|A Game of Cat and Mouse: Sense and Insensibility|
Life is funny, sometimes.
The blue-haired girl has already worn most of the local book shops out in her search; apparently the works of Atwood and Gaiman are not considered in high demand in this place, let alone Bronte and Dickens. So to the library, she turned. She has been cautiously perusing the shelves, avoiding most of the titles like they might cut her. This place is truly dangerous to an avid reader - one wrong turn and you could get lost in an old familiar story for hours. Days, even.
She does want to go home someday.
SilverSight is probably the only person in the city that *doesn't* want to go home. Why return to such a place? He's made a new... third? fourth? he can't keep track, home here in the library and so it shall be. The pony emerges from the backroom, having gone to search for more books that might be in storage to put on display. He nickers to the human and takes a seat behind the registration counter.
A place such as the library must see a number of faces come and go. Those that work there must have a better intuition on what the more extroverted in expression care to read while others might be quite a challenge to help find the perfect book. This library, though, seems to have fallen into a surprising amount of disuse. A figure enters. Two visitors at the same time; is it a new record?
Each individual that lives in Mabase and within what lies just beyond its borders can include the exotic and unique. It can also contain the mundane and particularly ordinary. It is entirely subjective on which category the new face falls into. A snappy uniform and matching hat frames a fuzzy face while cunning eyes rest in their proper places. Hands casually clasped behind the stranger's back, the person meanders into the building while allowing a scrutinous gaze to wander about the establishment's contents. Not a word is spoken, yet, even as the path taken brings the individual to stand near the occupied desk in a lingering pause.
Occasionally Ami looks up from a shelf or book that has caught her interest, reminding herself of the time and murmuring various things to herself. She came here with a mission, no matter how much she might enjoy it, and she should stick to that. If she can't make the English professor's head spin with how well-versed she is, she might not be picked as a tutor. That would be unacceptable.
Ami does not, in fact, already realize that she's a shoe-in for the position. Her application was immaculate, and there wasn't likely to be stiff competition in the first place, even for a regular applicant. Even if she did realize, she isn't one to rest on her laurels; the new girl must be taught, and this opportunity seemed almost hand-crafted for Ami.
"Few things are impossible to diligence and effort," the bluenette reminds herself, and she smiles when she hears the pony come out of the back room. She offers him a light wave as she sorts through what she's gotten so far. Austen and Pratchett weren't hard to find, but Roth? Now there was a difficult one. Unless she wants to risk losing herself in contemporary fiction, she'd better figure out just where she's going.
Ami's just returning to the catalogue to look him up when she hears the doors to the library open. She resists the urge to draw her attention to whomever just entered - noone likes all eyes drawn to them when they enter a quiet place to read. Would she offer this same courtesy if she knew who had entered? It's hard to say.
SilverSight has been working on cleaning the place up, promise! It just requires lots of dusting and sneezing and putting books away. The pony will keep to himself behind the counter, waiting patiently for books to be checked out or returned or people to get loud so he can shush them. I mean really, who wouldn't want to be a librarian? A friendly hoof wave to the new entrant as well!
An amber gaze falls upon the pony as the feline-face turns and lowers without a single movement from the rest of the person's body. While there may be some observation had of the equine, there isn't a single shred of surprise or wonder to be found in the depths of those eyes. There is only acceptance.
"Non-fiction," comes what must be a practiced library voice, only barely above a whisper, that is followed by an enunciated, "Domestic literature. Not foreign." This would imply a divide between the odd reality known as Twisted and the Multiverse that connects to it and a catalogued separation of local books and periodicals from those that have come from Elsewhere. The politely quiet speaker remains in place expecting to receive some amount of guidance toward the desired destination, though to what extent is left to fate and ponies.
Being a librarian certainly does possess a certain appeal. Ami has always considered the job to be a suitable 'retirement' plan if she should ever tire of her chosen career. Which is a bit silly, because if she knew herself well at all she'd know thet idea for the frank impossibility it is; Ami will never tire of medicine, or of helping people. It's not in her any more than malice was in Usagi or laziness was in Rei.
The thought of her friends causes Ami's brows to furrow slightly. The girl starts to get lost in her thoughts for a moment before she shakes her head and snaps out of it.
"Stop that..." Ami chides herself, and regains her focus. Roth. Jewish American life is a pretty narrow slice of contemporary fiction to find in Twisted's library, but the catalogue does reveal a few titles. She looks pleasantly surprised, and turns to share her smile (bereft of context) with Silver Sight. And that's when she sees someone she'd as soon have not seen again.
