fit everything?" she ventures. "I could make it work with two, three is being a bit of a challange. Maybe just setting up a tent outside would be better?"
Gemma ventures to where the other two are and looks around, examining the place as well. "Hmm, well it could do in some places, but we have no idea what we might face if we do find other landmasses. Maybe we could install a hammock? Strap it on at bedtime and take it off afterwards, so it won't be in the way and we could still be all safely inside."
"That won't work, she's tried that already," Felicity says, not bothering to offer any alternatives. It does seem that putting her mind to a task, however, is helping her focus on other things at the very least. After a moment, she says to Mimi, "I agree with Gemma, though. We don't know what to expect out there. Perhaps one of us should keep watch. We take turns, then we'll only require two beds at a time at any point." Felicity's got her hands on her hips, the glint in her eyes and curious expression that could lead one to suspect she's already picturing what kinds of creatures she can impale on the end of her sword, or with an arrow.
Mimi Valroon nods in agreement with Fee. "That's actually the setup I had before. For just me." She points out the two hooks, then adds, "They take up more space than you think, especially by the length." She frowns, then looks over the place. "Well, if we set up the bunks as I'd originally planned, then have another just on the floor with a mat or sleeping bag..." She shrugs, then opens the door. "Lemme go chock the wheels real quick." She doesn't seem as concerned with keeping watch.
"That seems reasonable, I've slept on worse," Gemma says. "Would you be able to stand it?" She asks with a grin, obviously teasing Felicity about her own beddings at home.
Felicity volleys back with a cryptic, "What makes you think I haven't?" Felicity moves closer to where Gemma is, eying her curiously. Funny, she seems no worse for wear after their flight into the void. Somehow that's vaguely irritating, though she won't entertain that just now. "So! How does it feel to command the skies, Gemma? Its marvelous, isn't it? Makes everything seem so small." Felicity moves towards the hatch, leaning there on one arm in a pose that is far more swashbuckling than it has any business being. "Are you up for this? To see all there is out there? Do you really want to know?" She watches Mimi go about her business as usual just below. Nothing seems to distract her from her purpose, does it? There's something enviable in Mimi's simplistic ways.
There's also the practicality part of not wanting to rely on just brakes to make sure Halberd doesn't fall off the tower! Mimi looks back up to the now blocked by Fee hatch and says, "We can take turns being on the floor," she says. "And I know I'm up for it. It's a bit more extreme than what I did back home, but it's essentially the same thing."
Crossing her arms, Gemma replies to Felicity. "I can handle it. I've seen and done things that were equally dismaying, only back then I didn't have the luxury of company. So this, with us three, it doesn't sound so bad after all." Her grin makes her look much braver and eager than she feels, but even though the plane might not be her favorite means of transport so far, having shared the experience with friends makes it so much better than what she had grown accustomed to lately.
"Hah! You've been caught you in a lie, Gemma Doyle. You were not always wanting for company, though you'd like us to believe so. Think of all your good friends you left behind a few worlds back. The were fine company!- all wriggling legs and voracious appetites. " Ah yes. She had to bring up the locusts. By now, Mimi returns, or rather she would like to but Felicity seems to be standing in her way. She steps aside, giving the aviatrix passage. "I'm in," she says, settling the sleeping debate, "And so is Gemma. You've got your team now."
Mimi Valroon smirks as she climbs in and takes her seat in the pilot's chair, then swivels it around to face the other two. "It sounds like it. Well then. I think our next flight will be training of sorts for all of us as we go find one of the islands someone else already has?" There's a pause, and then she says a bit more timidly, "And... how goes trying to get to the realms?"
Pouting, Gemma retorts, "If you keep bringing this up, Felicity Worthington, I swear I shall make it my life's mission to give you a taste of that world before I die." The conversation moves onto other subject and Gemma leaves her threat hanging in the air for a later date. "To tell the truth I have not tried yet. I came here to find Felicity and in other worlds I only started searching for the door when I felt certain that she was not there."
"I've not seen Zelgadis for several days now. Last we met, he was searching for..." Felicity pauses and then says with meaningful emphasis, "an 'appropriate venue' for our experiments. He is so very like a temperamental artist who needs the light just so before inspiration takes him," she says with a grin. In all likelihood what Zelgadis is really striving for damage control. Best to limit their attempts at conjuring to a very controlled area. This, however, is decidedly out of Felicity's scope."Now that Gemma is here, you may be seeing the Realms much sooner than you'd hoped, Mimi." Felicity stalks towards the front and throws herself into the passenger's seat, lavishing the young woman with one of her winning smiles. "After what you've seen, you could do with a little magic."