The girl pales, and turns back to the catalog, closing it respectfully and more than a bit slowly to keep herself from gaping. She's not prepared for this, but if she keeps calm and collected, maybe things will turn out alright. It's happened before.
At least twice.
Well, once and a half.
SilverSight quite casually points over to an aisle of books over that-a-way, "You'll find local resources, references, written and published works that way, good sir. I do find it easier to keep them seperate from items that have fallen in through the portals and various cracks in the multiverse. Anything pertaining to Mabase City and the realms have been stamped on the inside cover so they don't get mixed in." He doesn't seem to know either of these two individuals, thus has a neutral stance towards both!
As if tracing a line from the point of origin to the point of destination, the tall catperson's head turns to look. "Will I be able to call on you for further inquiry?"
Without waiting for a definitive asnwer, the uniformed fellow begins to walk toward the direction specified in no particular hurry. Any reply given has plenty of time to be offered and received. One might get the impression that this library visitor may be averse to the dust and clutter in the way he keeps his limbs close and his path clear of any book piles or obstacles. This isn't necessarily the case, however. Some people prefer to leave only footprints where they go when it can be helped.
If the stranger has had any observation of the other library occupant, the reaction is quite the opposite of her own. It may be a lack of recognition. It may be a lack of self-bother. One thing is for certain. The path pointed places the movement of the man near the position of the occupied directory.
For lack of a better mental exercise to keep calm, Ami thinks of her friends, as she so often does. She's not so much worried about them as curious about how they're doing, even if their absence is akin to a dozen perforations in her heart. She knows they'll be alright - she has faith in them. Besides, now she has a new one deserving of her attention. They haven't properly met yet, but Ami harbors almost no doubts about how that will go.
She's had that exact meeting several times now, after all.
The thought exercise almost works. Except that the man is heading her way. That is probably because she's standing at the directory. Right. Vacating the catalog and making her way as calmly as possible toward the desk, Ami passes the man-who-may-be-a-cat on her way. Ami offers Silver Sight a small smile as a means of not looking at the tall stranger. She doesn't know the pony, but anyone who'd undertake revamping the library gets bonus points with her, and so her smile is genuine, at least.
"Excuse me, could you point me towards Contemporary Fiction?"
SilverSight does nod to the catman as he wanders off, "Feel free to ask anything you like, sir. I'll happily do my best to provide assistance." Attention is then turned to the human and he nods with a smile, pointing this-a-way next, "Fiction found from other worlds happens to be over in this direction. There's no real way to separate each individual world's works from each other, but you may follow the standard Dewdrop Decimal System if you're looking for a particular author." Sorted alphabetically by last name and so on.
While it may not be seen due to her stare straight ahead, Ami may yet feel the way the militaristically-dressed person follows her passing with his eyes. The figure makes no effort to slow down, pause, or turn in any way in order to follow her path with step or glance. Why then does the feeling of that gaze seem to linger on? Additionally, Ami may also pick up on a recurring scent from her first brush-against encounter. A faint aroma of something rich, woody, and almost herbal. There may be comparison, yet the true source is something likely alien to her own home world. Same for the pony. Cologne? Oils? It may heighten his nearby presence while providing ever more mystery. The scent is there, then once passed beyond is gone, yet still seems to linger in the mind. If, that is, one allows it.
Turning away, the cat steps behind a row of shelving and disappears from sight during his perusal of titled and sorted works.
That sense of being watched, and whatever passes through the air, are noted by Ami as she walks, but she's staying calm. That's the thing she's doing. So she makes it to Silver Sight without further incident.
"Dewdrop de--" Ami sounds mildly confused, but only for a moment, and then she smiles a little brighter at Silver Sight. "Of course, thank you." It must be called that where he's from. At least it was an easy translation.
The girl of fair blue hair wanders slowly over towards the contemporary fiction section. She's more worried about what the smelly cat is doing here, and much less worried about the difference in literature across multiple universes. Hey, maybe she'll find the works of some Phillip Roth who had a pleasant and entirely non-racially charged childhood.
But probably not.
SilverSight nickers softly, "Anytime! I'm open to provide aid to you as well, should you ever need it." He's a quiet pony otherwise, just keeping track of the both of them, doing some extra cleaning here and there and making sure books are in their proper places.