Mimi Valroon nods once to Gemma, then looks at Felicity with a slightly tilted head. "Ah, yes. The man you said looked so hideous that I'd run away screaming and then tried to convince me to date?" She rolls her eyes. "And I've not seen anything you two haven't, now."
Gemma's eyes widen. "I've not heard that story yet!" She exclaims as if outraged that such matters were kept from her. "Do not worry so, Mimi, she does that to everyone." A wicked smirk stretches her lips. "Did she ever tell you about Horace, the man she almost married?"
"YE GODS! There's a name!" Felicity shakes her head, looking thoroughly disgusted by the very thought. "I was never going to marry him," she says for Mimi's benefit. "The very thought...Ech." She shudders. "Horace Markham, that old milksop! It's a wonder he's ever come into whiskers." A sly look works its way on Felicity's features and suddenly she's smirking again. "You might do well with him, though, Mimi. He's more your sort of fellow - I wager. Innocent."
Mimi Valroon glances at Gemma and dryly says, "Yes, I'm beginning to get that." She pauses at the elaboration of Horace, taking a moment before she says, "'Milksop'? And why is it you seem to think every guy you reject would be perfect for me?" >.> "And I don't see how I'm innocent," she mumbles.
Gemma glances at Felicity and brings her hand to her mouth, hiding the smile that takes shape there and struggling to keep a giggle in. "Well, Mimi, luckily for you, that means you can have any man in this world or the next."
Felicity has a good laugh at this to Gemma's benefit and at Mimi's expense. She shares a glance with her friend, but her Cheshire grin will reveal nothing more. She's perfectly content to let that lay. After a moment, though, her expression changes and she lets out a little huff. "I want to do something fun!" Nothing petulant in this statement.
Mimi Valroon glances at Felicity. "High standards much?" She rolls her eyes, then says, "I don't want any man in the world, I want a good one." She shakes her head, then asks, "Well, have anything in particular in mind? We've already done everything I was planning on doing today."
By now, Gemma is barely containing her giggles. Mimi isn't wrong about Felicity's high standards one bit, but she is wrong about many other things. She makes a face at the next part though. Her criteria sound so? generic. As much as she doesn't agree with Felicity on everything, she would on this matter as this sound like the most boring coupling in the world. But before she can say anything about it the subject moves on to activities and one of her eyebrows quirks up. "Do not look to me for answers, I hardly know this place as I've only been here a few days."
"Why shouldn't I? Just because you are easily satisfied doesn't mean I should be," Felicity says, staring down her nose at Mimi in such a condescending manner. She isn't angry, though. This comment merely comes as a statement of fact. Her standards might be high, it's true, but not necessarily in the way that Mimi imagines. It isn't about a man being utter perfection or about money. It's about a true and deeply felt connection that must be mutually felt. Also, it would be ever so helpful if the person in question were sans penis. That is rather a sticking point. As the conversation is back to what they will do, however, Felicity considers their options. She is in one of those particularly vexing moods where she finds herself with an abundance of energy and very little outlet for it. "Gemma!Perhaps you could try to make the door of light appear. There are three of us here now and..." And Gemma's already said that doesn't work here. "Oh bloody hell, I don't know.....I could do with something to shoot."
Mimi Valroon glances away. "If I were so easily satisfied I think I would have been on a few more dates than I have been," she mumbles. There's a shaking of her head, then she tilts her head. "Should I get my guns out of the nose?"
Uh oh, these two, they will not let it go, this could go on for hours? "I thought you said we should not shoot at anything around the city? This was rather sound advice if you ask me," Gemma says, hoping that the subject will move on once and for all as she has seen this sort of tug of war go awry on more than one occasion.
Oh no, Felicity is on the scent of blood and there will be no turning back now. Its as if Mimi flipped the magic switch and suddenly, all of Felicity's surliness seems to evanesce. She is about to voice her assent when Gemma interjects with something sensible and it brings a harsh, "Oh hush, Gemma! I for one wish to try my hand at modern marksmanship! Mimi, go get them!"
The clouds in the sky of Twisted lazily float along, almost as if they were being carried by an invisible river and they were just being taken along for the ride. Yet, it's not uncommon to see random swirls of color dancing amongst the fluffy white balls of cotton.
Yet, for the observant eye may infact notice that a pink ball of light hurtles through the air on a collision course with the makeshift airstrip, while streaks of red and blue alternate bouncing into the ball. Eventually, the red and blue streaks break off, seeking to return to playing amongst the clouds. The pink ball however slams into the ground, kicking up a violent swirl of dust and debris.
Yet, for those who still bother to pay attention would easily hear the screams of a young man, ranting violently into sky above them.
"WHY ARE THERE EVIL UNICORNS!? GARNET!? PEARL!? AMETHYST?! WHERE ARE YOU GUYS?! WHERE AM I?! WHAT IS GOING ON?!"
Mimi Valroon waves a hand. "Oh, there has to be a shooting range or something in the city, right? I'll go get them." With that said, she's already jumping down from the hatch just as the young man slams into the ground. Apparently she hadn't noticed the oddities ahead of time. They weren't up there when they were flying! She just pauses, not entirely recovered from the landing of her own jump as she looks at the guy that just survived litterally falling from what passes for Twisted's sky. "Uh... what? Unicorns?"
Gemma, who had ducked behind the dashboard as the object crash landed right in front of them, raises her head slightly to look through to windshield with wide eyed and then turns around with an air of disbelief directed at Mimi. "You cannot be serious! That is the thing that is the most noticeable to you in what just happened?"
Well, it is often said that one should be careful what they wish for. It appears that Felicity Worthington has been monkey pawed. She wanted excitement, after all. She simply had no idea that excitement would take the form of an object hurling through the skies at an unbelievable speed and force. Even less, she would have no idea that the object in question would be a boy.
Much like Gemma, she found herself transfixed by the strange glow that suddenly caught her eye, though she herself did not duck, only shielded her eyes from the flash. The moment the figure impacts, she's scrambling from her seat and calling after Mimi on her way to the hatch, "The GUNS, Mimi! The Guns!" If there was ever a reason to have one on hand, this very well could be that one.
"The unicorns! The red and blue ones! You guys didn't see them!?" The boy stands up from the neat little impact crater he made, casually dusting himself off like this isn't the first time he's had that sort of thing happen (nor will it be the last). "You guys haven't seen any Gems around have you? Tall one with black hair? Short purple one with white hair? Maybe a thin one with pink hair?"
Mimi Valroon looks back at the doorway and shouts, "Hey, there's a lot more, that's just the one that I felt I could actually put into words!" She blinks at what Felicity says, then looks over at the guy again. "...I dunno, he doesn't exactly strike me as a threat... He's just kinda... yelling at the sky?" She looks over at him again as that's not longer the exact case. She slowly shakes her head at the part about seeing the unicorns, then asks, again slowly, "Hairy... gems?" She's sloooooowly backing away towards the nose of the plane.
"I agree with Felicity, get the guns, Mimi, now!" In a world where anything seems possible and, especially, any threat, it will not hurt to be careful. "Yelling at the sky is not usually a sign of sanity in most worlds," she adds for good effect. But when the boy switches his attention to them and asks them about the Gems, Gemma is surely glad he did not mention the tall one with the red hair.
Felicity's eyes flick to Mimi, who -not SO surreptitiously- is inching her way towards the nose of the plane where her weapons are stashed. Yes, good thinking. For her part, she's finally made her way out of the hatch and finds herself staring at...some bizarre little troll of a boy. "He's only a boy," Felicity mumbles, thoroughly puzzled by the entire scene. The more the boy in question speaks, however, the more confounding he is. "What an odd little fellow," she says suddenly laughing. "I think he's gone a bit simple. Most likely on impact," her husky and heavily English accented voice only serve to make the young woman sound doubly condescending.
The fact that the trio of women are yelling for guns is enough to make the boy come to a halt. "Whoa! Wait a minute! I'm not a bad guy! I'm just trying to find my friends! Look! I'll show you them!"
He reaches into his jacket pocket, pulling out a rather fancy smart phone. He starts tapping the screen, obviously swiping through the photos, "No.. Pebble.. Another Pebble.. Connie.. Lion.. Lion again.. Dad.. More Pebbles... I need to make sure to change the passcode on my phone again... Oh hey! Mayor Nanefua! Sour Cream... Sadie.. Lars.. Okay, here we go!"