Shuffling, sifting, and sliding of cover against cover, paper against paper, is all that can immediately be heard from where the cat person disappeared. They begin as something entirely calm and well-socially manicured but begin to grow in pace and stiffness. "...no..." The individual must have a very good idea of what he's looking for. "...no..." By the sounds of things, he's not finding it. "...no..." There are no careless tossings of books or stacks of papers or droppings of magazines upon the floor. There is only an exasperated sigh. Maybe even two.
Then, everything regarding the tall one goes quiet. The corner of his mouth twitches unseen in frustration. A single page or two flipping is all that is uttered from the search. Eventually, a book slides into place whence it came. Silence follows. There aren't even footsteps to be heard amidst any movement glimpsed through the rows of books on the shelf's opposite facing were one to find the position to look just right.
If Ami weren't so tense, the man going silent wouldn't likely bother her. It's unfortunate that he's having difficulty finding what he's looking for, but the library was once a hallowed place for her, back home. She'd no more step in to intervene when someone was looking for a book than she would ask them for money; it would disrupt their harmonious isolation.
But that was then.
Now, she's more than a little curious about the figure that left quite an impression on her at the police station. So when she hears the man grow more and more frustrated, and then fall silent, she does what only busybodies and snoops do - and slowly moves to the edge of her aisle and peeks around it to see if she can get context for what's going on. This will end well.
SilverSight is happy that the library is seeing new use! Over time, more and more people will know that it's open for business. Word will get around and soon he'll have so many cutomers he won't know what to do with them all! Fortunately he's merely an employee of sorts, not the boss in charge of that. Poor Sunset.
Standing there at the end of one aisle of books with his back facing the one taking a peek is the stranger. Perhaps there has never been a better time to have a look over the make of his uniform, the intricate details of coat and cape, the tight stitching, the golden threads woven seamlessly into the jet fabric, all perfectly tailored to the individual's form while allowing for the comfort of mobility, and maybe even the more animalistic pointed ears that stick out from either side listening?
Head bowed, book in hand, the browsing cat stops what he's doing, lifts his head, and as if sensing something from behind begins to turn his head to look over his shoulder. Clapping the book shut suddenly, the glance is interrupted and pushed back into the hole left behind on the shelf before turning to depart the domestic non-fiction section the exact way he came. That was close, no doubt.
"Bibliosoph," addresses he of the pony behind the counter long before his approach brings him there. This time the pace is quicker than previously. "I require access to your archives. The periodicals that you have catalogued and available are too recent." The look on his face shows that he is being earnest, genuine, and quite serious. A hand is raised and a clawed finger is extended to point at the pony. No. Not at the pony. Beyond the pony, to the door behind the desk.
Where does that door even lead? Is the guess of an archival depository beyond just that?
Of course, the moment Ami tries to regain sight of the sharply dressed man, he notices. Why be surprised? The girl, who is most definitely tense, doesn't jump or nearly-drop her books or do anything of the sort that might be expected of someone in her position. It's not that she knew he could hear her, it's more that it simply made sense as the next step in this low-stakes game of cat and mouse she's found herself a part of.
She's about to speak up when he slams the book shut and runs off to talk to the library's very own pony. Oh. She'll just get back to looking for Roth again... ... Probably.
SilverSight blinks at the word being used in his direction. Never heard of such before, but he does assume that it's a decent one at least, since this being so far hasn't been terribly rude or the like. A bit curt maybe, but not agressive or actively demanding. He knows what he wants and takes the shorted path to get it. He shakes his head however at the direction, "That door is the store room, employee area, and my living quarters." He points over at another direction, "Archive room is that way. It contains multiple different forms of archival material and the machines to view them, separated into individual cubicles." From magazines and newspapers to a couple computers with external hard drives, to a crystal ball on a velvet pillow and so on.
That pointing finger sweeps through the air to meet that direction, lingers, then curls back to join the other digits. "Good. I assume that these archives extend back before the recent greivous injury upon which nearly tore this place apart? A bit colorful in its telling, but that's what people speak of it. Published scientific journals? Photographs? Schematics of buildings no longer existent?"
The man suddenly quiets his voice to that of the same volume of which he used upon his arrival. "Upon finding what I seek I shall be sure to reward your help in kind." That must be what passes for a 'thank you'. One hand finds the other behind the small of the back once more and a step is taken in that direction.
"...What were you looking for specifically?" Ami speaks up from her place in the contemporary fiction aisle, somehow managing to keep her voice a whisper and still project it enough to be heard. Someone spends a lot of time in libraries - or used to, at any rate. "...I was there." She steps out of her aisle and affixes Lynx with a piercing blue gaze, as if she could suss out his intentions by merely meeting his eyes. She can't, of course. But oh, she's going to try.
Only one step is taken. Standing tall with impeccable posture, hands clasped behind his back, the cat-faced man stops and turns to meet the one that reveals herself with his entirety. He is very much not afraid make direct eye contact. If the eyes can reveal the age of one's soul and true age is measured in accumulated wealth of knowledge, the gaze into those deep amber eyes -- even at a distance -- surely speaks of something quite complex. "Yes, you were," agrees he with Ami's last statement. The potentially haunting finality of this knowledge-bound observation is made to linger just long enough to allow head-gears to turn.
"At the police station," is added. "Have you finally decided to stop avoiding me?" The corner of his mouth upturns into a soft lopsided smile. It isn't meant to be derisive or taunting; the man is simply amused. That doesn't mean it cannot be interpreted otherwise. One arm suddenly and quickly moves, extending outward with such a snap that his cape rustles and displaces briefly before settling into place once again. For what purpose then would this arm held out in direction across the library be, hand held open and empty, but to gesture for a walk that way to the Archives?
"At this point, though: anything. I require a better understanding of what happened and why."
Embarrassed one too many times in her life, Ami doesn't let color rise to her cheeks when she's called out for being evasive. She's learned how to avoid blushing - at least when she's prepared for it. "I fear that I'm still deciding." Concern flits across her face, and she adjusts her glasses slightly before crossing her arms under her chest, looking more than a little insecure.
"But this is hardly the place to discuss it. In the meantime, I'll help you look." Now why would she do a thing like that?
The extended arm is held aloft for a moment more as if to signal whatever welcomeness there is to be scraped from the bottom of the boot named anxiety. The stranger isn't anxious by any means and whatever insecurity is displayed on the young woman's behalf is apparently overlooked. Whether this is a gracious act or one of dominant standing is up for debate.
The arm is then lowered.
"Good. Another pair of eyes would be welcome. There is likely much to pore over and yet I lack belief that what I seek to know can be found here." Turning away, the man's stride returns. Much like the first pass across the ground floor of the library, it is almost casual. "I have asked many others already, but what can you tell me of what happened?" Tone of voice reveals an openness, a lack of worry in anybody else overhearing, while yet emphasizing the exact incident of which he so infers.
"Be as detailed as possible, if you will. Vocal corroboration is crude, but often reveals leads where there are none beforehand."
With his overly dramatic gestures, Ami figures the stranger is used to playing for crowds. "I'm afraid not much. I was hospitalized and recovering from grievous wounds at the time." ... Well someone overstated their helpfulness. "But I can tell you what didn't happen." The young woman calmly walks towards the archives room at her own clip, neither matching pace with nor falling behind her conversational partner.
"Twisted didn't break." Except they all live in some fairly compelling evidence that says it did. "This is not Twisted. Not the world that came before the breaking." A bit overdramatic, there? Of course it's not the same world, it's broken now.
The archives of the Twisted Public Library don't see a lot of action - it's not that there aren't old records and newspapers in the back, but more that the library just isn't very popular. There are any number of possible reasons for that - internet expansion, outdated manuscripts, monster attacks, and all the other usual reasons people don't wander in the back. Of course - the real reason? Stairs. Everybody hates stairs. Some people can't even use them.
But that's mostly Daleks. So noone cares.
In fact, the place is so unused that behind all the oldest books in the library sits an old-fashioned transparency and microfiche viewer. Not a whole lot to read on it - but hey - it's free to use. Take what you can get, people. Don't be so entitled!
SilverSight has been doing most of his work on getting the place cleaned up and in proper working order. He hasn't yet had time to see about getting everything properly updated to 'modern' standards. It's current just an issue of all the conflicting technologies coming into play.
"Interesting," comments the tall cat regarding Ami's divulgence of what she knows regarding the state of the present world. He trails behind at a comfortable distance for himself that may yet seem too close for the one being followed. His hands are clasped behind his back. His posture is straight, almost regal, and he's clearly happy to own each and every step made.