The boy turns the phone towards the trio of gun happy women, showing them a picture of three other people alongside a much younger version of himself. "Look! This is them. You haven't seen them, have you?"
Mimi Valroon shoots a look back at Gemma. The redhead has a certain... lack of subtlety in these situations, apparently. She sighs and shakes her head, but the guy doesn't actually feel threatening to her. But then the cell phone comes out. Ooh! One of these things that... a lot of people have! She's not actually seen one up close before! "There's... pictures?" she says somewhat stupidly. "Uh, no, I've not," she says. "These are the gems you mentioned?" she asks, really not sure if that's right or not.
Felicity barely considers the images on the screen. She doesn't need to look to know she hasn't seen anyone that fits the incredibly ridiculous description this boy offered. She turns her eyes skyward, gesturing vaguely overhead, "Perhaps you left them on a passing cloud."
The boy sighs loudly as the three women confirm his suspicions, and in reality his worst fears. He's here, alone, and he has absolutely no idea just exactly where he is. It takes him a few moments to finally speak again as he does his best to remain calm, collected and composed.
Though there is a brief moment where obvious irritation at Felicity does cross his face. "If they were on a passing cloud, then I wouldn't have been chased by evil unicorns." As silly as the words seem leaving his mouth, it's obvious they're sincere and stated as an utter fact. "Well.. I guess I'll keep looking."
Shoving the phone back into his pocket, the boy walks away, sticking both hands into the pockets of his jacket, only to pause for a moment, turning his head back. "Oh yeah! I'm Steven! Steven Universe! Thanks anyways!"
And with that, Steven breaks into a run, allowing himself to be carried away by the hope that things will work out in the end.
Mimi Valroon pauses, watching as the boy just runs away again, presumably into the elevator. Unless he jumped off the platform. She slowly turns to look back at the other two and says, "Well, that happened. What were we talking about again?"
"Felicity wanted to shoot something?" Gemma says absentmindedly, still a little put off by the incident.
Felicity seems to be the only one of the group to find this entire bizarre happenstance rather hilarious. She seems to be having a good laugh at the boy's expense."What an eccentric performance! Honestly, he was positively barking!" At the very least, this disruption has lightened Felicity's precariously darkening mood. Hands at her hips, she regards her pair of friends, saying "You heard Gemma! Produce your finest pistols, milady Valroon!"
Mimi Valroon blinks and looks back to the nose, then to where Steven had left. "...Does that happen often? Oh, whatever." She shakes her head rapidly and the look of utter confusion finally vacates her face. "Yes, yes. Let me get them. I've a few in here..." She makes her way to the nose, ahead of the cockpit but not quite at the tip where she opens a hatch with a key.
"I was wondering the same thing. I've seen many strange things, but people falling down the sky is not common happenstance to the best of my knowledge," Gemma says, finally getting up from her seat, her hair a little bit messier than when they first left. "You mean to go to the shooting range then? Honestly, I think I still rather prefer archery."
Felicity rolls her eyes a bit, "Oh, don't be so tiresome, Gemma. This is a new age! Arrows are fine and good in a certain capacity but...if you'd seen what I had seen in my travels, you might not turn your nose up at a solid firearm." Of course, Felicity has no experience firing a gun. The closest she has come to is a crossbow. She is a rather quick study when it comes to weapons, for whatever reason. As Mimi opens the hatch, Felicity moves closer to have a look for herself. Maybe something will catch her eye.
Inside the hatch is... More storage! And a lot of wires bundled neatly on the top that lead to another, separate compartment at the very front of the nose. Mimi pulls out a few cases that seem to be to keep whatever is inside protected from the elements rather than being secure, and sets them on the ground. One is long, just over a meter in length, while the other three are significantly smaller. It's clear what's there. A rifle and three pistols. They're even labeled: Winchester '94, Colt SAA, M1911, and Mauser C96. "This is what I have," she announces before taking one more box, one labeled simply, 'Small Arms Ammo.'
"No, I understand their purpose for defending oneself but for fun? At least archery requires a lot more skill if you are to do it right, that is all I meant." By that point, Mimi has returned with her gear. She eyes them all a moment before saying, "If I had to pick one, I'd go with the rifle."