"So, what exactly are you implying? Divergent timeline? Time-shifted and out of phase?" The man few know only as Lynx twitches his nose at the smell of dusty air and the earthy smell of aged wood-based manuscripts and documents. It is the olfactorial version of kinetic and potential energies; potential knowledge lurks abound and the smell gives it away. It only needs to be made active once more.
"Surely you aren't implying that an entire world was somehow copied or remade in the wake of such cataclysm," jests the feline with an upward curl of just one side of the mouth. "Pseudo-cataclysm, then, if the world did not, in fact, break. As you state."
As they walk into the back of the old library, Ami notices the smell of the dusty tomes, and relaxes, just a bit. She's spent a lot of time in places like this - memories of home come back unbidden. Flickering visions of the past - of telling Minako to keep her voice down - of trying to keep Usagi from sleeping on the reading table. A small smile tugs at the corners of the young woman's lips before she remembers herself.
Content to let Lynx spool up his own theories about her words, Ami doesn't actually answer him until they arrive at the newspaper section. "Of course not," comes her reply once he's finished suggesting she couldn't be talking about a duplicate world, "that would be ridiculous, clearly." Clearly.
The girl comes to a stop near the newsprint section, and turns to address Lynx before realizing he's a bit closer than she'd have preferred. She blinks, then slowly takes a pointed step further from him before continuing. "...That would be too simple to describe what happened, anyway." She turns back to the newscopy and starts rifling through. There are a lot in a drawer that she slides back a bit, and it takes her a while before she finds what she's looking for. She pulls out a copy of the Twisted Gazette, containing a front page article about the cataclysm that tore Twisted asunder and left it a broken mishmash of places. She lays it down on the table off to one side, and then goes back to rummaging.
What's she on about, now?
SilverSight enters the room as well to see about making sure it's properly clean. He hasn't done much in here other than make sure the current machines and magic ball work as intended. He really has to get around to updating all the mechanics and electronics though. So much to do, so little time. Ears perk at the conversation and he tilts his head curiously, "That's what happened with my world. My home version of Equestira is a war-torn and blasted hellscape of mutants and radiation. But I've also been to a version of Equestria that's peaceful and happy. And also set two-hundred years in my world's past."
A heavy yet fleeting gaze falls upon the paper as it is placed and lingers only briefly in a scan before pulling away entirely. Steps are taken into a differing direction. The strange man begins his own search in a similar fashion as previous. There may be a more organized approach to save time, yet such a system goes overlooked. Rather, the cat moves his focus from point to point. Books are disturbed, binders are opened, and periodicals are glossed over.
He may have responded sooner to Ami's few words, but the pony librarian follows along. "Yes, altered timelines are very much a thing. Can you be sure which is the original? Either? Or neither? Sometimes it only takes one simple change to spiral things out of control, even with the best intention. Other times, things happen exactly as they should even when nobody understands the intent or machination." There is a pause in speaking as a puff of breath is used to dislodge a soft layer of dust from a single multi-page album.
Opening the binder to look over the photographs within, eyes narrow as each page seems to involve the same three people at the same table in the same building. They sit in the same places. Only the other occupants of the diner change along with the strange depictions of what passes for outside. Odd things are often seen in the near-distance. How many pages are there? Twenty? Thirty?
"I did say that you should be as detailed as possible. I would rather risk a subjectively-inaccurate testimonial than to be made to infer deeper meaning from two or three statements." The photo album is closed with a minor 'thup' to announce how heavy it must be. There is a sigh that follows. Next, comes a turn and a very tired stare in Ami's direction as his posture, for just a moment, reflects some great weight upon his shoulders. "If," comes another word, the sentence delivered slower than casual speech, as if every word is measured in worth before it is spoken, "you would kindly oblige me."
The moment is brief, yet not instant. Turning away, the album is put away and he takes a few steps in an opposing direction to Ami's to continue his search.
"Very well. It wasn't a simple divergence in the timeline, or an alternate version coming into phase." Ami answers rather matter-of-factly, as if anyone could simply know these things. The Twisted Gazette sitting on the table barely makes any sense at all - eyewitness reports of explosions, streets shattering, buildings falling, but no concrete reporting or evidence of what happened. Honestly, it barely qualifies as an article. It's the journalistic equivalent of someone just screaming in panic at the top of their lungs.
The bluenette pulls out another newspaper, and tosses it on the table next to the first. It's the same publication, and has the same date, but the headline is talking about the latest gossip regarding 'The Council', and other mundanities that one would expect on the slowest of slow days. Definitely not from the day after everything exploded.