Mimi produces her arms and Felicity is all attention. Her eyes gleam as she takes in the small collection before her. As with everything else, Felicity's idea of looking involves both eyes and hands. She fingers each one in turn, taking a moment to feel the weight of them in her hands, feel the curve of the handle. "My father kept a rifle like this one - for hunting." She takes aim at an invisible target, closing her eye against it but quickly replaces it, moving to the next. Of all the guns, however, the one that most captures her interest is the Mauser. She takes it in her hand, turning it over, "How unusual." She throws a grin back to Mimi and Gemma, "It has a certain elegance, doesn't it?"
Mimi Valroon nods. "Well, yes, but I was learning to fly instead of shoot a bow." She glances back and forth as they seem to pick out favorite already. "Oh, that's what I have that one for, too. Good old Winchester." She's not worried about the aiming. She makes sure there's nothing in the chambers and nothing loaded before she stows them like this. There is a slight wince as Felicity seems to take a liking to the Mauser. "I, er, I suppose," she says. She had no qualms with Fee handling the other two, but for some reason with that one she's slightly worried? There's clearly a story somewhere behind that one. It's also the only one not American made.
Gemma makes a face. "I suppose if you like blocky things. But if we are to do this, I'd rather be long range. I like to see what's coming, and I'd rather be further away from the action if I can afford it. Besides, someone has to watch your back while you get in trouble." She grins at Felicity.
Felicity gives a sharp bark of a laugh, "You!? Ye Gods! It's my back I'm worried about with at my rear. If your marksmanship with a rifle is anything like your archery, we're all done for." She grins and turns her attention to Mimi. "Yes, I shall have this one....What? What's that look for?"
Mimi Valroon nods somewhat absently to what Gemma says, but it's clear she's only half paying attention. She opens her mouth for a moment before actually saying anything. Finally, she says, "I'd... rather you not," in an almost apologetic tone. There's another pause as she tries to find the words, then finally just settles on, "It was Svetlana's."
"You're too unfair by half." Gemma frowns. "I can shoot properly, you know I've had to?" she says, looking ready to brood for an hour, but at Mimi's comment, curiosity gets the better of her. "Who's Svetlana?"
For a moment, Felicity is about to raise a protest. What does Mimi mean by all this? Teasing her with these guns and then denying her at the last minute? She doesn't appreciate it in the least. She is about to tell her as much when she evokes the familiar name. Felicity's protests die on her lips, which close in a tight line. She hasn't relinquished her weapon, mind you. If anything, she seems to be gripping it more firmly. At Gemma's question, her eyes slide back to Mimi. She doesn't supply the answer herself, but rather tries to roll right over the matter as quickly as possible. "All the more reason to take it off your hands," she says, matter of factly. As an afterthought she adds, "It's only a gun, Mimi."
Mimi Valroon takes a deep breath in, then out. "Svetlana... She was... I mean... A lot of things. She was a friend, a companion in the forests. She's also the first person I had to kill." Mimi is showing signs of a lot of conflicted feelings in her, and seems very hesitant to go into details. "She... I mean... We went..." She takes a deep breath in and out again, closing her eyes. "In Macapa, she... I... we met, and then we... we went into the jungle. We went through a lot of things. But she had another partner... or boss, or... I don't know. We had that... last clue and then... I didn't know about Irin until then. She was following us. But they knew where to go then and... Irin told her to kill me."
Gemma's horrified expression slowly changes to one of mixed sadness and understanding. "I'm sorry, Mimi. I had something similar happen once. Someone I thought to me my friend, and she betrayed me used me and left many dead in in her wake. It is a hard cross to bear even when you know the choice you made is the better one of two terrible ones."
Felicity takes in all of this - the story, Mimi's conflicted demeanor - and weighs it behind an impassive mask. She's heard this part of this before. She's known for a while now that Mimi had to kill a woman and that this woman was responsible for the mark upon her face. There's something like understanding there between the two of them at this time. Betrayal is not something entirely unfamiliar to Felicity. At the same time, some of these dots aren't connecting for her. Stubbornly, Felicity holds fast to the gun, holding it up in a near taunt. "If this upsets you so, I would think ridding yourself of that burden would be the best course. What purpose do you have in keeping such a dismal reminder of your bloody past?"