"That was one of the things I considered when I first saw this." As Ami gives Lynx and quite possibly Silver Sight the time to look over the newspaper, she turns back to the stacks. Well, she's obviously got a point she's trying to make. A shame she takes so LONG getting there, as Lynx is highlighting.
"But..." Ami shifts on her feet as she finds a third, and pulls it out. Once more, the date and publication name are the same. The Twisted Gazette. The day after the breaking of Twisted. Only this one just has a picture of a smoldering wreck where TASK headquarters used to be, and a headline about a possible attack on TASK.
Ami pulls out another after moment... then another... and another. As she lays one upon the other, one thing becomes clear; these are all the same day. But none of them are talking about the same event. "...As near as I can tell, we're standing on the intersection point of at least six different timelines." Notably, while the date and title of the last paper are the same as the others, all of the print is nonsensical, almost impossible to read. The only other words that are legible are the bolded ones in the headline: Ut Supra, Sic Infra.
What does that mean?
SilverSight shrugs at Lynx's question, "I'm afraid that I wouldn't know. I certainly wouldn't mind the possibility that mine isn't the original or 'true' timeline. It's a terrible one after one and I wouldn't wish it on anyone." He inspects the newspapers shown off, tilting his head curiously at seeing all the same days of different events, "Ooooh.. now that's interesting. I might have to show this to Romana. She was investigating something like this as well."
With such articles lain out, the cat man comes over to have a look. The act is one of extreme diligence. Each paper is plucked up and looked over, read over, and even briefly flipped through. Working with old items must something the man knows how to do well if his carefulness and seemingly practiced hand are any indication. "This certainly confirms what I've learned so far," remarks he with a thoughtful stare almost through the paper stacks. His gaze lifts and fleetingly pans about the archived materials while his eyes don't seem to focus on anything in particular. He has a sharp intake of breath before speaking again.
"I may need to speak to this Romana. Any scholars of chronology may help shed some light on this." The felinoid turns and paces away in thought. "Would you send this Romana a message that her knowledge is required?" asks the man with a palm-up flat-handed gesture to the side. Such a question is asked just like that.
"Clearly this world is broken worse than I could have known." A drawer is opened and within is a scroll case. The cap is secured to the other end with naught but a silk ribbon neatly tied. It takes a moment less than a second to pass to discard the beauty and loose the ends from one another so that the cap can be removed. "Explains the symptoms of time's wound polluting the city, but ultimately presents a greater mystery." Lynx lowers his tone and volume so that his voice is more self-heard than outwardly. "One I'm not yet ready to crack."
"Romana?" That draws a surprised sound from Ami, who looks to Silver Sight. Orbs of the brightest azure blink once, then twice at him. "Is that her full name?" That's a stupid question, Ami.
She looks back to Lynx with a nod. "It's not a simple thing to figure out." Well, she certainly hasn't, yet. And she's actually a fair hand at this kind of thing, if one can imagine someone being good at sorting out catastrophic anomalies in spacetime. It's not her first, after all. Or even her third.
When she looks at the last paper she pulled out, she furrows her brows. "Hold on - that's not right." She opens the paper carefully, and glances at the second page. It's the same as the front, gobbledegook except for the headline. The headline is different, though: Sic in Terra, Et in Caelo. "...That's not how that goes either." She checks the front again, and pales a little. It's changed. It says something different now.
Do you believe in Miracles? Miracles believe in You.
Ami gingerly sets the paper back onto the table and takes a step back for a moment, looking at it with a mix of fascination and trepidation. "...I'm not sure all of the timelines were stable." No kidding.
SilverSight blinks at Ami, "What else would she be called? Her and her little K-9 unit." A small nod is given to Lynx though, "Sure, I'll be happy to give her a chat when I next see her and show her these findings and provide names of the two of you. You're clearly onto something with all these newspapers being different on the same day. Romana is convinced that time just straight up doesn't work here." He inspects the altering headline and hmms. He'll check the other papers to see if they've been changed as well, "Something may be changing them somehow."
A hand lifts to the air crowned by the stylized and well-tailored sleeve around its base and two clawed fingers snap when Ami's last statement is gifted to the ears in the room. "Exactly." While the two chat on, the man tips up the scroll case to allow the contents to slide into his hand. They do. It's not a scroll, however. It's a flash drive. Odd how it didn't rattle inside the case with it being a loose item. The device is turned over in the fingers to take in the details. Small. Mostly black. Rectangular prism. Almost flat. Gold trim. One end has a silver protrusion marked by Poseidon's Trident.