Mimi Valroon shakes her head. "She didn't want to do it. She had to. I saw the look in her eyes. She was scared... but not afraid of me so much as of Irin." Mimi sits down on the grass, her back against the nose wheel. "We didn't get time to talk, of course, but I could see it in her. She knew if she didn't kill me, that Irin would kill us both. So we fought. I cut her jugular vein and then pulled her gun to shoot Irin before she could react." She pulls her legs in, burying her face in her knees. "After that, I saw she had been crying the entire time. Her last words... 'Better you live than me.'"
Shooting a dirty look at Felicity for being insensitive, Gemma goes to sit next to Mimi and puts an arm around her. "It's all right, Mimi. You can keep that weapon if it means so much to you." She sends another glance in Felicity's direction, pleading for her to agree. "There are things it is best not to part with even when they remind us of painful things." At this, Gemma pulls her amulet from under her shirt and shows it to Mimi. "This has helped me in many situations, but it is also an item that was acquired after someone else paid the price with their life. It was later passed down to me by my mother and eventually I found out how she came to be in possession of it, and the terrible things that she did in her youth. There are times I just wanted to throw it away and forget about it all, but I couldn't. Her story is a part of mine, including its beautiful moments as well as the dreadful ones."
Felicity regards the scene with an air of cool detachment. For the life of her she cannot figure why on earth Mimi would feel any sense of loyalty to a woman who was too afraid to make what she takes to be the obvious choice. The question is disquieting in its own way. Gemma's words do nothing to help quell a snippet of memory that flits through her mind. It's only a flash, but moments later she approaches the pair and lets the gun drop at Mimi's feet. "She made her choice," she says quietly. Whether it's meant to be comforting or simply a statement of fact, who can say. Either way, she has relinquished the weapon.
Mimi Valroon lifts her head out of her knees enough to look at the amulet, then nods. Yes, she's crying, but at least she's not sniffing or sobbing audibly. She nods at the end silently, then looks down at the gun that has been dropped at her feet. She carefully picks the gun up and holds it against her chest... still practicing gun safety even if she's 99.999% sure it's not loaded. In other words, she's careful not to point the business end anywhere but at the ground next to her. "...It was the knife I left in the jungle to rust." Mimi then adds, "The Peacemaker was my grandmother's. You'd have liked her. And I think she'd have liked you."
Gemma squeezes Mimi's shoulders. Just imagining what Mimi must have felt in that moment, finding out she was betrayed, fighting someone she thought of as friend, killing two and finding herself in the middle of that jungle alone and wounded when it was all over? How lonely and painful. Gemma can only put her other arm around her and hold her tight for a moment. "You are very brave, Mimi. It must be so hard for you to trust after this happened to you, to let anyone close enough to call them friends again."
Felicity leans against the side of the plane, her arms folded over her chest. She keeps her silence, Gemma clearly better suited to offer Mimi the kindness she so needs at this time. She can think of nothing comforting to say. The greatest kindness she can offer Mimi right now is her silence.
"Well, I tend not to trust Russians anymore, at least," Mimi wisecracks. Getting more sober again, she says, "I've gotten over the... generalness of it. Otherwise I'm guessing I'd not have taken up Felicity's offer to stay in her apartment." She looks up at Felicity and says, "Thanks again for that, by the way." She wipes her eyes with a sleeve and stands up. "Right. We were going to test fire these?"
Gemma smiles kindly and gets up in turn. "If you still feel like doing that," she offers, not wanting Mimi to feel like she is obligated to do anything that might make her feel worse despite a certain someone's insistence and boredom.
Felicity - not unkindly - says, "Not at all." The smile she favors Mimi with may not her most charismatically charged, full-sail sort but it's genuine. Now that Mimi seems to have recovered herself a bit, Felicity is happy to push forward. To her mind, that's the best course in any of these unpleasant situations. Why wallow? Best to charge ahead without thinking as much about such things.
To Gemma she says, "Of course she does and I agree. Personally, I can't think of a more perfect segue. Blow your troubles to oblivion! You'll feel much better." Ah, there's Felicity's comforting words at last.
Mimi Valroon nods and walks back to the cases and carefully packs the Mauser away. "The holsters are all with my stuff in your apartment, so... We'd probably be best off carrying them in the cases. So we don't scare anyone."
"Very well," Gemma says. "I have no idea where this shooting range is situated so you'll have to lead the way." She isn't as excited as Felicity about the prospect, but she can be a good sport, especially since this seems to have helped Mimi recover. Keep going, power through the pain, put on a pleasant smile, she might not have done so bad in their times.