"Wait," is spoken in a raised voice as to make a bid for attention at the risk of interruption. "What was that? Time. Doesn't. Work. Here?" An almost predatory stare is suddenly given over a shoulder as the cat looks back toward the other two. "She's wrong, and yet-" The hand holding the flash drive is lifted and the data storage device as given a waggle as he emphasizes, "I want to know how she came to that conclusion. If either of you wish to sit in on that discussion when it happens, by all means feel free."
The sharply-dressed feline turns fully in order to face present company. The scroll case is left open, cap off, sat within the drawer it was nestled in. "I'm not here to piece the world together." A step or two is taken, boots stiffly clacking against the floor, as he nears the others once again. His arms spread apart. "I'm here to right a wrong. To do that, I need to know the specific set of events that triggered that." An arm extends to point to the papers. "I need to know the city from Before. That's why I'm here. Blueprints; zoning permits; surveys territorial, topological, or arcane; known ley lines and magical fonts; people and items of note to the function of the city -- especially ones that may no longer seem to exist; discrepencies overlooked, hidden, and, lastly..."
A paper is snatched up the show off the headline regarding 'The Council'. Lynx says nothing about it for context, but he does look straight at Ami when he presents it. He also does it with a light smile, a single sharp tooth showing.
"And her... K-9?" If Ami's eyes caught the light before, they're sparkling now. Oh. Oh this is helpful and good. Maybe Ami needs to get out more often. She glances to the other papers as Silver Sight does so, but only the last one looks any different.
Now that she's set it down, the first headline seems to be cemented. But as the two of them look at it, the image on the front page seems to saturate with color, where once it was black and white. Truce Fountain is clearly identifiable. But the area surrounding it doesn't look anything like Mabase. Interesting.
When Lynx speaks to them, waving that flash drive around, it catches Ami's attention. That trident and gold trim. "..." She looks to the newspaper Lynx is holding, then to the flash drive, then back to the newspaper.
"... You won't find much about them. There were at least three councils in my time here - two of them didn't even meet in Twisted proper, but some outside dimensions." If she'd reverse-engineered her visor sooner, she could've learned more - but she didn't. Too little, too late. "...What wrong are you here to right?"
And just like that, the girl actually stops mincing words. Hell must've frozen over.
"Which. Wrong," corrects the military figure without removing his eyes from the young woman. "There is a hole leaking those which Are Not Yet Are into this world, created by whatever Fracturing took place. They do not belong. However, they are but symptoms of the problem which needs fixing." There's that word again: Symptoms. If Ami's work leads her to any corroboration with the detective looking into the case regarding such events, that word comes up a lot. "Speaking of which-" The man isn't too close to Ami, yet he seeks to lean in just a bit closer anyway. "There's something I should say to you regarding this meeting, here, in comparison to our last meeting with the details of events surrounding both:"
"I know. And you know it, too. That's why you're here now."
Lynx ends this bit of half-whispering with a mouthed 'thank you' before straightening up. "You're very brave to face down these types of dangerous problems after what happened, being there. I'm sure you've heard what happened to the victim. So, again, thank you for your assistance here."
Pulling away from the personal directness, the man turns away and holds out the flash drive toward the librarian. "Brave Lady; Bibliosoph; I'll likely be spending several hours over the course of the next many days sifting through the material in here. An extra pair of hands, or hooves, or paws, or claws, or tentacles would likely be a great help in my reconstruction of the city before what happened happened. This was misfiled. The inside of the case has retained humidity and the actual scroll seems to have uncurled enough to stick to the inner walls. I'll try to make a note of any other damaged items, but understand they are not the biggest priority to me."
"Which." Ami nods immediately, but gets no answer to her question. However, she looks like she's going to say something regarding the hole spewing people into Mabase; then she bites her lip and looks off to one side. She doesn't actually know what happened to all the old portals. Only that it's significant in some way. When Lynx leans in and says that he knows, she tilts her head to one side. He doesn't know her thought process - so what does he know? Why she's here? Why she's following him. Well, that's not hard.
"I'm not brave. Just curious." Right. Ami's just nosy. Or at least, that's what she tells herself. "...I don't think you are, either." She looks the cat up and down for a few moments longer. "Brave, that is. You'd have to be afraid to be brave."
She looks to the scroll case, and the thumb drive, and then adjusts her glasses slightly, the subtle devices running a low level scan on the prism-shaped stick to determine its storage type and data. She thinks she recognizes it, but it's better to certain than sorry.
After handing off the small drive, one way or the other, the now fully free-handed man turns his attention to the many many things to hunt through. "You're very perceptive. I hope you're able to put that to good use," he remarks. "As self-sufficient and confident as I may be, the journey to plug that hole will take a long time on my own and that would undoubtedly result in even more harm to those that reside here." Nothing catches his eye. Instead, the fellow takes a moment to walk over to the crystal ball, reaches out to it, then presses a fingertip to it. "So, yes, I have no fear. I'm here through the will of FATE, after all. Don't think that having no fear equates to a lack of a sense of urgency or urgency at the expense of morals." Nothing happens.
"Surely you must understand how difficult it is to be far from home, in a strange land, beholden to a mission yet obligated to observe local propriety." Lynx withdraws his finger and presses it against his thumb to rub the particles of dust between them while tucking his other arm behind his back. He then casts a sidelong glance in Ami's direction. It isn't a predatory look as before. It's very casual; conversational and perhaps strangely amicable, even.
"It's stressful, complicated, and frustrating."
"It would be." Lynx gets ready agreement from Ami - though she finds the local laws of Mabase much, much less stringent than the laws she had to deal with back home - and she's not really here on a mission. Unless you count her purpose in visiting the library. That's sort of a mission!
"I'm sure you'll find no shortage of people willing to help; very few people are pleased to be here." She glances to Silver Sight, since the pony said he was from a war torn land. "...Present company excepted."
Ami has also grown fond of being here - she has been here a long time, and while she misses her friends, she has learned a lot here. Perhaps one day she will make it home - and with the things she has learned, she'll be able to keep her homeworld safe. But this place started feeling like home long ago.
After taking the drive, Ami looks it over once, in what appears to be the same kind of casual, cursory glance that anyone would give an object, but is actually a three-dimensional scan and full analysis of the object. When she puts it in her pocket, her supercomputer is already working on analyzing the data and origin of the drive. Of course, she might be too hopeful; Michiru isn't the only person using the drive's particular symbology - but not too many others pop to mind when combining the trident with a thumb drive.
If the cat notices this pocketing of the 'misfiled' item, it either goes overlooked or there was some sense of purpose to the drive's revelation in the first place. Overlooked is probably the more comforting option. "That's good to hear. You say that you have been around since before the event took place? Might it be possible to use your knowledge, and those you know whom can share their own, in order to create a more accurate map of the city before the wounding? Foremost, I would like to find out if it was omnipresent or if it was localized around a specific focal point." Speaking of such, the feline has a prying look about for map drawers that can store larger maps without folding or rolling. Maybe some generalized maps can help the process.
"I'm assuming the latter. While it means the wound is greater, it's at least a spot where the mending can take place. Something more open, as of the former, lends the situation to very different complexities."
"While it did have a focal point on the Twisted Street..." Something in the way Ami says that implies it was more... or perhaps less... than the street named Twisted St. now, but she doesn't elaborate. "It just as easily could have gone on forever for how difficult it was to map out in the outer regions." The blue-haired girl gives a light shrug.
"I actually made a map - of the city and going as far out as I could - but it was destroyed in an explosion that claimed my apartment; it gave me a serious concussion to boot." She woke up in a hospital with no memory of how she escaped the blast - and had apparently been in a coma for months. Honestly, she should probably have died. But no use looking a gift horse in the mouth.
It is awfully inconvenient that she doesn't remember much from that time. Or convenient - depending on one's perspective.
"That is extremely unfortunate. It could have helped shave weeks off this effort and prevented multiple further attacks in the long run."
Lynx sighs but is otherwise undaunted in his scavenging for usable information. It's definitely going to take many hours. It's best to start at one spot and go from there. He'll need materials for taking notes, too, unless he wants to just pile up resource materials under his own categorization at the risk of upsetting the employees. "No need to worry, though. I'm here and I fully intend to make things better. It's just a matter of how long it takes. Still, if you remember anything at all, let me know. Perhaps my efforts here at reconstruction, at least of the city's core, will help restore some of your memory."
A handful of tomes are pulled free and tucked into the crook of his left arm. "I'll be here, no doubt, trying to make sense of the insensible." That could have been intended as a joke or, at the very least, a witticism.